Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and mystery
The Bottom Line:
Kinsey is back in
Another strong letter full
Of twists, surprises
Proving the Innocence of a Killer on the Run
When I started listening to Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series a couple of years ago, it actually wasn’t my first introduction to the series. I had listened to “F” is for Fugitive over 15 years ago, and my guess is it was an abridgement, although I don’t remember for sure. I was curious to see what I would think of this book now and what I would think of it in context, not that I truly remember any of the story. Turns out I loved it.
Seventeen years ago, teen Jean Timberlake was murdered on the beach in the town of Floral Beach. Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of the crime, but he escaped after serving a year of his sentence. Now, he’s been recaptured, and Bailey’s father has hired Kinsey to find out the truth of what happened back then.
And so Kinsey drives the hour and a half north to Floral Beach and begins interviewing the people who were involved with Jean back then. She finds that Floral Beach is a very small community, and everyone knows everyone else. Even today, Jean’s reputation with the boys is legendary, and it seems like the suspect list is long. But with no one willing to tell Kinsey the truth, can she solve this cold crime?
This book takes place almost exclusively outside of Kinsey’s usual stomping grounds of Santa Teresa. What’s funny to me is that I actually remembered just a tad of how this book opens thanks to the ending of the previous book in the series. Other than that, I was coming to this book with a completely fresh slate.
Which means I was in for all the fun twists and turns as the story progressed. It seems that everyone Kinsey meets has a motive for the killing, and as Bailey’s return and Kinsey’s questions put everyone on edge, the ride truly gets crazy. Yet Kinsey is once again able to put everything together to reach a logical conclusion in time for the wonderful climax.
This book also features an almost completely new cast of characters, but they are completely real to us as soon as we meet them. This isn’t a surprise to me since I’ve always found Sue Grafton’s characters to be strong. We do see a little growth in Kinsey in this book as well, and I really liked that.
Of course, this is a departure from my usual cozies. Just know that going in and you’ll be fine.
When I get to the first book not narrated by Mary Peiffer, it’s going to be quite an adjustment for me. I love her work here. She brings Kinsey to wonderful life, which is important in a first person narrated story, and injects just enough into her voice to help us get Kinsey’s amusement at some of the people and events of the story. She also helps bring the other characters in the book to life.
While I didn’t remember much about this book from my first time listening to it, I’m glad to have re-listened to it now. “F” is for Fugitive is a wonderful book that will leave you guessing until the end.
Need to learn the alphabet? Here are the rest of the Kinsey Millhone Mysteries in order.
This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.