J Is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone Series #10)

( 61 )

Overview

The next in the series by bestselling author Sue Grafton.

 

"J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

"In truth, the facts about Wendell Jaffe had nothing to do with my family history, but murder is seldom tidy and no one ever said revelations operate in a straight line. It was my investigation into the dead man's ...

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Overview

The next in the series by bestselling author Sue Grafton.

 

"J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

"In truth, the facts about Wendell Jaffe had nothing to do with my family history, but murder is seldom tidy and no one ever said revelations operate in a straight line. It was my investigation into the dead man's past that triggered the inquiry into my own, and in the end the two stories became difficult to separate."

Five years ago, when Jaffe's thirty-five-foot Fuji ketch was found drifting off the Baja coast, it seemed a sure thing he'd gone overboard. The note he left behind admitted he was flat broke, his business bankrupt, his real estate gambit nothing but a huge Ponzi scheme about to collapse, with criminal indictment certain to follow. When the authorities soon after descended on his banks and his books, there was nothing left: Jaffe had stripped the lot.

"Given my insatiable curiosity and my natural inclination to poke my nose in where it doesn't belong, it was odd to realize how little attention I'd paid to my own past. I'd simply accepted what I was told, constructing my personal mythology on the flimsiest of facts."

But Jaffe wasn't quite without assets. There was the $500,000 life insurance policy made out to his wife and underwritten by California Fidelity. With no corpse to prove death, however, the insurance company was in no hurry to pay the claim. Dana Jaffe had to wait out the statutory five years until her missing husband could be declared legally dead. Just two months before Wendell Jaffe was sighted in that dusty resort bar, California Fidelity finally paid in full. Now they wanted the truth. And they were willing to hire Kinsey Millhone to dig it up.

As Kinsey pushes deeper into the mystery surrounding Wendell Jaffe's pseudocide, she explores her own past, discovering that in family matters as in crime, sometimes it's better to reserve judgment.

"J" is for judgment: the kind we're quick to make and often quicker to regret.

"J" Is for Judgment: Kinsey Millhone's tenth excursion into the dark places of the heart where duplicity is the governing rule and murder the too-frequent result.

An insurance company hires Kinsey to prove that a dead man whose benefactors received one million dollars five years ago is really alive and kicking. 2 cassettes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Book for book, this may be the most satisfying mystery series going." —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"Grafton is setting a standard that is going to prove difficult for others in her crowded field to match, let alone surpass." —Lorenzo Carcaterra, People

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her 10th alphabet adventure, southern California PI Kinsey Milhone is working again for California Fidelity, navigating her way through a plot-driven tale that will remind readers of her earliest appearances, despite Grafton's deft introduction of new material. Shady financier Wendell Jaffe has recently been decreed dead, five years after his real estate empire collapsed and he disappeared from his beloved 35-foot ketch off the coast, an apparent suicide. California Fidelity has just paid his widow $500,000. But then Jaffe is spotted in Mexico with another woman. Kinsey's investigation lands her in some tough spots--such as a drunken stranger's hotel room where she pretends to be a hooker--gets her shot at and leads to a dramatic resolution at sea. It also introduces her to a genealogist who requires Kinsey to revise her notion of herself as an orphan alone in the world. While maintaining full control of her plot's variously colored threads, many of which are tied to Jaffe's family (his 18-year-old son is on the lam from a murder charge), Grafton cameos such familiar characters as Kinsey's octogenarian landlord Henry, his older brother William, and Rose, the neighborhood bar owner. But the spotlight remains on Kinsey who, without a love interest to distract her, sticks to the case at hand and tries, with limited success, to assimilate the existence of a not too distant family, whom readers will likely learn more of in ``K.'' 500,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
Private investigator Kinsey Millhone, the author's tough, tenacious, California-based heroine, has taken on a freelance job for her ex-employer, California Fidelity Insurance. One of their agents, on vacation in a small Mexican hotel, is sure he recognized Wendell Jaffe, a hotshot businessman who'd vanished from his boat at sea years before, leaving behind a suicide note, a clutch of cheated investors, a penniless wife, two young sons, and a partner, Carl Eckert, who wound up in jail. Five years later, just a few months ago, with Jaffe now officially dead, wife Dana had collected a half million from Fidelity. They'd like it back.... Kinsey flies to Mexico and finds her quarry, who's now living with a woman named Renata and is calling himself Dean DeWitt Huff—and who disappears again almost at once. Kinsey's certain the recent widely reported criminal acts of his son Brian have pulled Jaffe back to the US. In California, Kinsey's on the trail again—talking to Dana, to Carl Eckert, now out of jail, to police detectives involved in the original investigation, and to Renata, who, it turns out, owns a waterfront house near Kinsey's home base of Santa Teresa. Even as she chases clues in the present, chunks of Kinsey's own family history intrude, threatening her hard-won loner persona. Jaffe surfaces for the last time in the slightly hokey finale. A tangled, rambling story that's constantly in motion but generates little passion, heat, or tension. Solidly readable but minus the compelling edge of Grafton's best. (First printing of 500,000; Literary Guild Triple Selection for July)
From the Publisher
PHENOMENAL PRAISE FOR THE MYSTERY NOVELS OF #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR SUE GRAFTON

