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There is a character in Sue Grafton s 21st book of her Kinsey Millhone series who is taking a class in creative writing His teacher specifically chides him for creating characteristics, not characters The teacher then goes on with specifics, pointing out that by writing out of his head and not his gut, the student failing to establish a connection between writer and reader This, I believe, is Grafton s secret of why her novels stand out above the rest in the genre She writes from the heart and researches everything she includes in her narratives if she hasn t experienced them first hand Others have tried to emulate her, most flagrantly, Janet Evanovich, even to copying Grafton s method of titling, employing numbers instead of the alphabet But no one has ever come close to creating a series so complex and intriguing, in which each book could possibly stand on its own Somewhere around K is for Killer, I saw Grafton in person, and she said that as long as there was an alphabet, she d be in print because people, being as compulsive as they are, go right back and start with A is for Alibi no matter which letter they start with I started with C and, yes, went back and read the other 2 that preceded it.Grafton has enhanced her prose by no longer employing only first person narration, shifting to third person for expostulation of motivation and time She is a master at weaving seemingly disparate threads into a whole story line, and the characters reverberate with reality Kinsey, her alter ego PI, is 38 in 1988, and those of us who have been following her for over 20 years appreciate her consistency In this story, Kinsey s own history is further revealed to the reader as well as to her As she gets closer to the answers to the puzzle at the center of this book, she also gets closer to the answers of her own existence. I enjoyed this mystery Thought it was really good But I always enjoy Sue Grafton Glad I got to read another of her books It was a very involved story with time changes, etc to tell it but when it finally got to the end, it went very quickly I felt that there were a few unanswered questions that came up during the investigation that were never answered but all in all it was a really good book Would definitely recommend. I have been a consistent fan of Sue Grafton s alphabet series, and this particular book was relatively convoluted in terms of plot and style There are several incidents of violence and even murder quite dissimilar from past novels Grafton crafts the plot by transitioning between 1988, 1963 and 1964 with several points of view, including Kinsey s first person narrative Grafton skillfully executes the plot and manages to retain a semblance of the original, sassy Kinsey Millhone Kinsey is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young child two decades in the past, and despite the weak and shaky evidence her client presents, she embarks in search of clues, determined to find a resolution The shifts in time frame allow the reader to gain a vivid idea of how and why certain events transpired Grafton sticks mainly with the story and presents it well, but she fails to engage in the usual colorful details and comedic escapades of Millhone and her odd assortment of personal acquaintances I recommend this book to mystery and PI fans. I could just say, the best one yet and be correct, but that seems a little too simple I started reading this alphabet series after Grafton had written four of them I loved her descriptions of everything and felt like I was sitting on a park bench in Santa Teresa I still feel that way I met Sue Grafton at a book signing once She had spoken about how she received letters from people admonishing her about how much Kinsey swore She reacted by having Kinsey swear less, but felt uneasy about it Eventually she decided that Kinsey swore because that s who she was and Grafton stopped trying to fix it.In the last couple of books, I felt that Kinsey had hit her stride She is who she is so to speak and she s comfortable with it and so is Grafton I loved this book and the only bad thing is how quickly I read it Now I have to WAIT for the next one. Ok, I love this series, and with a few exceptions, I really liked each and every one I think L is my least favorite, and I wasn t overly thrilled with O, or Q But this, her latest book, is outstanding Kinsey Milhone is a unique and strong character, and that s one of the things I love about this series On one hand, she dislikes socializing, but has a few really good friends she loves to hang out with Her landlord, Henry, is a doll He is 80 something and has three brothers in their 90 s Or one is in his 80 s, I can t remember They are robust elder gentlemen and often provide Kinsey with a sounding board Married to one of the brothers is Rosie who owns the Hungarian restaurant Kinsey loves, and she s a character in her own right, strong and bossy My only criticism of this book might be that we didn t see enough of Henry and the bunch, but you can get an ample dose from some of her other books Despite Kinsey s often jaded outlook on life, she still finds little things fascinating, and has a common sense approach to life and her investigations She s a strong character who does not any problems asking people for information In this book, which involves a 20 year old cold case where a little girl went missing and was never found, Kinsey shows an endearing compassion for the little girl s fate I ve seen criticisms in other reviews about how