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Review: U is for Undertow

April 13, 2010
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Michael Sutton remembers seeing two men bury something in the woods on his sixth birthday, twenty-one years ago.  He really hasn’t thought about it much since then, until he happened upon an article about the kidnapping of young girl.  The kidnapping occurred two days before his birthday and has never been solved.  Michael becomes convinced that what he saw has something to do with the kidnapping and he hires Kinsey Millhone to investigate.

Kinsey takes the case and, from details provided by Michael, quickly finds the area in the woods where Michael encountered the two men.  The police are called in and they dig up the spot and find the remains of a dog.  Everyone writes Michael off as an unreliable witness, except for Kinsey.  She can’t get the mystery out of her head and pursues it right to the end.

U is for Undertow is the latest book in Sue Grafton‘s Alphabet Series featuring Kinsey Millhone, and I think it’s a solid addition to the series.  Kinsey is my kind of detective – down to earth and no nonsense.  She’s low maintenance and tenacious.  She’s also fiercely loyal and I love her friendship with her landlord, Henry.

In U is for Undertow, two stories are told simultaneously – one is from the time of the kidnapping in 1967 and the other is at the time of the investigation in 1988 and I was engrossed in both of them.  The story is fast paced and I was so absorbed in it, I didn’t want to put the book down.  The reader knows who the kidnappers are long before Kinsey does, so the fun comes in seeing how she will go about solving the mystery.

This book is part of a series, and can stand alone, but I think readers will enjoy it more if they know Kinsey’s background from the other books.  Fans of Sue Grafton and Kinsey Millhone won’t be disappointed by this fun book.

This is part of the Detective Around the World feature hosted by Jen’s Book Thoughts.  Check Jen’s blog each day this week to see which detectives are featured that day.  Other blogs participating are:

S. Krishna’s Books
Booking Mama
Beth Fish Reads
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’
Jenn’s Book Shelves
My Friend Amy
Word Lily
Savvy Verse and Wit
Literate Housewife
Lesa’s Book Critiques
The Drowning Machine
Pop Culture Nerd
A Few More Pages
Books Are Like Candy Corn
Stumbling the Walk
L.J. Sellers
Blood Red Pencil
An Adventure in Reading
Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic
Classic Mysteries
Crime Watch

Challenges: Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge

I am an Indiebound Affliate.
34 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 5:51 am

    I haven’t gotten to “U” yet with Kinsey, but I’ve heard wonderful things about this addition to the series. Glad to hear you agree, Kathy!

    Kinsey is such a great part of the crime fiction community. One of the solide female protagonists, and I know that Sue Grafton has been a role model for many of the newer female writers in the genre. What a great contribution!

    Thanks so much for adding Kinsey Milhone to the theme week, Kathy!

  2. April 13, 2010 6:23 am

    I love Kinsey, sadly I haven’t visited with her in ages. Now I just need to figure out which letter I left off with!! Your review has made me want to start up with this series again!

    • April 13, 2010 8:41 am

      This comment is exactly what I was going to say. Well, the first two sentences in particular; I’ve had a yen to restart the series for awhile now.

  3. April 13, 2010 6:37 am

    I love this series. For years I’ve almost mourned the fact that the series will run out eventually. I will miss Kinsey like I would miss my old sweatpants and comfy slippers!

  4. April 13, 2010 6:52 am

    I share Staci’s problem. I have not read any in this series in quite awhile and now I forget what letter I left off with…lol

  5. April 13, 2010 7:58 am

    I haven’t read any book of this series yet .. and the idea of reading all those books up until U is what is putting me off.. Someday .. I will .. 🙂 Good review!

  6. April 13, 2010 8:07 am

    Question: if I only read the “A” book, will I get enough background to enjoy this “U” book? Just wondering…
    PS – I was adding photos to my post when you commented (I think?) Anyway, I WISH I could have a small yard – or wish I could make flowers out of ALL of it. 🙂 Gardening is like reading – too many cool things I want to do (ie books to read) and not enough time.

  7. April 13, 2010 8:15 am

    I used to love Sue Grafton’s books, then I sort of “hit the wall” when it came to mysteries and only read them on rare occasions. I’m stunned that she’s kept this series going for so long! I think I got to “L”.

  8. April 13, 2010 8:26 am

    I really should get back to this series. I think I stopped at H or I. I really like the books, I think I just got started on other series.

  9. April 13, 2010 8:48 am

    I love this series, but I can never remember what letter I stopped with either!

