U is for Undertow [NOOK Book]

Overview

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Even more so when Kinsey Millhone's only lead is a grown man dredging up a repressed childhood memory-of something that may never have happened...


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U is for Undertow

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Overview

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Even more so when Kinsey Millhone's only lead is a grown man dredging up a repressed childhood memory-of something that may never have happened...


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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Makes me wish there were more than 26 letters at her disposal."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101151617
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Series: Kinsey Millhone Series , #21
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 7,758
  • File size: 816 KB

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages—including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Books in her alphabet series, begun in 1982, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. And like Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker, and John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—Sue Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery 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.


Sue divides her time between Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. She has three children and two grandchildren. Grafton has been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine.

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
( 619 )
Rating Distribution

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(232)

4 Star

(186)

3 Star

(114)

2 Star

(49)

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(38)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 622 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    U is for Undertow is one of Sue's Best!!

    U is for Undertow is Sue Grafton's 21st adventure starring the unsinkable Kinsey Millhone and it's one of her best. In this chapter of Kinsey's life and career she's faced with a 21year old unsolved crime that seems to lead to nothing but dead ends. And she's facing a family reunion with her long estranged family.
    Sue Grafton is an amazing storyteller and mystery writer and it definitely shows in this dramatic and nail biting page-turner. She keeps us up to date on all our favorite returning characters and introduces us to a supporting cast of many, some of which are solid citizens but many who are not and all are eclectic in their relationship to each other. Her dialogue in unmistakably hers, but in this volume it just flows better than I've seen for a while. Her story line/plot is as always interesting and exciting and I like how she incorporates past events with what's happening now. And now just happens to be 1988. I sometimes have a hard time reading contemporary fiction that's set in the near past, without today's technology it seems somehow jaded, but I have no problems of that sort with this series. In fact what it does is make me scratch my head and wonder what we did before cell phones and high speed internet access. The mystery is quite a puzzle and who better to solve it than our own Kinsey Millhone with her unique and always moral attitude toward crime and her profession. And in this episode she seems much more content with herself then in some of the previous reads.
    You cannot go wrong with this novel, it's all that you remember about Kinsey and better. If you enjoy a great mystery especially with a strong woman heroine who knows what she wants and who she is then you'll love this book. If you just love a great who done it then look no farther. If you're a lover of crime or PI fiction this fills the bill. I guarantee this will satisfy any lover of mystery or just great fiction. If this is your first foray into the series it does fine as a stand-a-lone, but you'd be missing out on a great deal of information and finding out what makes Kinsey tick. My suggestion is after you finish reading this, go back and start with A is for Alibi.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    his is a terrific Millhone investigative tale

    In 1988 private investigator Kinsey Millhone reluctantly agrees to look into the claims of Michael Sutton. He insists he has regained a suppressed childhood memory of observing several men bury a package soon after four-year-old Mary Claire Fitzhugh vanished without a trace in 1972. She agrees to work the case one day at a time with her reevaluating at the end of each day whether the request is legitimate for her to continue searching for who killed Mary Claire Fitzhugh.

    Millhone learns her her newest client is unreliable as he has told fabrications often times before and was only six years old at the time of the incident he claims to have witnessed. Still she accepts he believes what he said is true so she must connect the dots of his rambling convoluted account and look at the scene where he claims the corpse is buried.

    This is a terrific Millhone investigative tale that brings alive the end of the Reagan Era while also providing a historiographical look at the Nixon period. The story line deftly rotates perspectives enhancing what the readers know that the sleuth has yet to learn. With Millhone at her best and the support cast tremendous, fans will relish U is for undeniably super.

    Harriet Klausner

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Not Her Best Work

    I agree that this isn't Sue's best work. I too missed the Kinsey of earlier books and really struggled to complete this one.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Ebook

    I downloaded this book from the library ebooks. Get a ebook library card and download ebooks into your nook for free

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Different!

    I have been a fan of Sue Grafton for years and have read all of the Kinsey Millhone series to date. This book was unusual in its format, and my feelings were mixed. The "good" was that I enjoyed the focus on the array of characters, with each section dealing with a particular one--most were interesting and intriguing. The "bad" was that I missed Kinsey herself, whom I've come to think of as a real person. She was relegated to the role of minor character or, at best, part of an ensemble. And she seemed older, more staid and businesslike. I missed the edgier and sexier Kinsey. While I realize Ms. Grafton might be a tad bored with the series by this time, I hope she'll resurrect the Kinsey of yore in her next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    U is for undertow

    This was not my favorite Kinsey mystery, but still written really well. There was a part on the background of Kinsey's Aunt Gin which furthered the Kinsey history and the bad guys were not as fierce. There was one character Grafton wanted you to hate who was very vulger. Other then that the mystery fell into place by the criminals own guilt.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Well-crafted tale

    I have read all of the alphabet mysteries (up to U) and think that Ms. Grafton is getting better and better. There were some in the middle of the alphabet that I thought were a bit contrived. I especially like how she wove all the characters into a complicated story this time. I would recommend "U" to mystery lovers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Always enjoy Grafton

    Sue Grafton continues to keep me entertained with her writings. I've never been disapointed.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Really Enjoyed It

