W is for Wasted

March 23, 2015 - W is for Wasted (Sue Grafton). The 23rd book in the author's Kinsey Millhone series sees the PI get some new relatives, a nice pile of cash, and a new car. She also learns that gardening tools have uses outside the garden.

Most of the story is told from Kinsey's point of view as she looks into the death of a homeless man in October 1988. The man had Kinsey's name and phone number in his pocket when he died, and the coroner's office thought Kinsey would want to know about that. Eventually, she discovers the very personal reason he had for having her contact info.

The rest of the story is told from the perspective of another PI named Pete Wolinsky. His chapters begin in June 1988 and end a couple months later when he is shot to death. Kinsey knew Pete from back-in-the day as a guy who liked to cut corners and was always looking for easy money. So, when a guy asks Pete to find out if his wife is cheating on him, it's right up his alley. Pete's troubles start when that case opens an avenue to a possibly bigger payday. Eventually, that avenue ends at Kinsey's own home.

The book is just over 430 pages long. It took me months to read, mostly because I don’t have a lot of time to read. There's a brief prologue and a brief epilogue with a lot of storytelling in between. As mentioned above, that storytelling comes from Kinsey and from Pete. I'm not sure we needed all of it for this particular story, but some of it serves to (I'm guessing) set up the final three novels in the series.

For example, Grafton brings back Kinsey's fellow PI and erstwhile lover Robert Dietz for a few chapters. He's gone well before the end of the book, but you get the sense we'll see him again soon. Another of Kinsey's exes, Det. Cheney Phillips, also shows up for a bit. Plus, there's the new car, the new relatives and the new cash mentioned above. Grafton's writing is always enjoyable and I get the idea that she took advantage of the complex plot to start plotting Kinsey's endgame.