Grafton’s clearly stretching her craft in these last few books, which is commendable — and, on the whole, pretty successful. Like in Q is for Quarry, Kinsey’s working a cold case, this time she’s not even sure if it’s a missing person or a murder that she’s been hired for.
There’s an interesting pattern to these chapters — one or two in Kinsey’s present, and then a chapter from the Point of View of one of the people that knew the subject of her investigation a couple of decades before. Not only is this a stylistic leap for Grafton, it’s pretty interesting for her to be giving the reader that much more insight into the characters. But overall, I wasn’t crazy about seeing how every one’s a liar, before or after they talk to Kinsey. I’d rather watch Kinsey discover the lie, or see that they’re lying, rather than we readers knowing that and Kinsey being lost.
As we move along, we are given a more complex look at our victim than Grafton’s usually able to provide. We get to know her better and better each time we’re given a look at the past. We see how various people saw her through their perspectives and end up caring a lot more about her when we learn what happened to her than we normally would.
I’m not convinced that the case itself was that interesting, but the way that Grafton told it was very interesting and raised the level of the book. Making this satisfying in a way that Kinsey stories usually aren’t.
Grafton essentially ignores the ongoing family and romance stories she’s been pursuing lately — a nice break, but hopefully she returns to them soon — as much growth as the books have displayed lately, it’d be nice if Kinsey could catch up.
Grafton took a chance this time, and it paid off. Hope she keeps stretching herself as eh move on towards Z.