V Is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Series #22)

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Overview

A spiderweb of dangerous relationships lies at the heart of V is for Vengeance, Sue Grafton's daring new Kinsey Millhone novel.

A woman with a murky past who kills herself-or was it murder? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt who thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring working for the Mob, racking up millions from stolen goods. A wandering husband, rich and ruthless. A dirty cop so ...

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V Is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Series #22)

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Overview

A spiderweb of dangerous relationships lies at the heart of V is for Vengeance, Sue Grafton's daring new Kinsey Millhone novel.

A woman with a murky past who kills herself-or was it murder? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt who thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring working for the Mob, racking up millions from stolen goods. A wandering husband, rich and ruthless. A dirty cop so entrenched on the force he is immune to exposure. A sinister gangster, conscienceless and brutal. A lonely widower mourning the death of his lover, desperate for answers, which may be worse than the pain of his loss. A private detective, Kinsey Millhone, whose thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.

And an elegant and powerful businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the magus at the center of the web.

V: Victim. Violence. Vengeance.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The worst misconception about Kinsey Millhone mysteries is that you should begin reading them from the beginning of the alphabet. Exhibit "A" of that contention is the twenty-second and latest installment of Sue Grafton's resilient series. In V Is For..., poor Kinsey feels more like a victim than a victor. Any plans for her 38th birthday festivities are badly battered by an assault that leaves her with two black eyes and a misshapen nose. Even worse is the flood of new cases involving miscreants, adulterers, and a suicide that carries the unmistakable taint of murder. Fortunately, Millhone's midlife crisis is abated by good spirits and some very clever sleuthing. Too good to put off.

Marilyn Stasio
It's nice to see that Kinsey Millhone hasn't grown cynical (or, worse yet, mellowed) since she took on her initial case almost 30 years ago in Sue Grafton's first alphabet mystery.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
MWA Grand Master Grafton’s finely tuned 22nd Kinsey Millhone novel (after 2009’s U Is for Undertow) finds the sharp-witted California PI filled with remorse after the apparent suicide of Audrey Vance, a woman she helped arrest for shoplifting. When Audrey’s perplexed fiancé, Marvin Striker, hires Kinsey to further investigate her death, Kinsey’s astute and relentless prying opens a Pandora’s box. Was Audrey tied to major crime lords? Are these racketeers linked to corrupt cops? Kinsey’s prickly personality and tart tongue antagonize just about everyone, including Marvin, several loan sharks, a stone-cold killer, and a hapless burglar who knows more than is healthy for him. For good measure, Kinsey gets punched in the face on her 38th birthday. An engrossing subplot involves an illicit love affair that neatly dovetails into the main story. This being 1988, Kinsey relies on her Rolodex, file cards, and land line, but her intuition is her chief asset. Readers will wish her well on her feisty and independent way to the end of the alphabet. Author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Kinsey Millhone (U is for Undertow) doesn't look the other way when she sees trouble, so when she spots a woman shoplifting, she immediately informs store authorities. This sets off a chain of events, as the woman is soon found dead of an apparent suicide. Her fiancé doesn't believe she killed herself, and Kinsey's quest to find the truth puts her on the trail of a major shoplifting ring. Grafton's latest alphabetical mystery brings Kinsey into contact with a number of shady characters, from gangsters and gamblers to unhappy and unfaithful spouses. VERDICT Kinsey plays a smaller role in this story, which may not please some of her many fans, but Grafton's pioneering sleuth is as clever and witty as ever. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/11.]—Linda Oliver, Colorado Springs
Kirkus Reviews
Kinsey Millhone witnesses a shoplifter at work, to the considerable cost of them both. Kinsey is minding her own business, looking through a bin of sale underpants at Nordstrom, when she spots a woman loading her handbag with quite a bit of merchandise. Like a good citizen, she alerts the salesclerk, who just happens to be her friend Claudia Rines, and Claudia alerts security. All would be well if only Audrey Vance, the shoplifter, didn't smell trouble; if only she weren't working with an accomplice who tries to complete her escape by running down Kinsey in her Mercedes; and if Audrey, the day after she's arrested and bailed out, didn't turn up dead. Audrey's fiancé Marvin Striker, who's such a nice man that he can't believe his ladylove was shoplifting, let alone involved with a highly organized ring of thieves, hires Kinsey to find out why she might have killed herself. But a second plotline has already informed readers that Audrey was murdered at the behest of her criminal associate Cappi Dante. Meanwhile, in a third plotline, society wife Nora Vogelsang realizes that her husband Channing, an entertainment attorney, has been entertaining himself with another woman and plots..,not revenge exactly, but satisfaction. Grafton (U Is for Undertow, 2009, etc.) pays out all three lines with patient expertise and a sharp eye for homely details. But none of them catches fire until Kinsey runs afoul of Sgt. Det. Leonard Priddy, of the Santa Teresa Police Department, and then gets squeezed by likable ex-con Pinky Ford, who just can't stay on the straight and narrow. And when the three strands of the story finally come together, one of them doesn't seem to be pulling its weight. As always, Grafton is as original, absorbing and humane as ever. The joints just creak a bit this time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425250563
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Series: Kinsey Millhone Series , #22
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 58,763
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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
( 377 )
Rating Distribution

