U Is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Series #21)

U Is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Series #21)

by Sue Grafton
3.9 628


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U Is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Series #21) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 628 reviews.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
I agree with several of the reviewers who feel this is not her best work. This different format is very similar to the one used in S is for Silence. She once again goes back and forth from the 1960's to 1988. The books main focus is on the characters involved in the crime. Kinsey as well as our other favorites - Henry, Rosie, etc had become bit-players in the story. Her earlier stories had more of a shock factor with a surprise ending. The earlier books in the series left you guessing who the killer was. In U is for undertow, it was clear early on who did it. Got rather boring. I missed the old format which really focused on Kinsey herself as the edgy, quirky PI. One good point - this book gives us more insight into Kinsey's childhood and the relationship, or lack thereof, with her grandmother, aunts, etc. during those years after her parents died. Overall, still a great series. Well edited. This one just wasn't one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Neil_Collins More than 1 year ago
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.
kitnt More than 1 year ago
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!
Salgal More than 1 year ago
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?
RicoNC More than 1 year ago
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.
Maximillian More than 1 year ago
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.
Aloyisius More than 1 year ago
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.
PAA More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bucmjt More than 1 year ago
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton will go down as one of my favorites in the Kinsey Millhone mysteries. I love how Kinsey has grown and developed. And her shooting skills are coming together just fine. The ending on this one was more personal than usual, so I am hopeful about the future issues. Too bad about Cheney, though.
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HaveninFla More than 1 year ago
Another great hit from Grafton. She's a gift to the mystery lover.
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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.