Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Review: "I" is for Innocent by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #9)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
A five year old case
Gives Kinsey plenty of twists
Series in top form

A Change Brings Kinsey Back in Top Form

The end of the previous book in the Kinsey Millhone series found our PI main character getting fired from her part time job at the insurance company California Fidelity.  It left me wondering how author Sue Grafton would move the series forward in “I” is for Innocent.

The book opens a few weeks later, and Kinsey has landed a new office, this time inside a law firm.  Once again, she is independent, agreeing to take some cases for the lawyer while still taking on her own clients.  But in this case, she is taking on a case for the lawyer, Lonnie Kingman.  Five years ago, Isabelle Barney was murdered on the day after Christmas.  Her husband, David Barney, was arrested for the crime, but acquitted.  Now, David is being brought into civil court.  Ken Voight, Isabelle’s ex-husband, is suing David for wrongful death.  Lonnie is actually Ken’s lawyer, and Kinsey is being asked to reinterview witnesses and shore up the case.

Kinsey gets the case a couple of weeks before the trail is supposed to start due to the death of a fellow PI due to a heart attack.  His notes are a mess, so Kinsey finds herself retracing his steps.  But as she interviews Isabelle’s friends and family, she begins to wonder just what happened five years ago.  Could David actually be innocent?  If he is, who really killed Isabelle?

I thought the last book in the series was the weakest to date, but I am happy to report that Kinsey is back in fine form here.  The plot kept me engaged the entire way through, and it surprised me several times along the way as well.

The focus on this series is always Kinsey, but I found that I had missed her landlord, Henry, and Rosie, who owns the neighborhood bar, in the last couple of books.  I’m pleased to say they are back in fine form here and provide great comic relief.  The other supporting players we’ve gotten to know in previous books are just reduced to mentions, which makes sense since they are employees of California Fidelity, and we appear to have moved beyond that.  I have a feeling we’ve met a couple of new supporting players in this book, and I liked them.

Which leaves us with the suspects.  As with most of the books in this series, we spend the most time with Kinsey talking to them, and this batch of suspects is wonderful.  When Sue Grafton is in top form, she can create complete characters with just a few lines, and that’s what she does here.

I’m continuing this series is audio, and Mary Peiffer is still the narrator.  She so perfectly captures Kinsey and her world.

I can see how partnering with a lawyer will bring Kinsey a wider variety of cases, and if “I” is for Innocent is any indication, we are in for some wonderful rides.  Don’t hesitate to pick up this book today.  I’m anxious to see where things will go next.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Kinsey Millhone Mysteries.

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

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