all of these books are set in about the same period, the mid to late 1980 s I like it because I think it complements Kinsey s methodical detecting style She often has to handle on the spot situations without being able to whip out her cell phone for assistance Now on to a little bit about the story This book alternates back and forth between two time periods, 1967 and 1988 We follow than one character, introduced separately and are given background so when the connections are made, we pretty much know who these people are and some of their motivations It s not really a who dun it in the strictest sense, like a how and why We get a glimpse of how the pieces will fit, but the journey is the delight of this book We also get a glimpse into Kinsey s personal life as she struggles with her relatives she only had found out about a few years previously Some resolutions are made and gave me a huge smile at the end It took me a while to finish, only because I had other books I needed to finish first, and other projects that kept me from listening to an audio on my regular schedule I highly recommend the audio Kate Reading does a great job I always get the audios now because I can t imagine Kinsey sounding any different and enjoy Kate s interpretation immensely. Kinsey works on a case involving a kidnapping that occurred 20 years previously A young man, who thinks he remembers something about the case, hires Kinsey to help him It turns out the man isn t the most trustworthy, but Kinsey feels there is some truth to what he says The 21st book in the Kinsey Millhone series This book is told with alternate timelines and alternate viewpoints The mystery portion of the novel is good, but not the best in the series I did like that we get a little backstory on Kinsey and her family A good read for fans of the series. Kinsey s case for U centers on a cold case One that intersects with the people from her Senior Year in h.s class Which is one of those aspects, her town s size and placement that I ve always liked about this series A locale big enough to get lost within, but not too big that you don t jut up against a rock or two of decades old acquaintances, after effect, and fall out during your harbor of life Friendships tend to stronger memory in a town that size, IMHO 50,000 100,00 is just about perfect.But here we go to my reaction LOVED it To a point of a 4.5 star and I did consider this particular entire to be a short peg from 5 star in this exact genre THIS LATE IN THE ALPHABET It seems shocking There have been than a couple that I thought barely a 3 star and filled with melodrama, so I left most of the last half of the alphabet unread But to return to U is for Undertow this well mazed level of who dun it after a couple decades length for any book series It s than an awesome accomplishment Sue Grafton heads or joins many writers groups and has proven herself above the women DI copper mystery writer genre fare of multitudes Time and again she has aided other writers This one surpasses Characters, core personalities, plots, motivations All here so fitting like a perfectly twisted Rubic s Cube to the periods of time they covered and the crisscross of their crimes 1967 69 span and the later one of 1988 Both periods done to perfection To fashion, to popularity and especially to eyes Kinsey is within a month of her 38th birthday here And to my own taste she s aged to exactly mellow and ripe Before this book, my own favorite was the one early in the alphabet in which she found her 2nd husband in the compromising situation Then she was sleek and sharp But those personas BOTH have pointy places, and now they are gone Logical, practical, tipping to forgiveness and starting to ignore the merely annoying She s becoming unorphaned exactly that meaning using an unword , as well.There are three men who have life stories in this book We get to know each nuance, emotion, rejection, anger, onus, desire, habit of thought and present state for all 3 That was super Just the right number to expose and parse And through these men we got to KNOW the women in their lives The Mona s, the Destiny s And even as a perchance friend and lost person finding himself, a child named Sky Dancer.Lovely, lovely work on the characterizations and the why of 1988 And the eventual reveal and outcome Switching time periods didn t lessen the desire to read what had happened There WAS a connection, we all know that there is But it was fun to imagine what they could be and how Rain had been so lucky to escape the outcome of the little girl of the following week.And it also had a few life lesson examples that were valuable to precious Doesn t everyone know that person who constantly changes factors of detail or remembers things in a pattern to make the teller the pivot he she wasn t, or told in a way to connect people by the teller s own motives when that didn t occur the way it was observed by others in real time And how those siblings categorized Michael with their proofs that s common Sometimes the boy who cries wolf, is accurate than at other times So you can t ignore him despite the accuracy rate For sure Could it be his memory is correct in placement but wrong in time or motives observed Which parts relate fact and which are imagined If you haven t read a Kinsey Milhone in a stretch, this is the one to pick up Excellent and VERY entertaining Oh, I can t forget to add my own opinion she gets the realistic hippie of 1967 68 PERFECTLY in Creed and Destiny Few do. I thought this was an interesting idea of the boy who cried