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(167)

4 Star

(102)

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(56)

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(34)

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(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 377 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Rate the book, not the nook!

    WE DON'T CARE THAT YOU THINK THE NOOK BOOKS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE! If that's the case, don't buy them. We're on here to find out about books...not nooks!

    62 out of 97 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Faithful Grafton Reader

    I have read them all beginning with "A is for Alibi," and enjoyed them. I agree with the reviewer who said we look to reviews to learn about books. However, I must weigh in here to say that I did not buy my Nook to get cheaper books. I bought mine because I love being able to carry around all of these books at one time. I never worry that I will finish a book and not have another to read. It is great in so many ways. So, if you want to pay a few cents more for a "real" book, do it. If you want the convenience of carrying around a virtual library in one e-book, get one. I LOVE MY NOOK COLOR!!

    38 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    really liked this book. different than the other books I've read, but great nonetheless.

    35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Aptly titled, the V Millhone thriller is an exhilarating tale

    On May 5 1988, Kinsey Millhone of Millhone Investigations in Santa Teresa turns thirty eight. However, her birthday turns ugly when a virtual stranger punches her in the nose. The assault leaves her shnoz broken (for the third time), her eyes looking like that of a raccoon, and a need for plastic surgery; thankfully paid by her health insurance.

    Financier Lorenzo Dante sends his goons to collect from deadbeat Phillip; they send him airborne for failing to pay a loan on time. Just before her battering, Kinsey is in Nordstrom when she notices a woman shoplifting. She informs security who busts the culprit. However, Kinsey failed to realize the thief had a partner until the other felon tried to run her over; she battered her leg avoiding a hit and run. Not long after coming home from Canada, Dante is shocked to learn that Audrey is dead after being caught shoplifting; his ambitious out of control goon Cappi killed her. Soon all this and other events will collide at Kinsey's nose.

    Aptly titled, the V Millhone thriller is an exhilarating tale as the heroine works several cases. The birthday driven story line is fast-paced with much more than just the above as all roads lead to and from Dante. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the protagonist takes a beating but keeps on ticking.

    Harriet Klausner

    29 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    Taking too long to get into it

    I have read each one of the alphabet series and evidently Sue Grafton has decided to become more verbose in her twilight years. I am 100 pages in and Kinsey (I would assume she is to be the main character still?) has yet to make much of an appearance. I still have no idea what the book is about or why I should care. Anytime the introduction contains far more description about trivial details than dialogue designed to engage the reader, it drags down the story. I'm hoping to make it through the whole book but it may take a while.

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommend

    Like all the Sue Grafton alphabet series, it keeps you entertained and in suspense. Characters are brought to life as the reader continues through the mystery.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 23, 2011

    The title speaks for itself!

    Vengeance indeed is sweeter when you come to watch it and that's what this book is all about. Two thumbs up! Characters are very dynamic and so is the plot

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another interesting outing with Kinsey Millhone!

