Categorized | Features

W is for Wasted, by Sue Grafton 2013

HERB JOHNSON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
Grafton’s latest novel in her alphabet series starts off with a dead homeless man named Terence Dace, who remains pretty much the centre of attention despite his being no longer an active participant in human affairs.
Another main man is Pete Wolinsky, who is shot and killed some weeks prior to the Dace demise. The story of Pete runs from time to time as a sub-plot, or perhaps a parallel plot, since it bears no obvious relationship to the homeless guy. Will the two dead guys come together in the final chapter? Will the connection (if, indeed, there is one) provide an explanation for the hi-jinks and derring-do? Only Grafton knows, and she holds her cards very close to her chest.
As all Grafton fans know, the heroine of the alphabet novels (starting with AA is for Aardvark) is intrepid private eye Kinsey Millhone. Called in to identify the homeless dead man who has been found on the beach, Kinsey is faced with a man she’s never seen before, but who has her name and phone number on a slip of paper in his pocket.
A slim lead indeed, but enough for Kinsey to begin the complex process of ascertaining the man’s identity, her relationship to him and the cause of his death.
There are other homeless people involved, some of whom lean toward violence as a tool for social interaction, a number of heretofore unknown relatives and a great deal of money.
This is a leisurely novel (428 pages) that eventually arrives at a satisfactory conclusion. But it takes a while to get there. This just might be your cup of tea. An easy read to while away the evening hours. If not, be prepared for a complete description of every meal Kinsey eats. If she has a lunch/dinner companion, that’s two complete meals itemized.
Be ready to know exactly where she parks her car and how far the parking spot is from her front door. And only once does she fail to note that she has locked her car.
But it all gets resolved, except for how the cat keeps getting out of the house. That’s a mystery.

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