Sunday, July 19, 2020

Book Review: "Q" is for Quarry by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #17)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Intriguing cold case mystery
Cons: In my quest for cons, I couldn’t find any
The Bottom Line:
Kinsey on cold case
Can she learn who Jane Doe is?
You’ll love finding out

“Q” is for Quality

Before I picked up “Q” is for Quarry, the seventeenth Kinsey Millhone mystery from Sue Grafton, I knew that the book was inspired by a real-life unsolved mystery.  Naturally, that intrigued me and made me want to see just how Ms. Grafton would handle the case.  I wasn’t surprised to find that I loved the book.

If you are new to the series, Kinsey Millhone is a private investigator living in Santa Teresa, California, a thinly disguised Santa Barbara.  As this book opens, she is feeling restless.  All that changes when homicide detective Lieutenant Conrad Dolan walks into her new office.  He’s out on medical leave, and he thinks this is a great time to reopen a cold case.

Eighteen years before, in 1969, Conrad Dolan and his friend Stacey Oliphant were on a hunting trip when they found the body of a young woman who had been murdered and dumped in a quarry an hour north of town.  Stacey is retired from the county sheriff’s department and was one of the investigating officers.  The body was never identified and the case was never solved.  The two men would like to take another look at the case and hire Kinsey to do their leg work.  Will the three of them find any new leads?

Of course, it’s no surprise to say that yes, they manage to find a fresh lead or two.  It would be a pretty boring book if they didn’t.  As usual for this series, the plot progresses nicely.  I was sure I had things figured out a couple of times before I reached the end only to have more information come along that made my theory obsolete.  Yet when we reach the end, everything is wrapped up nicely.

I was also happy to see a recurring series sub-plot pop up again in this book, and I enjoyed how it advanced here.

The characters in this series are as sharp as always.  Kinsey leads the pack – she is strong, resourceful, determined, and smart.  Oh, things don’t always work out the way she thinks they will, but she never jumps in completely blind.  Conrad and Stacey could get annoying with their bickering, but overall, I liked them.  Rosie has a couple scenes that are absolutely hilarious, and I’m very curious to see what happens next with Henry.  The new characters fit perfectly into the world that is being created here.

Yes, I finally listened to another audio book!  It was nice to be revisiting listening to stories and this series.  Judy Kaye is the narrator of these later books in the series.  While it was a little rough when she took over the series, I’ve gotten used to her take on the characters now.

This isn’t one of my cozies, so there is slightly more language and violence than I would normally enjoy, but I was expecting that going into the book.  As long as you are expecting it, you’ll be fine.

There is an epilogue from Sue Grafton talking about the real case that inspired this book and how she got interested in it.  As of the writing of the book, it remained unsolved.  A quick internet search makes it look like the real Jane Doe is still a mystery.

It’s always a pleasure to see a long running series that is this strong so far into the series.  “Q”is for Quarry will please Kinsey’s many fans.  While you will get the most out of the series if you read the books in order, you could easily jump in here and see just why so many readers love the series.

Once you read one, you'll want to read the rest of the Kinsey Millhone Mysteries.

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