Wise-cracking, staunchly independent, and chronically curious, Grafton's gritty gumshoe Kinsey Millhone is back. This time, the alphabet series star will take on the toughest case to date: her past. What begins as a random phone call from a "storage space scavenger" (someone who buys the contents of defaulted storage units) leads Kinsey to a box of old papers and personal effects that her ex-husband, Mickey Magruder, left behind. Inside, she finds a 15-year-old unsent letter from a bartender that, among other things, reveals her former hubby was having an affair. The letter also contains details about the murder of a transient--a crime for which Mickey was blamed. Although never convicted, Mickey was ruined--losing his job, wife, and friends. But 15 years later, Kinsey realizes that foul play may have been involved in the murder, a deadly temptation for her.
Die-hard fans will especially enjoy Kinsey's self-disclosure--something she's infamous for not doing--about her childhood, the fate of her parents, and the randy details of her first marriage. A very vulnerable and interesting side to Kinsey's character is also revealed when her obsessive-compulsive fact-finding bent is mixed up with matters of the heart.
A fast, fun read, O Is for Outlaw is packed with Grafton's clear, colorful imagery and signature metaphors: "Our recollection of the past is not simply distorted by our faulty perception of events remembered, but skewed by those forgotten. The memory is like orbiting twin stars, one visible, one dark, the trajectory of what's evident forever affected by the gravity of what's concealed." --Rebekah Warren
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From Publishers Weekly
Grafton's fans will be thrilled with this knockout 15th Kinsey Millhone mystery, which deals with Kinsey's first marriage. In a complex story that zigzags between past and present, the California PI gets involved again with her first ex-husband, former cop Michael "Mickey" Magruder, who initially reappears in her life by chance when she comes across memorabilia he kept after their separation 14 years earlier. The mementos include an undelivered letter addressed to Kinsey, providing Mickey with an alibi for the beating death of Vietnam vet Benny Quintero, the unproven charge against Mickey that prompted Kinsey to leave him. Conscience-stricken, Kinsey looks up acquaintances from her early marriage, questioning her judgment and values at the time. Then two Los Angeles police detectives inform her that Mickey has been shot and is in a coma, and Kinsey decides to investigate. As usual in Grafton's novels, the PI encounters a string of offbeat characters who lead or mislead her in a gyre of confusion; here, many of them had motive and opportunity to shoot Mickey. In time, Kinsey stumbles on a clueAat first bewilderingAthat leads back to the Vietnam War and, eventually, points the way to Benny's killer and Mickey's assailant. In addition to her distinctive humor, sharp sense of place and crisp dialogue defining character, Grafton adds depth to this outing through unexpected details of Kinsey's past. Meanwhile, Kinsey's examination of her youthful self-righteousness and na?vet? initiates a provocative contemplation of guilt, morals and loyalty that graces one of the very best entries in a long-lived and much-loved series. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. $500,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour. (Oct.)
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