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H is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone…
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"H" is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries) (edition 2007)

by Sue Grafton

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2,927402,915 (3.67)39
Member:lbethg65
Title:"H" is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)
Authors:Sue Grafton
Info:St. Martin's Paperbacks (2007), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
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H Is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
BOTTOM-LINE:
H should be for huckster.
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PLOT OR PREMISE:
Kinsey has her hands full with a dead claims adjuster, a scam artist on the run from a dangerous ex, and an efficiency expert at the insurance company.
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WHAT I LIKED:
Kinsey goes undercover with the scam artist and her ex, with support from Dolan, and she really throws herself into the role. She shows up as the scam artist's friend, and hangs out while the relationship with the crazy ex deteriorates even further.
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
The crazy ex is indeed crazy, but the ridiculous explanation for a lot of his behaviour is that he has Tourette's. Not exactly a deep plot device nor very accurate portrayal.
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Feb 23, 2019 |
I decided not to finish this one--it was too crude and unpleasant. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
Out of the 10 books that I’ve read in the Sue Grafton alphabet series, H is for Homicide is one of my 3 or 4 favorites. The plot is both intriguing and believable, and the suspense makes it a hard book to put down. Private investigator Kinsey Mallone is resourceful, courageous, and entirely human, which is to say that she has distinctive foibles and doesn’t always show the best judgement.

Kinsey works for an insurance company for California Fidelity, investigating insurance fraud. When a claims adjustor for CF is found murdered, the case thrusts her into the center of a large insurance scam ring. The ring includes physicians, attorneys, and a pack of lowlife scam artists themselves, who stage auto accidents in order to collect for medical fees and property damage. The ring is headed by Raymond Maldonado, a well- drawn and bizarrely memorable character who is both frightening (given his barely controlled violence) and pathetic (due to a severe form of Tourette's syndrome, each episode of which presages a violent episode). Raymond kidnaps Bibianna (his ex- girlfriend, whom he hopes to marry), and Kinsey worms her way into the group through her acquaintanceship with Bibianna. Bureaucratic blunders by the police put Kinsey’s life in serious danger, and it’s an open question through much of the book as to whether she will be exposed as a police informant and PI before she can get word to the police and to CI as to where she is.

The plot and action aside, Kinsey’s sassy banter and the off-beat characters are other reasons to enjoy this book. Yet another reason lies with Sue Grafton’s insights and powers of description. ”Violence is a form of theater that only the disenfranchised can afford” she ruminates at one point. ” Admission is cheap. The bill of fare is an ever-changing drama of life and death, drugs and stickups, drive-bys, retaliations, the fearfulness of mothers who look on in anguish from the sidelines. As often as not, it’s the bystanders who fall prey to the spray of random bullets.

Here she stands at the bar, watching the other patrons: ”I spotted Bibianna on the dance floor, undulating with remarkable energy and grace to some grinding sex tune. Men’s eyes seemed to follow every shimmy, every bump. The blue lights reacted with the olive tones of her skin to create an unearthly radiance that emphasized the smooth oval of her face above the bulging breasts in the low cut chemise. The dress seemed to glow more purple than red, pulled taut across the flat belly slim hips, and trim thighs. When the music ended, she gave her dark hair a toss, and moved away from the dance floor without a backward glance. Her partner, visibly winded, looked after her with admiration.”

