Book review: V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

I first discovered Sue Grafton’s alphabetical series about private detective Kinsey Millhone years ago. I think it was about the time of the fifth book (E is for Evidence). I gobbled up the first five, and then continued to follow them as they came out. However, I’d kind of dropped away from them in recent years, without really meaning to. I believe the last one I read before this was S is for Silence. So I missed T and U. But that didn’t impact my enjoyment of this book.

One of the good things about this series is that the books are pretty much standalone. Grafton is good at filling in backstory quickly, so that you get an idea of who the characters are in each book without missing much from the previous books. And that is true of this installment as well. In all the previous books of this series that I read, Grafton had written in only Kinsey’s voice, first person. This time, she did it a little differently.

The other two main characters, Nora and Dante, spoke in this book also, in third person. The first chapter was in Nora’s voice, then a couple of chapters in Kinsey’s voice, then one in Dante’s, and continuing like that throughout the book. Nora’s and Dante’s chapters were each labeled with their own name, so it was clear whose perspective was being presented. It made for a more interesting book. It also made for much more three-dimensional characters.

Seeing things from Nora’s and Dante’s perspectives gave a much better understanding of their motives. It worked very well, and must have been more interesting to write for Grafton, as it was more interesting to read for me. The lines between good guys and bad guys were a lot fuzzier. And yet the ending was still quite satisfying, even though it may have been that not everyone got quite everything that was coming to them…

If you haven’t ever read Grafton’s books, don’t feel that you have to go back and read all of them to catch up. You can start with this one. I recommend it.


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