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U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
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U is for Undertow

by Sue Grafton

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Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
This is one of my favorite books out of the Alphabet Series, hands down. Which isn't as big of a deal as it might have been, I don't harbor an enormous amount of fondness for this series (pretty much just enough to finish it out). However, I didn't feel like Millhone was as shallowly written as before and I think Grafton incorporated the mystery, Millhone's personal situation, and fleshing out the characters (both good and bad) with more aplomb than in prior books. I also found it very interesting for Grafton to include something that was so prevalent in the 80's, such as false memories coaxed out by therapists who really didn't seem to care about the damage they were wreaking for victims or for those that had not been victimized but couldn't cope emotionally or mentally with the false memories their "sessions" created. I think she did a good job of writing about something that was/is extremely controversial and the damage it can inflict on a family and on individual lives.

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  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
Review: U Is For Undertow by Sue Grafton.

In Sue Grafton’s last book she created new characters and she used them in this book which I think has given her a more of a creative side and a good story plot. For a while her novels were starting to get boring but now I think she is on a new writing trend. In this novel Grafton creates two different scenario’s decades apart which eventually intertwine and interconnect, plus a new concept arises with her new dysfunctional family.

The first event begins with the private investigator; Kinsey Millhone’s late 1980’s familiar setting of California’s coastal town, Santa Teresa. Kinsey takes on Michael Sutton as a client. He is a young man who remembers something from his childhood that he thought had something to do with a cold case-unsolved murder that was recently wrote about in the newspaper. When he read the story it brought him back to when he was six years old playing in the woods and he saw two men burring a large plastic bag in a deep hole. He was afraid and hid behind a tree until they were gone. Michael was only six at the time so he just forgot about the incident and years went by until an update came out on the cold case. Not knowing all the details Michael wants Kinsey to look into his past and see if what he saw was connected to the cold-case of a little girl’s murder.

Somehow, another episode in the sixties about a young man, Greg Unruh, who returns home, is connected to the 1980’s episode. Greg left college, met a girl, and they ventured out and about among the hippies of the sixties. It was around the summer of love and they lived in a bus traveling which, was home to them. One day unannounced they showed up at his parent’s house in Santa Teresa and parked the bus on the lawn and decided to stay awhile. So, home to them now was on Greg’s parent’s lawn living in the bus. Greg’s parents were not pleased, and did not care for his girlfriend, her seven year old son (father unknown), their smoking pot, and their other bad habits. His parents knew there was a motive for his coming home besides the fact they had no money and she was pregnant with Greg’s child….

Somehow these two episodes are related and Kinsey gets more frustrated as the days go by trying to connect the dots. Plus, in the meantime she has been given a bunch of letters that shows another whole side of her dysfunctional family. Will Kinsey finally accept her new family or will the letters keep her away….
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  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Kinsey investigates a mystery from 1967, the disappearance of a little girl. ( )
  laureyd | Mar 27, 2016 |
An understated mystery that meanders through several false starts on solving the mystery presented when an adult man remembers seeing two men digging in the woods when he was 6 years old and realizes that it was around that same time a young girl was kidnapped and never seen again. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jan 17, 2016 |
P.I. Kinsey Milhone is hired by Michael Sutton to investigate a blurry memory he has from when he was a 6 year old child over 20 years ago. While playing in the woods near a friend's house Michael came upon two men burying something wrapped in a tarp. When he spoke to the men they told him they were pirates and they were looking for treasure. Years later when Michael sees a newspaper article about an unsolved kidnapping of a little girl that happened during that same time frame he believes that he must have witnessed the men burying the child's body. After splicing together many pieces of information Kinsey and Michael manage to find the spot in the woods but when the area is excavated only the body of a dog is found. Kinsey is intrigued with the case now and won't stop until she finds out what really happened to the little girl.

The story is divided between 1967, the year of the crime, and Kinsey's time in 1988. All of the characters involved in the crime, guilty and innocent, are thoroughly fleshed-out and while there is never really any doubt as to who kidnapped the child it is Kinsey's intelligent handling of some extremely thin leads that make the story so enjoyable. Grafton has written another great 'alphabet murder' book in the Kinsey Milhone series.
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  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grafton, Sueprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaye, JudyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ordóñez, VictoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
ISBN 0399154485 is for T Is for Trespass
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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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