wolf and then would not be believed It was told from different view points, the past and present and different characters and that made it interesting What I don t quite get and which the book didn t explain was how the the boy who cried wolf could have been telling the truth when he couldn t have possibly witnessed as he was in another country and this was the documented by photogrphic proof it made it unlikely how as a writer can you prove the hero is lying and then not offer an explanation as to how come he saw the event that actually occured whilst in another countryThat is why I gave it a 3 star Don t worry If you aren t sure what the difference between an undertow and a riptide is, Kinsey will tell you in excruciating detail She will also give you the statistics on at least three towns including the population and every business there In one town history, she even lets us know about the Homestead Act It s a history buff s wet dream And, there is the usual lists of things In one store, she listed over 20 items that they carried Here s how I think things went down when Sue Grafton was researching her booksHello, I m the famous author, Sue Grafton You might remember me from such books as, B is for Boredom or R is for Red Pen which I ve never seen in my life Don t even think about it, publishers I was wondering if you could explain the process of welding to me in great detail Don t spare anything no matter how inconsequential it seems I will be taking exact notes and putting it in my next famous book word for word Dude in welding mask Um, sure, I can do that Is your book about a welder SG No, not at all My main character will be driving through town and will notice someone welding on the side of the road, so it s crucial that my readers understand every bit of welding If you happen to know the history of welding, please include that If not, I ll get that later from the library Weld man Uh, I don t know the history of welding Is it important to the story Is there something about the person she sees welding that is going to be important SG No She drives by him, notices him welding, and never sees him again But, my readers are sure to want to understand the process Besides, I have a lot of pages to fill Writing books is hard, but I find that if I put pages and pages of unimportant information in them, I can fill the pages up pretty fast Weld man Are you fucking with me, lady Is there a hidden camera around here I didn t proposition that young girl, I swear Is Chris Hanson hiding somewhere I m not taking a seat takes off mask and goes running away SG I don t know why that keeps happening I guess I ll just have to use my trusty old Encyclopedia Brittanicas again I ll make sure to look up the population of every town around me too, and I need to check the median cost of housing My readers are counting on me.Sorry, buddy Maybe next timeYeah, so don t worry Sue has covered every angle that is possible to cover in minutia Those encyclopedias were a good buy on her part.The good news If you skim over all of the ridiculous crap, these books are getting shorter, not longer I m flying through them now.The mystery here is another really old case, which is Kinsey s specialty She has a way of digging around in the past until someone tries to kill her and then case solved It s her method Although, if I met her in person and she started talking to me, I would probably be willing to throw myself at the mercy of the courts Or, try and kill her Either way..So, a little girl went missing over 20 years ago and Kinsey is on the case There are multiple stories in different times going on and it was somewhat interesting I liked the other POV s and actually read them thoroughly Then, each chapter that went back to Kinsey got my now patented Jilly s School of Skimming Bullshit Program applied to it Take it from me, the founder, it works That must have been the chapter on bougainvillea There s a fuckload of bougainvillea in this series It s like the official flower of FakeTown, USA that she created.I m on such a roll I can see the light at the end of the tunnel Freedom is coming On to the letter V `DOWNLOAD E-PUB ☘ U Is for Undertow ⇬ It S April , A Month Before Kinsey Millhone S Thirty Eighth Birthday, And She S Alone In Her Office Catching Up On Paperwork When A Young Man Arrives Unannounced He Has A Preppy Air About Him And Looks As If He D Be Carded If He Tried To Buy A Beer, But Michael Sutton Is Twenty Seven, An Unemployed College Dropout More Than Two Decades Ago, A Four Year Old Girl Disappeared, And A Recent Newspaper Story About Her Kidnapping Has Triggered A Flood Of Memories Sutton Now Believes He Stumbled On Her Lonely Burial And Could Identify The Killers If He Saw Them Again He Wants Kinsey S Help In Locating The Grave And Finding The Men It S Way Than A Long Shot, But He S Persistent And Willing To Pay Cash Up Front Reluctantly, Kinsey Agrees To Give Him One Day Of Her TimeBut It Isn T Long Before She Discovers Sutton Has An Uneasy Relationship With The Truth In Essence, He S The Boy Who Cried Wolf Is His Story True, Or Simply One In A Long Line Of Fabrications Moving Between The S And The S, And Changing Points Of View As Kinsey Pursues Witnesses Whose Accounts Often Clash, Grafton Builds Multiple Subplots And Memorable Characters Gradually We See How Everything Connects In This Thriller And As Always, At The Heart Of Her Fiction Is Kinsey Millhone, A Sharp Tongued, Observant Loner Who Never Forgets That Under The Thin Veneer Of Civility Is A Roiling Dark Side To The Soul