O is for Outlaw

Grafton just has the mystery/crime novel wired in at this point (this point being 1999, when the book was published). Just trust me. Start at “A” and bang through ’em. You may have to give them time, but once you get into them, they never disappoint.

The enjoyment level disparity between a mystery/crime thriller and an international intrigue/espionage thriller has never been greater for me. It seems like so long ago when I used to buy the new Tom Clancy in hardcover the day it came out. Those days are long gone and I’ve really turned my attention the last few years to the crime novel.

I noticed a few newish things happening with main character Kinsey Millhone. First of all, Kinsey’s love for McDonald’s is bordering on an obsession. I think there were three occasions in this book where Kinsey had a QP (Quarter Pounder) with cheese, fries, and a Coke. This is somewhat odd to me because I would think the Santa Theresa (Santa Barbara) dweller would have more of a love for In-n-Out Burger. But keep in mind that this book is set in 1986, so maybe they didn’t have those back then.

Also newish is Kinsey’s interest in weight training. I’m betting that Grafton herself just discovered weights and probably decided to write it into this book. If you look on Grafton’s website you can see from the office photo tour that she has a serious weight room with plenty of machines specifically sized for women. This dynamic of author and main character mimicking one another is really fascinating to me.

Finally, each novel appears to be showing a more profane Kinsey and slightly more graphic violence. Kinsey is freer with the f-bomb and really getting in touch with her edgy side. And (PLOT KILLER) in the end the villain actually gets decapitated in a bizarre incident with front-loader.

This novel has Kinsey working on her own behalf by following up on the shooting of her ex-husband. The mystery is solid and the action is tight. The woman is a master of her craft. A master I tell you.