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U Is for Undertow

by Sue Grafton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kinsey Millhone (21)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9211203,590 (3.82)109
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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» See also 109 mentions

English (117)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
Hand me down from my mother. 4 stars because it was a nice trip down a familiar rabbit hole. So canny of her to set her series in the 80s, pre cell phone and internet. The smallness of Kinsey's world comes from her control issues but it also pleases me as a reader. The book includes events leading up to a crime committed in the late 60s. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
I thought the story line was rather weak. I do like Kinsey's character though. ( )
  Jeff_Simms | Jun 9, 2021 |
These books are getting better, which is SO good as series can get tired. I think the fresh scenarios really help, as the cases don’t follow the same pattern each time. ( )
  Vividrogers | Dec 20, 2020 |
Although it makes me sad that I'm getting to the end of this series, I have to say it's been an enjoyable ride. I first read "A is for Alibi" when it initially came out, and I think along the way I've missed only a couple. I think that over time Grafton has moved into more complex plots and storytelling styles, but she has never lost Kinsey's voice. This plot is twisty and satisfying, although the final encounter seems to happen a bit quickly when it comes. Still a must-read for Grafton fans. ( )
  sdramsey | Dec 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grafton, SueAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaye, JudyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ordóñe… VictoriaTranslatorsecondary 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
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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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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