“Exceptionally entertaining…an offbeat sense of humor and a feisty sense of justice.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Millhone is an engaging detective-for-hire…P.I. Kinsey Millhone and her creator…are arguably the best of [the] distaff invaders of the hitherto sacrosanct turf of gumshoes.”—The Buffalo News

“Once a fan reads one of Grafton’s alphabetically titled detective novels, he or she will not rest until all the others are found.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Millhone is a refreshingly strong and resourceful female private eye.”—Library Journal

“Tough but compassionate…There is no one better than Kinsey Millhone.”—Best Sellers

“A woman we feel we know, a tough cookie with a soft center, a gregarious loner.”—Newsweek

“Lord, how I like this Kinsey Millhone…The best detective fiction I have read in years.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Smart, tough, and thorough…Kinsey Millhone is a pleasure.”—The Bloomsbury Review

“Kinsey is one of the most persuasive of the new female operatives…She’s refreshingly free of gender clichés. Grafton, who is a very witty writer, has also given her sleuth a nice sense of humor—and a set of Wonder Woman sheets to prove it.”—Boston Herald

“What grandpa used to call a class act.”—Stanley Ellin

“Smart, sexual, likable and a very modern operator.”—Dorothy Salisbury Davis

“Kinsey’s got brains and a sense of humor.”—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250035820
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Series: Kinsey Millhone Series , #10
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 386,629
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Grafton entered the mystery field in 1982 with the publication of 'A' Is for Alibi, which introduced female hard-boiled private investigator, Kinsey Millhone, operating out of the fictional town of Santa Teresa, (aka Santa Barbara) California. 'B' is for Burglar followed in l985 and the series, now referred to as 'the alphabet’ mysteries, is still going strong. In addition to her books, she’s published several Kinsey Millhone short stories, and with her husband, Steven Humphrey, has written numerous movies for television, including “A Killer in the Family” (starring Robert Mitchum), “Love on the Run” (starring Alec Baldwin and Stephanie Zimbalist) and two Agatha Christie adaptations, “Sparkling Cyanide” and “Caribbean Mystery,” which starred Helen Hayes. Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine. Sue has a home in Montecito, California, and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised.

Biography

Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages -- including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. She's an international bestseller with a readership in the millions. She's a writer who believes in the form that she has chosen to mine: "The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law," she has said, "but people do get their just desserts." And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker and the John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—she has earned new respect for that form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents.

But who is the real Sue Grafton? Many of her readers think she is simply a version of her character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone. Here are Kinsey's own words in the early pages of N Is for Noose:

"So there I was barreling down the highway in search of employment and not at all fussy about what kind of work I'd take. I wanted distraction. I wanted some money, escape, anything to keep my mind off the subject of Robert Deitz. I'm not good at good-byes. I've suffered way too many in my day and I don't like the sensation. On the other hand, I'm not that good at relationships. Get close to someone and the next thing you know, you've given them the power to wound, betray, irritate, abandon you, or bore you senseless. My general policy is to keep my distance, thus avoiding a lot of unruly emotion. In psychiatric circles, there are names for people like me."

Those are sentiments that hit home for Grafton's readers. And she has said that Kinsey is herself, only younger, smarter, and thinner. But are they an apt description of Kinsey's creator? Well, she's been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She has three kids and two grandkids. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone. So: readers and reviewers beware. Never assume the author is the character in the book. Sue, who has a home in Montecito, California ("Santa Theresa") and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised, is only in her imagination Kinsey Millhone -- but what a splendid imagination it is.

