V is for Vengeance By Sue Grafton

This is the latest installment in the Kinsey Milhone series set in the 80s in a fictitious town in Southern California. As you can imagine they started at A with A is for Alibi. The series got a little weak there but this one is back on track. There isn’t really that much of a mystery as much as putting together all the bits and pieces of several story lines that may or may not converge. Kinsey’s lovable neighbor and landlord, Henry, has to go out of town to help with his sister who has taken a nasty fall so Kinsey is left to fend for herself in this book. She is useless in the kitchen and eats half her meals at the pub close by her home. That alone can be hazardous to her health as the owner of the pub/restaurant serves bizarre Hungarian meals, most of which is unidentifiable.

Anyway we start the book with an odd story of a loan shark’s lending practices and a young, cocky man who believes he can beat the bank or in this case, Vegas. I have nothing against dreaming, in fact I highly encourage it, but this is just a fool’s game. As they say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. We skip forward a few years and meet up with Kinsey who is actually shopping, something she rarely does. On this excursion she witnesses a couple of women shoplifting and, being the ex-cop that she is, reports it immediately. Little does she know what this will lead to and she quickly becomes embroiled in investigating theft rings. There is a huge amount of money involved in stealing from retail outlets and those who are profiting from it do not want that line of income to stop.

Kinsey’s life is threatened and a reporter from her past will not stop hounding her. The reporter is the one who helped break up Kinsey’s marriage – as you can imagine, no love lost there. This woman doesn’t let go but does actually uncover some details that had previously been overlooked. They do join forces and work together to figure out what has been going on but there is no way they are going to end up friends.

Another fun 80s romp as they say. I love the detail Ms. Grafton puts in these books about the time. There is a reference to what is playing in the charts at the time but also remembering what it was like to not have a mobile phone constantly at one’s side and having to actually go to the office or, heaven forbid, find a pay phone. Those are kind of a laugh now huh.

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