Saturday, December 6, 2008

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

I is for Innocent

I is for Innocent
by Sue Grafton

Mass Market Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Fawcett Crest
First Released: 1992

Source: Bought from library book sale

Back Cover Blurb:
Since she was fired by California Fidelity Insurance, Kinsey Millhone has lost her usual swagger. And her new case is no confidence builder. Attorney Lonnie Kingman is going to court on a civil suit in three weeks when his P.I. drops dead of a heart attack. With the statue of limitations running out, Kinsey has to tie up the loose ends of a murder investigation. The victim, an affluent artist named Isabelle Barney, had been shot with a .38; her husband, David Barney, was tried and acquitted of the murder. Now her ex-husband is suing Barney for Isabelle's estate, claiming the jury made a big mistake.

Thins get complicated when Barney gets to Kinsey, insisting he's innocent. Everything he says checks out. But if David Barney is innocent, who's guilty? In trying to learn who's been getting away with murder, Kinsey may be courting her own...

This is a "hard-boiled PI" detective mystery. The focus is mainly on solving the mystery, and the answer to the mystery was clever.

Kinsey is the point-of-view character. She has a temper that sometimes gets her into trouble, a penchant for not playing by the rules, and a sometimes crude vocabulary. In this novel, she does pretty much stick to doing things by the book, doesn't curse, and don't jump in bed with anyone, but I get the feeling she might do any of those things in the other books.

While the characters were all interesting, I didn't particularly like any of them. I didn't mind spending a lot of time in Kinsey's head, but she also wasn't the type of character that I wished was a real person I could be best buddies with. Other readers might really bond with Kinsey, though.

The pacing and the suspense were good. The world-building was very good (and it's clear the author really knows the streets in that city). Overall, I'm not sure I would call this novel 'clean,' but it was good fun.

Excerpt: Chapter One
I feel compelled to report that at the moment of death, my entire life did not pass before my eyes in a flash. There was no beckoning white light at the end of a tunnel, no warm fuzzy feeling that my long-departed loved one were waiting on The Other Side. What I experienced was a little voice piping up in an outraged tone, "Oh, come on. You're not serious. This is really it?" Mostly, I regretted I hadn't tidied my chest of drawers the night before as I'd planned. It's painful to realize that those who mourn your untimely demise will also carry with them the indelible image of all your tatty underpants. You might question the validity of the observation since it's obvious I didn't die when I thought I would, but let's face it, life is trivial, and my guess is that dying imparts very little wisdom to those in process.

My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a licensed private investigator operating out of Santa Teresa, which is ninety-five miles north of Los Angeles. For the past seven years, I'd been running my own small agency adjacent to the home offices of California Fidelity Insurance.

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