Arts Week

“X” Marks the Spot for Great Reading


It’s Book #24 in a series about a private investigator.

Think about that for a moment. 24 books. 24 stories, all following the likeable Kinsey Milhone as she lives her life, finds and loses love, and—oh, yes—solves mysteries. Honestly, that’s a whole lot of books. That’s a long time to stick with one person. You’d think that, by now, the character would start becoming a caricature of herself. You’d think that the reader might lose interest in where the protagonist has been, what she’s done, what she thinks about, where she lives.

You’d be wrong.

24940998Sue Grafton’s latest novel, X, is as satisfying a read as was the first time readers met the protagonist in A is for Alibi… more so, in fact. Kinsey Milhone has developed nicely over the years. She’s smart without being smart-assed, clever without figuring things out too quickly, and—more than any other endearing feature—is not above making mistakes.

In X, the reader doesn’t have to figure out who the “bad guy”—in this case, a serial killer—is: Kinsey takes care of that very early on in the story. Distracted by side issues (who are her neighbors, and what’s their game? Why was her last payment composed of counterfeit bills? Has she unwittingly placed someone in jeopardy? Will her water consumption ever earn her landlord’s approval?), she’s been handed a list of victims and intends to find out how the seemingly innocuous villain pulled it off—and how to stop him from killing again.

One of Grafton’s best skills is in making the everyday interesting. She takes readers through scenes step by step without it ever feeling that one is reading a description: the reader isn’t visualizing what’s happening, they’re right there with Kinsey as it does, even when it’s as small a scene as pulling out her typewriter from under her desk.

Ultimate accolade: I stayed up late reading it. You will, too.




X by Sue Grafton

Marian Wood Books/Putnam

(August 25, 2015)