    V is for Vengeance starts off with the story of a young man who meets a bad end at the hands of a loan shark and his brother. The book then moves to the present day of the book (1988) and starts off with Kinsey Millhone witnessing a shoplifting incident with two women. One gets caught and the other literally drives over Kinsey in the parking lot making her escape. Two days later, the woman who was arrested ends up dead in the same spot as the young man in the beginning of the book. Kinsey is hired by the man who was engaged to the dead woman to find out what really happened because he does not believe she committed suicide. Kinsey is soon involved in uncovering a ring of professional thieves, a police conspiracy, blackmail, and a man with interesting family connections known as ¿Dante¿. All the while she has an obnoxious reporter dogging her investigation and causing trouble. Also weaving through the book is the story of an unhappy wife named Nora, who realizes her husband is cheating and takes steps to protect herself. In the course of covering her bases financially, she meets Dante and begins an unlikely relationship with him. There is an interesting twist in the book that involves both of these people and ties into the modern day activities. One of the things I enjoy about this series is the fact that it is set in the 80¿s. Kinsey has to rely on research, hard work, and legwork to get her job done. She has no internet or cell phone to do work for her. I love it when she needs to get to a pay phone to call someone when she is out working on a case or making a carbon copy of something. I find myself thinking ¿If she only had a ¿¿¿¿ Kinsey is a solitary person who has very few real relationships in her life. She can only rely on herself this book reinforces that fact. Her ex-boyfriend Cheney is working with a cop who hates Kinsey so she feels cut off from one of her resources. Her neighbor and best friend Henry is gone to visit an ailing relative so Kinsey doesn¿t have him to run things by. She works and lives alone with the occasional acquaintance that comes into her life. Her solitary nature is a running theme through all 22 books in the series and I felt she was particularly alone in this book. It is a common theme for a male detective to be a ¿loner¿ but not so common for female sleuths. It is possible the lack of people distracting her contributes to her strong intuition about cases and her excellent observation skills. This book has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The continuity of the story from earlier books makes it enjoyable for long time readers but it can be enjoyed by a new reader as well. I wonder what we will all do when Ms. Grafton reaches the end of the alphabet!

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Clever and Enjoyable

    I've read all of the Kinsey Millhone books (in order) and this time the letter is V but it probably should be a double-V because the book is very, very good. Always entertaining, this twenty-two book series can be a bit inconsistent in quality. V, however, shows that Sue Grafton is at the top of her game with lots of separate threads for the reader to follow in addition to the main storyline. Also, Kinsey is thankfully spunkier and has more volition than she's had in some of Grafton's later books.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Not her best effort... and I have read them all.

    The thing I like about these books is that each is educational with respect to a different sort of crime - insurance scams, elder abuse, cold cases and in this particular case, high level shoplifting. However, I got very impatient with this book.

    Whether the editors wanted it 30 pages longer or Ms. Grafton just didn't have enough material, way way WAY too much of this book is useless description, i.e, I got in my car, I turned the key, I started down State Street, I turned left, I turned right, I got out, I knocked on the door, I DON'T CARE. I think Grafton described every strip mall in the Santa "Teresa" area. It got extremely frustrating - just get to the point already. Nobody cares how Kinsey got to the mall.

    It would have been more interesting to pursue the Nora/Chandler/Thelma repercussions after Nora's "robbery" of her own closet. Anything but the endless to and from that wastes too many pages of an otherwise interesting read.

    I will keep buying the books because I've come this far and there's no turning back but I hope the next one seems a little more like true detective fiction and a lot less like a chore to write.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    "V" is not for me.

    Sorry, but I really did not enjoy this new format. Bouncing around to all those assorted characters story lines felt like reading a Jackie Collins novel. The detail on banal subjects was snooze material -- had to flip through all those pages detailing the shop lifting. Ugh. Bring back the hard boiled Kinsey focus I love without the excess baggage.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    slow start

    I have read all of the letter series but this one was slow and hard to read for the first half, almost put it down. Ended good.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Disappointed

    I've read and loved this entire series, but I was disappointed in this one. Not her best.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Best Kinsey Millhone book yet

    I loved this book. This is my very favorite Kinsey Thank you Sue Grafton! Great characters, great plot, all the story lines tie in and fit together so well. I especially liked Dante. The end of the book is perfect.
    I am sad now though, two more years until the next book. I will really miss Kinsey. Not to mention we are getting very close to Z.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Worse of Alphabet Series

    If there was half a star I would have used it, this is the most boring, awful book of the series. I loved every other book but was very disappointed by this one. Sorry I bought it waste of money, found myself skipping pages which I have never done reading a book before.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    Another Great Mystery!

    I love Sue Grafton's character Kinsey, I have read every single alphabet mystery. I also like the detail she includes in her stories. She continues to write interesting plots. I just wish there were more than 26 letters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Not that great

    I'm not sure what I didn't particularly like or dislike about this book. I liked the beginning of the alphabet books better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    worth every time spent

    V for victory perhaps? This book surely tickled my fancy in every way. A must read and an interesting story for all of you who wants a tinge of mystery in every way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

    LOVE this series!! Can't wait until W comes out now! Thanks to my friend Christie who got me hooked on these books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    My best book i have ever read

    I it was a very good beginning andto emosional for me i almosr cried!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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