And here she reflects on her friend Jimmy: ”In the past, his relationships with women had been easy to track, light-hearted forays with no emotional strings attached. A few laughs, some quick sex, a couple of weeks of companionship…. The women he dated were often smart but self- deluding, announcing upfront that all they were looking for was fun and games when in fact they bonded with him… and quickly shifted into emotional bait and switch…. Each would become fixated, hooked by his availability, his casual charm, the sexuality… They’d begin to service him, cooking meals, ironing shirts, subtly demonstrating how much better his life could be if they were somewhere on the premises. They’d begin to quiz him about his past relationships, trying to figure out what the last woman did wrong, trying to delete from their own behavior the qualities that had generated their predecessor’s demise… Personal sacrifice netted these women nothing… He was irresponsible, as promiscuous as ever, though he tried to be polite. .. Their anger would begin to surface because there was no payoff to the subservience. Each woman, in turn, would start to feel victimized, and Jimmy was the obvious target of their discontent…. Within a month, they’d make some demand, perhaps complain, voicing their barely controlled expressions of disappointment and rebuke. The minute that happened, Jimmy was out of the door without so much as a Thank you Ma’am…” You’ll never see an insightful description like that in the works of Chandler, Hammett, Parker, or Ellroy. Sue Grafton is one of a kind.

The plot does have a few elements that some reviewers have found questionable. Some find it surprising that Kinsey strikes a female police officer in the face, in order to get arrested with Bibianna. Some also have remarked on the fact that towards the end, she doesn't take the opportunity to escape the hospital and her suspicious captors, in hopes of warning her one-time friend Jimmy Tate about Raymond. To my mind, these aspects make Kinsey a more real character, a captivating mixture of impulsiveness and a level of bravado through which she puts her own safety at serious risk for the sake of a friendship and the criminal case at hand. ( )
1 vote danielx | Dec 17, 2018 |
As always, a great read. Never a dull moment. Her books could be read in one seating if one had the time. I never tire of Kinsey Millhone, the main character in Sue Grafton's books. She is an independent young woman, self-employed, doing what she loves to do and is good at it. As a private investigator, she is a minority in her field. If you enjoy. suspense, this is book and series for you. ( )
  DocWalt10 | Nov 15, 2018 |
Not my favorite Kinsey Millhone book. She didn't seem like herself in this one. ( )
  Melissa_Gardner | Aug 28, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grafton, Sueprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crona, Börjesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaye, JudyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moya, Antonio-PrometeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For the Women's Group in all its incarnations:

Florence Clark
Sylvia Stallings
Penelope Craven
Mary Lynn

   Caroline Ahlstrand
   Mary Slemons

       Susan Dyne
       Joyce Dobry

           Margaret Warner
           Georgina Morin
           and Barbara Knox

sharing tears and triumphs, rage and laughter, for the last five years of Monday nights.
First words
Looking back, it's hard to remember if the low morale at California Fidelity originated with the death of one of the claims adjusters or the transfer of Gordon Titus, an "efficiency expert" from the Palm Springs office, who was brought in to bolster profits.
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Book description
Haiku summary
She chases a fraud
And finds her life in danger.
She still gets fired, though.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449219461, Mass Market Paperback)

"THE LADY CAN WRITE . . .

Any reader who needs a smart and sassy P.I. would do well to hire Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. . . . H' is for Homicide continues to show the author in strong storytelling form. . . . [It] finds Kinsey Millhone working on a case involving the death of a claims adjuster for a California insurance company. The story takes her into the Los Angeles barrio in pursuit of a violent criminal, into jails and hospitals, and into a grungy bar named the Meat Locker. . . . Count on Millhone not only to corner the murderer but also to make a statement against the foibles of the insurance game."
--The New York Times

"The eighth in Grafton's bestselling series is perhaps the wildest ride yet. . . . Grafton's skill with dialogue, her vivid characterizations and California scenery are priceless. . . . There are moments when the tension becomes so unbearable that you are tempted to skip paragraphs out of self-preservation."
--USA Today

"One of the best . . . A vivid, funny portrait of life in an ethnic underworld, viewed without judgment. Suspense there is, plentifully, and a final suggestion that Kinsey will be exploring different mischiefs next time. Outstanding."
--Los Angeles Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:42 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

When Kinsey Millhone tracks an insurance scam to Bibianna Diaz, she finds herself entangled in the murderous path of Bibianna's spurned suitor--gangster Raymond Maldonado.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

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