"H is for Homicide" by Sue Grafton
Rating: 3.5 Water Towers
I love it when a novelist has the main character say “Honestly, I’m not making this stuff up”. Sue Grafton has a great sense of humor along with a great writing style. I feel very comfortable knowing that every few books I will read another of the Kinsey Millhone series (“S” is the latest release with “T” coming soon).
For those who have not read “A is for Alibi” (I’m so thankful that it is easy to remember which book is the first in this series) Kinsey Millhone is a single ex-cop, now a Private Investigator, based in Santa Teresa, CA. Santa Teresa is a fictional town similar to the real town of Santa Barbara. Kinsey rents a small apartment from Henry, an 80-something retired baker who designs crossword puzzles in his spare time. In addition to picking up normal PI work, Kinsey works part-time on a contract basis (in exchange for office space) with California Fidelity (CF) insurance as an investigator. She has a fondness for VW Beetles and her “all occasion” black dress which she mostly keeps in the car.
In “H is for Homicide” Kinsey is on the trail (at the request of CF) of a person, Bibianna Diaz, who is suspected of insurance fraud. As Kinsey investigates, she befriends Bibianna who knows Kinsey as “Hanna Moore”. As happens quite often to Kinsey, the action picks up, and deepens, quickly with, sometimes, deadly results setting the stage for Grafton’s magic carpet ride of mystery and suspense.
In “H”, Bibianna is taken away at gun point, a shoot-out ensues, a person dies, and Kinsey / Hanna and Bibianna are thrown in jail.
During the night, while in jail, Hanna / Kinsey is taken out of the holding cell to be “questioned”. It turns out that the local police, Lt. Dolan, who knows Kinsey, and the LAPD need undercover help breaking the insurance fraud ring of which Bibianna is just one tip of an iceberg. Kinsey/ Hanna, reluctantly, agrees to help. However, upon release from jail, and before any promised briefings from the police can happen, Hanna / Kinsey and Bibianna are back in the company of Bibianna’s ex-finance and insurance fraud ringmaster (who ordered Bibianna taken at gunpoint), Raymond, and his thug sidekick, with Donald and Daffy Duck tattoos on his arms, Luis. Getting to know Raymond and Luis, the reader finds out that the former suffers from Tourette Syndrome, while the latter knows how to cook.
Off they go to LA.
The action is fast and furious while Hanna / Kinsey continues the investigation (without being able to communicate with Lt. Dolan) and in the process learns how to commit car crashes that can result in thousands of dollars in insurance money.
Grafton shines as “H is for Homicide” rushes to satisfying ending. This book has tons of action packed into only 287 paperback pages, and because of Grafton’s silky smooth writing style is a very fast read.
For more information on Tourette Syndrome go here: http://www.tsa-usa.org/