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Monday, February 15, 2010

T Is for Trespass

T Is for Trespass is the 20th of 21 Kinsey Millhone novels written by Sue Grafton since 1982 when she published the first of what is to be a 26-book series, one for each letter of the alphabet. The books are coming a little bit farther apart these days but Grafton is on the downhill stretch now with only five books still to go. The Kinsey Millhone books are not written in real time - the last two are set in the late 1980s - and the 26th book (supposedly to be titled Z Is for Zero) will be set in 1990 when Kinsey turns 40 years old. At Grafton’s current pace, readers will have to wait most of another decade to celebrate Kinsey’s fortieth.

Kinsey runs a one-woman shop, a small time detective agency that depends on word-of-mouth, repeat business and walk-ins for its survival. As is usual for her, T Is for Trespass finds her juggling several small cases at once, going from one to another as time and opportunity allow. She is either trying to serve papers on those who do not want them, digging into what seems to be a shady injury claim against the insurance company she regularly does work for, or trying to help a friend evict non-paying residents from his apartment building.

Everything is very routine until her grouchy neighbor suffers a fall bad enough to require home care during what promises to be a long and rather painful recovery. Kinsey manages to talk the man’s niece into flying across the country to make the arrangements and is asked to investigate the credentials of the lone nurse who applies for the job, one Solana Rojas. Solana seems perfect for the job - on paper. But what if she is not really the Solana Rojas?

T Is for Trespass is a reminder that identify theft did not begin when the internet placed everyone’s privacy at risk. In her own low-tech way, this duplicate Solana Rojas has been stealing identities and worming her way into the trust of elderly patients for a long time. Sadly, though, that is not all she has been stealing - and when she has it all, her “patients” might just be asked to pay the ultimate price for her services.

Solana Rojas does not appear to be a threat to someone like Kinsey Millhone, a much younger woman who has had to fight for her life more than once but, when Kinsey starts nosing around the old man’s house to see how he is progressing , Solana’s own street smarts are triggered. Before long, Kinsey is under a restraining order to stay clear of Solana Rojas, her guns are locked up at police headquarters, and Solana is actively looting the old man’s estate. And while Kinsey is kept at bay, the old man is coming closer and closer to the day he draws his final breath.

The 10-disc, 13-hour, T Is for Trespass audio book is read by Judy Kaye, an award-winning stage actress who perfectly captures the Kinsey Millhone spirit that longtime fans of the series know so well. Grafton’s novels are heavy on dialogue and Kaye does particularly well in capturing Kinsey’s sassy sense of irony and self-awareness. During the portions of the book related from Solana’s point-of-view, Kay’s reading gives a haunting sense of that woman’s lack of humanity. The rousing, action-filed climax that ends this cautionary tale will not disappoint Sue Grafton fans.

Rated at: 4.0

4 comments:

Pete said...

Is she going to retire after she publishes her Z novel? Or will she keep right on going with AA Is for Attitude Adjustment?

Kathy said...

I've read all the Kinsey Millhone (reading U is for Undertow right now). I've listened to them on audio, as well. I enjoy Judy Kaye and agree that she does well to capture Kinsey's voice.

Sam Sattler said...

Pete, I think Grafton will be in her early seventies when she finishes...lots of writing time left to her and I hope she makes the most of it. Your idea is not bad...

Sam Sattler said...

Kathy, I missed a few in the middle somewhere and I need to get to those eventually. I've enjoyed all that I've read and love the way the character combines growth with consistency of character...much like the rest of us strive to do.