V is for Vengeance

March 12, 2013 - V is for Vengeance (Sue Grafton). The 22nd book in the author's Kinsey Millhone series drags the PI into the world of organized crime. It says a lot about some of the other characters in the book that the crime boss turns out to be a good guy.

The book opens in 1986, and a young man named Phillip Lanahan has a gambling problem. He goes to a loan shark names Dante for a stake, then heads to Vegas. It's all going pretty well until a ringer sent in by the loan shark shows up. Phillip loses big and gets tossed off a parking deck for his troubles.

Fast-forward two years, and Kinsey Millhone needs some underwear. Her trip to the department store turns into a chase when she spots a pair of shoplifters. One gets away, but the other, a woman named Audrey, gets arrested. A few days later, she turns up dead at the bottom of a bridge. Did she fall? Did she jump? The woman’s boyfriend hires Kinsey to find out. The boyfriend is none too pleased when Kinsey reports her theory that his beloved Audrey was part of an organized crime ring that stole all kinds of stuff then shipped it somewhere else to be sold.

Kinsey presses ahead with her investigation, and crosses paths with a lovable lowlife named Pinky and a very unlovable cop named Priddy, both of whom she has had dealings with in the past. Eventually, Kinsey meets Dante, who punches her in the nose for her own good.

That's a simplified outline of this intricately plotted novel. Several other characters feature prominently, and the connections among them are revealed as the storyline unfolds. It's rather like trains starting out on several different tracks which all arrive at the same junction.

I really enjoyed this one. Bring on W.