Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Review: "M" is for Malice by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #13)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters
Cons: Slows down a bit at one point
The Bottom Line:
Hunting for an heir
Gives Kinsey family drama
Another great book

Malice Among the Maleks

I have officially crossed the line to the second half of the Kinsey Millhone series, and I’m sad about it.  I am really enjoying this PI’s cases and watching her life unfold.  “M” is for Malice is another great example of why.

Kinsey fully intends to turn down her latest client.  It’s not that she doesn’t need the work, but she has no interest in getting to know her recently discovered cousins, and one of them, Tasha Howard, has called asking to hire her.  However, the case appeals to her too much, so she takes it.  The owner of Malek Construction recently passed away, and the only will anyone can find leaves his money to his four sons.  The problem is that no one has heard from his son Guy in almost twenty years, ever since he was kicked out of the family’s home after too many brushes with the law.  He was also supposed to have been written out of the will, but no one can find that newer will.

No one has heard from Guy in all these years, and no one knows where he was even headed when he left, so to say the trail is cold is putting it mildly.  Can Kinsey figure out what happened to Guy?  Is he even still alive?

I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone familiar with the series to say that the hunt of Guy only serves to introduce Kinsey to the Malek family and plenty of family drama.  This series excels at family drama, and uses it to weave complications to mysteries.  It is exceptionally well done here.  Yes, things do slow down a bit in the middle, but I was still pulled into the story because I was expecting, and dreading, what was coming next.  I thought I had things figured out a little early, but author Sue Grafton managed to confuse me again before everything got wrapped up.

As always, Kinsey is the star of the book.  She’s again found herself taking a case that makes her examine the way she relates to the people in her life.  A sub-plot involving an ex coming back into her life really help with that as well.  The growth is slow, but she is at least asking the right questions of herself.

Not to say that the rest of the cast aren’t strong.  Sue Grafton could create a character with just a few sentences, and these characters are proof of that.  There are a few series regulars, and I enjoyed seeing them, but the bulk of the time is spent with the characters related to the case, who shine.

When Kinsey’s path crosses some Christians, I started to wince, expecting them to turn out to be hypocrites or extremists.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were presented in a positive light, which unfortunately seems to be rare in fiction.

I’m still listening to the series on audio, and once again the book I listened to was narrated by Mary Peiffer.  I find her take on Kinsey and the rest of the characters to be delightful.  She definitely helps pull me into the world of the books.

“M” is for Malice is another strong case for Kinsey and an enjoyable ride for us.

If you haven’t discovered the alphabet cases of Kinsey, here they are in order.

This review is part of this weeks Friday's Forgotten Books.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. This was one of my Grafton favorites, and like you, I was pleasantly surprised to see people of faith portrayed positively.