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O is for Outlaw
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Grafton's fans will be thrilled with this knockout 15th Kinsey Millhone mystery, which deals with Kinsey's first marriage. In a complex story that zigzags between past and present, the California PI gets involved again with her first ex-husband, former cop Michael "Mickey" Magruder, who initially reappears in her life by chance when she comes across memorabilia he kept after their separation 14 years earlier. The mementos include an undelivered letter addressed to Kinsey, providing Mickey with an alibi for the beating death of Vietnam vet Benny Quintero, the unproven charge against Mickey that prompted Kinsey to leave him. Conscience-stricken, Kinsey looks up acquaintances from her early marriage, questioning her judgment and values at the time. Then two Los Angeles police detectives inform her that Mickey has been shot and is in a coma, and Kinsey decides to investigate. As usual in Grafton's novels, the PI encounters a string of offbeat characters who lead or mislead her in a gyre of confusion; here, many of them had motive and opportunity to shoot Mickey. In time, Kinsey stumbles on a clueÄat first bewilderingÄthat leads back to the Vietnam War and, eventually, points the way to Benny's killer and Mickey's assailant. In addition to her distinctive humor, sharp sense of place and crisp dialogue defining character, Grafton adds depth to this outing through unexpected details of Kinsey's past. Meanwhile, Kinsey's examination of her youthful self-righteousness and na‹vet‚ initiates a provocative contemplation of guilt, morals and loyalty that graces one of the very best entries in a long-lived and much-loved series. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. $500,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Kinsey Millhone is overcome with curiosity when a guy who buys up salvage from self-storage units calls to say he has a cardboard box of her personal possessions. Among the childhood report cards, she finds an undelivered letter written to her years before. Her first husband was implicated in a murder at the time, and the letter scolds her for not standing by her man by lying to give him an alibi. Kinsey is compelled to find out what happened. In the course of the investigation, she meets again with many of the gang she knew then, during the Vietnam War era. As the old murder investigation and Kinsey's past unfold, listeners will be glued to their cassette players to find out how the threads will come together. Reader Judy Kaye does a great job with Kinsey's voice, using just the right mixture of self-assuredness and a little nostalgia for the young woman she was those many years before. All public libraries with mystery fans will want to buy several copies.--Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

YA-The alphabet series that features Kinsey Millhone, a former cop turned private investigator, continues in this fine mystery with lots of suspense. The story begins with a phone call from Teddy Rich, who offers to sell Kinsey a box of personal items that he bought at a repossession auction. The contents of the box had been stored for years by Kinsey's ex-husband, Mickey Magruder. While searching through it, she discovers an unopened letter addressed to her. This letter establishes an alibi that he needed 14 years earlier when a murder case ruined his career as a policeman and prompted the demise of their marriage. Kinsey hopes to find him but, as fate would have it, two L.A. police investigators enter the story at this point to inform her of Mickey's "accident." A fast-paced, intriguing set of circumstances and dangerous turns make this tale a page-turner. The story is well crafted and the characters are believable. Grafton's fans will love it.-Linda A. Vretos, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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