U is for Undertow
By Sue Grafton
(Marian Wood Books/Putnam, Hardcover, 9780399155970, 416pp.)
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
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Calling T is for Trespass “taut, terrifying, transfixing and terrific,” USA Today went on to ask, “What does it take to write twenty novels about the same character and manage to create a fresh, genre-bending novel every time?” It’s a question worth pondering. Through twenty excursions into the dark side of the human soul, Sue Grafton has never written the same book twice. And so it is with this, her twenty-first. Once again, she breaks genre formulas, giving us a twisting, complex, surprise-filled, and totally satisfying thriller.
It’s April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone’s thirty-eighth birthday, and she’s alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he’d be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. Twenty-one years earlier, a four-year-old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey’s help in locating the child’s remains and finding the men who killed her. It’s a long shot but he’s willing to pay cash up front, and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she discovers Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he’s the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?
Grafton moves the narrative between the eighties and the sixties, changing points of view, building multiple subplots, and creating memorable characters. Gradually, we see how they all connect. But at the beating center of the novel is Kinsey Millhone, sharp-tongued, observant, a loner—“a heroine,” said The New York Times Book Review, “with foibles you can laugh at and faults you can forgive.”
New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languagesincluding Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Books in her alphabet series, begun in 1982, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. And like Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker, and John D. MacDonaldthe best of her breedSue Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents.
Sue divides her time between Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. She has three children and two grandchildren. Grafton has been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine.