Book Review: “L is for Lawless” by Sue Grafton


Genre:  Mystery

Rating: 3.5 WaterTowers

In “L is for Lawless”,  Kinsey has agreed to help a friend of Henry Pitt’s (remember Henry is Kinsey’s octegenarian landlord).

A few months ago, this friend, Johnny Lee died of a heart attack.  His son and grandson are now trying to get reimbusement for the burial expenses from the U.S. Govt because of Johnny’s military service.  But Johnny’s records cannot be found and the family is beoming more and more frustrated by the Gov’t.

Since Kinsey is a Private Investigator, Henry think that she may be able to lend some advice to help them out of this stalemate.  Not wanting to turn Henry down (he has done so much for Kinsey) Kinsey agrees to meet with Bucky (the grandson) and see what she can do.

Bucky tells Kinsey the story of his grandfather being a hero in the war and how strange it is that his records cannot be found.  His father, Chester (Johnny’s son), thinks Johnny was a spy and that his records are secret.  Kinsey doubts that, but takes a quick look around Johnny’s apartment to see if anything of interest pops up.  Nothing does.

As she is leaving the apartment she meets an old friend of Johnny’s, Ray Rawson.  Ray wants to rent the apartment from Bucky and has stopped by to see if he can move that process along.

Kinsey chats with Ray and discovers that he is less than forthcoming about his relationship and history with Johnny.  The suspicions start to rise and then peak the next day when Kinsey drives by the apartment only to see someone she does not know leaving it with a duffle bag.  Fearing a theft has occured, Kinsey follows this person to a motel where he picks up a pregnant woman and drives to the airport.

Calling Bucky from the airport, Kinsey finds that Ray has been found beaten at the apartment and taken to the hospital.  With a spur of the moment decision, Kinsey decides to follow the duffle bag.

“L is for Lawless” then moves the action to Texas and then to Louisville, Kentucky for the finale.  As always the clues and tension build slowly as Kinsey learns more and more about what is happening.

Two subplots occupy the background:  Kinsey is working through her feelings about her newly found family, and the Thanksgiving day wedding of Henry’s older brother William to Rosie the restaurant owner.  Kinsey is in the wedding and that lends a bit of urgency to the solution of the mystery.

I’ve said this before…Sue Grafton is writing a marathon…slow and steady wins.  There is no rush for Kinsey’s life to unfold.

Interestingly, “Lawless” is not what you think, but, you’ll have to read the book to find out what it means.  🙂


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