Biography from author website

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    1. Hometown:
      Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 24, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Louisville, 1961
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    J is for Judgement

    As like all the books in this series it was great! I like that Kinsey was able to discover more about herself in the process of solving the mystery. I liked the twist at the end and for once Kinsey is not fighting for her life because she got too close. A good story with a slight open ended finish bring on "K".

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Addicting series

    As you read these books you will find them hard to put down and will look forward to the next

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2014

    Well, after reading ten of them, I'm reasonably certain that Sue

    Well, after reading ten of them, I'm reasonably certain that Sue Grafton does not know how to write a bad book.  I feel a bit repetitive, but J is for Judgment is terrific.  Well written, strong characters, emotional roller coasters, suspense and mystery.  Such a great detective series.  Kinsey is fantastic, and I love seeing her adapt and grow.  I also love the lack of technology and how she always makes it work for her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Great book!

    This is a good read. I love Sue Grafton.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 28, 2013

    Some Big Surprises!

    Kinsey has some real personal surprises in store for her. Great book; I recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Anonymous

    I liked this one more than most. My preference is fewer but well-defined characters. This fit the bill. Interesting twists. I've just finished " K is for Killer," which I found lacking.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    One of my favorites in this series

    I really liked this one. It kept me guessing until the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2011

    Pretty good

    Altho some people think this was one of her best, i didnt think so. It was ok but some of the others are better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Klk.

    ? J

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It wasn't bad, kind of slow in parts but not bad.

    "J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

    "In truth, the facts about Wendell Jaffe had nothing to do with my family history, but murder is seldom tidy and no one ever said revelations operate in a straight line. It was my investigation into the dead man's past that triggered the inquiry into my own, and in the end the two stories became difficult to separate."

    Five years ago, when Jaffe's thirty-five-foot Fuji ketch was found drifting off the Baja coast, it seemed a sure thing he'd gone overboard. The note he left behind admitted he was flat broke, his business bankrupt, his real estate gambit nothing but a huge Ponzi scheme about to collapse, with criminal indictment certain to follow. When the authorities soon after descended on his banks and his books, there was nothing left: Jaffe had stripped the lot.

    "Given my insatiable curiosity and my natural inclination to poke my nose in where it doesn't belong, it was odd to realize how little attention I'd paid to my own past. I'd simply accepted what I was told, constructing my personal mythology on the flimsiest of facts."

    But Jaffe wasn't quite without assets. There was the $500,000 life insurance policy made out to his wife and underwritten by California Fidelity. With no corpse to prove death, however, the insurance company was in no hurry to pay the claim. Dana Jaffe had to wait out the statutory five years until her missing husband could be declared legally dead. Just two months before Wendell Jaffe was sighted in that dusty resort bar, California Fidelity finally paid in full. Now they wanted the truth. And they were willing to hire Kinsey Millhone to dig it up.

    As Kinsey pushes deeper into the mystery surrounding Wendell Jaffe's pseudocide, she explores her own past, discovering that in family matters as in crime, sometimes it's better to reserve judgment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Best in series--so far!!!!

    I have been reading this series in order and enjoying all of them to varying degrees. This installment is not the most suspensful, but it is an engaging story with well-balanced characters and lots of surprises. I you don't plan to read the entire series, be sure to read this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2011

    WOW Grafton does it once again!!

    ALL her books have been excellent in my opinion -- she just seems to get better. Lets hope she doesn't quit with Z. If you have never read a Grafton just pick one -- you will then go in search of all the others -- trust me on this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2001

    'J IS FOR JUST FAIR'

    I don't understand how I can like some of this series so much and then dislike some of them so much. I really liked 'I' but I had to make myself even finish 'J'. I already have 'K' bought so guess I will read it. In 'J' Kinsey is hired to find a Wendell Jaffe. He was supposed to have died five years ago but has been spotted. The insurance company that paid out half a million dollars in money to his widow wants him found. Kinsey does find him and gets involved will all his family, wife, kids, and grandkids. Kinsey ends up loosing him and has to look for him again. Along the way she finds some cousins of her own she did not know she had. I don't think she is really to happy about that. I may have read to many of this series. They seem to all be about the same now. Grafton has done better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2000

    GOOD

    'J' is for Judgement was good. I've read A-J already and just started 'K' is for Killer. Grafton knows how to keep you in suspense. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of these books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 23, 2014

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    Posted October 17, 2011

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    Posted August 9, 2011

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    Posted July 10, 2011

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    Posted February 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

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