    I've only read one or two in the 'alphabet' series and that was a while ago. That said, I had no trouble following the character or the story. The only problem I had was letting other things slide because I couldn't put this book down. I liked the way author told the story. The main character, the detective, tells her story in the first person. The 'flashbacks,' if you can call them that, are told by other characters in the third person. It sounds crazy but it works. The past comes alive, every character plays his part and the reader becomes the detective, collecting all these stories and trying to make them fit. The plot is complex but every plate that went up in the air came down safely. There were no loose ends, no unanswered questions and you still got a surprise on almost every page. I just loved it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Never a let down

    Every time I read one of Sue Grafton's books I leave off feeling good. This book is funny and relatable. Even though there are very bad people committing murder and mayhem in this book; you also have very funny moments of laugh-out-loud humor. I didn't think this book as interesting as her book S is for Silence which had a similar theme of retrospective seen through different characters eyes, but I did like it. I think the writing is simple and quick and Kinsey Milhone is a very likable main character.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Recomended for Grafton fans, but not the best Kinsey Millhone book to date...

    One of the most awful things about falling in love with a series author is that once you read all the existing one's you have to wait for them to write another! That's been the case for Sue Grafton and her alphabet series. And here we are at "U", the 21st Kinsey Millhone mystery.

    I do have to lament though, that of all, "U" is just not up to the standard set by the preceding 20 books. It's good, don't get me wrong, but the level of excitement and intrigue just never build the way they have before. The case is only moderately interesting, lacking build and impact, and the climax left me wanting. Another issue I had difficulty with is something I am seeing more and more from various writers, with varying levels of success. That is, switching back and forth between telling the story in first person and then going to a third person telling to reveal what the main character could not know from their own point of view.

    I do see that this particular story needs the back-story in order to let the reader understand it, but the ever expanding cast of characters left me confused and needing a road map. Add to that the fact that much of the back tale takes place 20+ years in the past, and it just left me spinning trying to keep up.

    I suppose that, had the story been more engrossing, or the history been learned through Kinsey's detective work, I would have been able to overlook, or even embrace the style. In the end though, I did like the story, but felt a little let down.

    In Grafton's defense though, she has written 20 outstanding Kinsey Millhone novels over more than two decades. I really do appreciate the loyalty she has shown to her characters and their lives. "U" takes place in 1988, because the stories do follow closely one after the other. Kinsey has aged only a few years, despite the passing of time for us in reader land. As a result, Grafton must tell the stories without the gadgets and trinkets that life in 2010 requires for mere existence. There are no cell phones, personal computers, internet, DVR's, caller ID, etc. She never wavers from the fact that they aren't yet invented; I dare you to try imagining such a day to day world, let alone writing detailed novels about that time.

    I do recommend U is for Undertow to Grafton fans, but caution that the preceding books are better. If you've never read Sue Grafton, the only way to do it is to start with "A" and enjoy watching her world unfold.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    What would I do without Sue Grafton and Kinsey Milhone?

    I'll admit it - I'm addicted to Sue Grafton. Her books have taken me away from daily life for many years. I've read all of her books at least 3 times and I look forward to each new publication. I've tried to find a character I like as well as Kinsey Milhone, and it's impossible. I'm not sure what I'll do when the alphabet series stops - maybe just reread them all again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Her Best

    I was disappointed in this one. Ms. Grafton didn't really build any suspense. The plot just trickled along and I didn't really like any of the characters. Nothing much in this one. Is she running out of plot lines?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Losing the Spark

    I love the Kinsey Milhone series, but the stories seem to be losing their spark lately. As usual, the main character is always adorable and interesting with all of her flaws and quirks. The author also has a knack for creating a host of fascinating and believable supporting characters that come together for an interesting story. This one seems to move extremely slowly though, similar to the last two or three in the series. There is way too much backstory and flashback. It is best to read fast and skip all of that. You will still enjoy the plot and won't miss a thing. Those who like a good P.I. story may enjoy the earlier ones in the series much better. They are more exciting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I thoughy the characters were god.

    The plot was okay I Like, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson books better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good, with reservations

    I also have followed the series and enjoy the writing and the personality of Kinsey Millhone. This story was worth reading, but I agree with some revieweres that the ending was somewhat unsatisfactory. That being said, it was a good read during our cold wnter weather.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2010

    Enjoyable but want more excitement

    I have read all of the books in the series and it was fun to continue to round out Kinsey's past in this one. I like how Sue Grafton wound the plot of the book, family relationships and how they affect your choices throughout your life, along with Kinsey's own twisted family history. The one thing I would like to see is a bit more of a nail biting ending - the endings used to keep you in suspense but now it's just a way to wrap up loose ends and move on to the next letter. However, I still have to say that if you like the series, you will enjoy this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Details, Details....

    The book was a good read, but when I'm reading a book by an author where the story supposedly takes place in the 80's, it just really bugs me when there are references made to things that were not even in place in the 80's. The best example is the references to the CA sex offender registry, which wasn't even in place until the late 90's.

    I know this is nitpicky & I can see how it would be an easy mistake to make, because the books are set in a time period 20 years in the past and we've come a long way since then, but it's just annoying....I say either get every 80's fact straight or move the storyline to a more current time period.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    Disappointing

    I have read every book Sue Grafton has written and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I am still struggling to get through this book. It is slow and cumbersome and not up to Grafton's usual ability to catch one's interest and keep you captivated. Perhaps she is trying a new writting style?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    I have read all of this series and really enjoyed it, until she

    I have read all of this series and really enjoyed it, until she changed to a split story line. It is very difficult to follow and keep up with.

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