Friday, January 22, 2010

Review: U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 stars

What I love about Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series is that it well written, always entertaining and each new book is like another visit with an old friend. The character of Kinsey is amazingly fleshed out and Grafton has done an excellent job of keeping her alive and real throughout the series.

I know that some feel the series is getting stale but I am not one of them. I think that Grafton keeps giving us new and unique nuances to the characters in each book. Are the mysteries themselves the best I've read? No. But, the characters and the world that Grafton creates is why I keep coming back. I'm so engaged in their lives and their journey that I look forward to over and over again. Kinsey, Henry, and all the rest. I love the snippets of Kinsey's daily life and I think that adds to the cozy, down-to-earth feeling that I always get from reading this series.

This one was not the best mystery of the series but it kept me engaged throughout the novel. I thought the plot was fresh and interesting - bringing a lot of different pieces together throughout the book, in a seemingly effortless way. The plot shifts narrators and time which was an interesting choice for Grafton to make. I didn't love the shifting but it didn't take away from the book for me. Just an interesting little change from her usual formula. (Well, that's not exactly true - in the last book, she moved perspectives a bit from Kinsey to the antagonist). But, overall, I think it worked fine.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a nice break from a lot of the other books I've been reading. It was like re-visiting an old friend. I can't wait to see what Kinsey will be up to in the next book!


  1. Amy, I read "U" last week and I have not been able to settle a question in my mind about the story. Why did they bury the dog? I do not understand that part of the plot. Did they take the girl's body AND the dog to bury at the same time, having the dog as a back-up in case they got caught with the girl's body? I would love to hear your perspective on this. Thanks so much

  2. I'm trying to remember ... it's been almost a year since I read it. If memory serves (and I don't promise it does lol), I think they brought the dog in case they needed a cover story. Or at least that is what I took from it!!!

  3. Thanks Amy. It still seemed a bit cheezy to me. I just finished A and I have started on B. Thanks for your opinion

  4. Yes, I agree on the cheesiness. It definitely came off that way to me as well. I think the earlier books are some of the best :) Enjoy!

  5. Amy, I am becoming a real pain. I just finished B and found a huge mistake. Kinsey drove up to the house and left the keys in the car for a quick getaway, but when she is trapped in the basement she uses the VW key to try to force open a hinge. I am losing confidence in Sue Grafton. Sorry!

  6. You're not a pain! And it was YEARS ago - at least 10 years - since I read the early books. I loved them and never noticed any mistakes but yes what you're describing is a bit frustrating as a reader!