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U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
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U is for Undertow

by Sue Grafton (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Alphabet Mysteries (21)

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1,959943,472 (3.83)85

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English (91)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Entertaining story and much better effort than the last few alphabet mysteries. I still find it confusing that Grafton gets more and more behind in terms of date (this book takes place in 1988) but I enjoyed the addition to Kinsey's family story. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Entertaining story and much better effort than the last few alphabet mysteries. I still find it confusing that Grafton gets more and more behind in terms of date (this book takes place in 1988) but I enjoyed the addition to Kinsey's family story. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
A young man comes to Kinsey Millhone with a story of a repressed memory, recently flushed out, of having seen two men burying something in the woods. It happened twenty years ago, when he was six, and several days after a well-publicized kidnapping of a four year-old girl. As Kinsey investigates, she learns that he may not be the most reliable witness.

As with all her other books, I couldn't put this down once I started. However, I found the ending unsatisfying. One major plot twist was never explained, and the ending seemed abrupt. ( )
  tloeffler | Jul 14, 2014 |
Once again, Sue Grafton has written a book that I can heartily recommend to those who love a good mystery. She writes detectives like it is nothing to her but a walk in the park, and U is for Undertow is one of the alphabet series which you MUST read. The plot starts to get thick when a 27 yr old unemployed college drop out named Michael Sutton comes in to hire Kinsey Millhone. Sutton professes to know about a kidnapping that happened two decades ago, of a 4 yr old girl. Sutton believes he knows where the burial spot is and wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the killers.

Not able to tell all of the truth, is he fabricating his story or is there meat on it? Moving effortlessly between the 80' and the 60s, Kinsey pursues witnesses whose points of view clash and change over time. Twisting, complex, surprise-filled events fill all of Grafton's books and this is no different. Everything connects, of course, at the end, and we even find out what happened to the child and the ransom money. To find out for yourself and with me giving no tips, call your local bookstore and order this wonderful novel. You won't be disappointed now, or with any of Sue Grafton's books. ( )
  bakersfieldbarbara | Jun 17, 2014 |
When you want an easy read, Grafton is the place to go. I had to get past some weird sentence structure and comma placement in the beginning, but she's a good enough storyteller I stopped caring about it after a while. And occasionally she throws in some great imagery, just for entertainment's sake. I wouldn't teach her in a lit class, but I'd recommend her for an enjoyable read.


Petrea Burchard
Camelot & Vine ( )
  PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
With U is for Undertow, Sue Grafton draws closer to the end of the alphabet and, presumably, to the finish of her marvelous mysteries featuring Kinsey Millhone, the smart and scrappy private investigator who helped validate that profession for several generations of female P.I.’s. So has this reliable series lost its addictive appeal? Not at all — though it’s a shock to realize that the stories, set in a California coastal town in the 1980s, now read more like historical narratives than contemporary novels with a slight time lag. But it’s an object lesson in disciplined storytelling to watch Grafton manipulate that time frame to broaden the story and deepen the mystery.
 
U is for Undertow isn’t much of a mystery. Sure, there’s a baby who was kidnapped and murdered 20 years ago, and a 6-year-old boy, now grown, who may or may not have seen its burial. But what’s wonderful about the book is the sharp-eyed details Grafton packs into its frame.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grafton, SueAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaye, JudyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Larry Welch, who left us,
steering a course for parts unknown,
and for Pam, who sails on,
navigating her journey over high seas.
Safe passage to you both.
First words
What fascinates me about life is that now and then the past rises up and declares itself.
Quotations
"When I was a little kid, I was playing in the woods and I came across these two guys digging a hole."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
It's April 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office catching up on paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy a beer, but Michael ASutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. More than two decades ago, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent newspaper story about her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial and could identify the killers if he sae them again. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the man. It's way more than a long shot, but he's persistent and willing to pay cash up front. Reluctantly, Kinsey agrees to give him one day of her time.

But it isn't long before she discovers Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his story true, or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Moving effortlessly between the 1980s and the 1960s, and changing points of view as Kinsey pursues witnesses whose accounts often clash, Grafton builds multiple subplots and creates memorable characters. Gradually, we come to see how everything connects in this twisting, complex, surprise-filled thriller. And as always, at the beating heart of her fiction is Kinsey Millhone, a sharp-tongued, observant loner who never forgets that under the thin veneer of civility is a roiling dark side to the soul.
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After a recent reference to a kidnapping triggers a flood of memories, unemployed college dropout Michael Sutton hires Kinsey Millhone to locate a four-year-old girl's remains and find the men who killed her.

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