Friday, September 24, 2021

Book Review: "T" is for Trespass by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #20)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, strong plot
Cons: Plot is slow to start; one plot hole
The Bottom Line:
Helping a neighbor
Slow start but book turns thriller
You’ll race to finish



Can Kinsey Save Her Neighbor?

With “T” is for Trespass behind me, I’ve rounded the final corner in the Kinsey Millhone series.  Yes, I still have 5 books to go, but the end is in sight, and I find I’m not anxious to ending the series.  Even though this book wasn’t Kinsey at her best, it grew into a book with several heart pounding scenes.

It starts innocently enough when Kinsey and her landlord, William Pitts, discover their elderly neighbor, Gus Vronsky, lying on the floor in his house one morning after falling and injuring himself.  Gus only has one relative left, a great-niece who lives on the other side of the country, so she is intent on hiring someone to help Gus recover.  The great-niece asks Kinsey to do a background check on Solana Rojas, the woman that she has hired, and nothing jumps out at Kinsey.  Still, something seems off about Solana.  Will Kinsey figure out what it is in time?

It’s obvious early on that Solana is bad news, partially because we get a few chapters from her third person point of view.  However, it takes Kinsey longer to really begin to put the pieces together.  I’ll admit to getting a bit impatient at times, but things got very tense as we got closer to the end.  The last quarter has several thrilling scenes that are almost impossible to stop reading in the middle.

It doesn’t help that, early on, Kinsey is working on another couple of cases.  One of which does wind up bumping into the main case, while the other stays a secondary plot.  That story seemed to have a bit of a quick wrap up, and it felt like it was there more to create the opportunity for a public service announcement than to be a good mystery.  Not to say it wasn’t a good sub-plot, but not as strong as it could have been.

Since much of the action takes place around Kinsey’s neighborhood, we get to see plenty of the regulars in Kinsey’s life, especially her landlord.  That is a wonderful thing.  Next to Kinsey, William is my favorite character, so I loved that aspect of this book.  I don’t remember meeting Gus before.  He’s a crank, but we can’t help but root for him.

Which brings us to Solana.  One reason this book works is because of how well this character is drawn.  While I never really sympathized with her, I understood her, which is all you can ask for with someone this evil.  She makes a great villain.  And no, I’m not giving anything away by naming her as the villain.  This is a thriller.  The suspense comes from seeing if Kinsey will catch Solana in time.

I mentioned earlier that we get scenes from Solana’s point of view throughout the book.  That leads to a plot hole at one point as Kinsey does something based on information that we have, but I have no idea how Kinsey could have figured it out.

This is where I issue my usual “this isn’t a cozy” warning for the series.  As long as you know that going in, you’ll be fine.

I listened to this book, as I have been with this series, and I realized that Judy Kaye, the narrator, got a bit breathless in her narration when we got to the tensest scenes.  I could have done without that, but it is a minor complaint in an otherwise fantastic narration.

It would have been nice if “T” is for Trespass were a bit tighter, but patience at the beginning is rewarding with a page turning end.  Fans new and old will be glad they picked it up.

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

3 comments:

  1. I read the first few books years ago and it's been ages since I've read any Sue Grafton and I really need to pick up this series again.

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  2. Has Grafton finished the alphabet?

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, she passed away before she finished Z, so the alphabet now end with Y.

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