  10. April 13, 2010 9:06 am

    Kathy, I’m glad you are participating in Jen’s Detective event. It’s really fun.

    Dare I say that I am not a huge Kinsey fan? Please don’t throw tomatoes at me! LOL

    I don’t dislike her, but I read A and B and just couldn’t gain a connection. Goes to my theory of not every book for every person and not every book at every point in a person’s life. 🙂

  11. April 13, 2010 9:36 am

    I love Kinsey Millhone, good to know that this one meets Sue Grafton’s standards.

    I keep wondering how Grafton is going to end the series though for Kay, very curious about that.

    And yeah, there is an award for you up on my blog 🙂

  12. April 13, 2010 9:59 am

    I’ve heard of this series before but haven’t encountered any reviews on it. This sounds like a great series. I may give it a try.

  13. April 13, 2010 10:26 am

    I haven’t read one of these forever, but I used to really enjoy them. Great review!

  14. April 13, 2010 11:01 am

    This is a series that I need to start reading. It sounds great!

  15. April 13, 2010 11:52 am

    This sounds intriguing. I hope all the participants will have fun. 🙂

  16. Let's Read permalink
    April 13, 2010 12:24 pm

    I have never read any book of this series and seems like Iam missing out..the plot is definitely intriguing.

  17. April 13, 2010 1:14 pm

    I was real gung-ho on these books for a while and then I stopped. I’m not sure why. Now you’ve got me thinking about them again. I should probably start all over again at A.

  18. April 13, 2010 3:42 pm

    Okay, until you mentioned the alphabet series I was wondering why a letter was featured so prominently on the cover 😛

  19. April 13, 2010 3:51 pm

    I haven’t read all of her books yet and this makes me want to catch up on them! I love her books and miss reading them.
    Natalie :0)

  20. April 13, 2010 4:32 pm

    I read this one during last weekend’s read-a-thon! I enjoyed it. I discovered Kinsey back in college (yes, during the 1980s) when the only thing I ever read were mysteries. Even though I don’t read mysteries anymore, this series is the only one that I’ve stayed with over the years.

  21. April 13, 2010 4:39 pm

    My mom loves these books, though the ones she is reading are a lot earlier in the series. I am glad to hear that this book was such a fun read, I will have to let her know!

  22. April 13, 2010 9:44 pm

    I’m a big Kinsey fan too. It is like visiting with an old friend whenever she has a new book out.

  23. April 14, 2010 1:03 am

    I haven’t read any of these books, but I know that my mother-in-law has read a lot of them in this series.

  24. April 14, 2010 1:36 am

    I listened to this one on audio, and really enjoyed it! The “T” book fell kind of flat for me, so I was glad this one brought back my enjoyment of the Kinsey series. Looking forward to book “V!”

  25. April 14, 2010 8:37 am

    I used to buy Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, up to “S” when I decided I just had to stop buying so many books. Now I need to catch up because I feel like Kinsey is an old friend. I dread the day when Grafton gets to “Z” but maybe she’ll dream up something else then.

  26. kaye permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:11 am

    Phew! I’m glad you liked this one as I read a less than stellar review on another blog and was reluctant to pick this one up. Thanks for the positve review, it’s back on my list. Have a great week and happy reading.

  27. April 14, 2010 10:47 am

    I haven’t read any of the books in this series, I would like to rad more detective novels this year. I’ll have to check this series out at some point.

  28. stacybuckeye permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:02 pm

    This is a series I intend to start one day.

  29. April 14, 2010 2:13 pm

    I’ve seen this series around a lot. The books always sound good. I think the amount of them out there, if I start from the beginning, has me intimidated.

  30. April 14, 2010 5:40 pm

    This is one of those series that I’ve heard about for years, am pretty sure that I would like, but just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I think I’ll pick up the first book in the series over the summer.

    Great review, it’s wonderful to see a series that has gone on this long is still delighting its readers. I really hate it when I get hooked on the characters, have read most of a series, and the writing starts to fizzle in the later books.

  31. April 15, 2010 8:06 pm

    I didn’t even realize this one was in RRR challenge. I have read the first 2 in this series, so doubt I’ll get to this one in the next year. Kinda want to read them in order, but this one does sound really good.

  32. April 19, 2010 1:45 pm

    I’ve seen these alphabet novels around, but I’ve never read one. Now that I’ve read your review, I think I might give the series a try at some point.

  33. August 5, 2011 8:10 pm

    I also love Kinsey and how unconventional a character she is, let alone how undetective-like she can be 🙂 I’ve only read A is for Alibi, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks for the review 🙂

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