S is for Silence by Sue Grafton – Book Review (+ Exclusive V is for Vengeance Excerpt!)

S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin
It has been 34 years since Daisy Sullivan last saw her mother. Violet walked out of the house on the 4th of July, and neither she nor her fancy new car were ever seen again. For her entire life, Daisy waited, sure her mother will either come back, or contact her. Now, able to stand it no longer, she is hiring Kinsey Millhone to track Violet down.

This was my first ever Sue Grafton book (feel free to gasp in surprise). I lucked out in getting S: Is for Silence, because in S Kinsey is a bit out of her geographic comfort zone. The majority of the action takes place in the small rural town where Daisy Sullivan grew up and still lives, and half of it even takes place in the past, the week or so before Violet’s disappearance. Since Kinsey lives in the 1980s, she isn’t exactly speaking to Cheney on her cell phone. In fact, Cheney’s role is almost nonexistent, he is mentioned only enough that I know there is something going on between them, and if I hadn’t read Nicole’s review of R is for Ricochet I wouldn’t even have known what that something is. This general lack of Kinsey’s personal life means that I, as a new reader, wasn’t confused about Kinsey’s past or relationships, but could just enjoy her story.

Why yes, I did mention a few sentences ago that the ‘present’ of S is for Silence is the 1980s. I must admit, that really, really threw me, considering the book was published in 2005. I get that Grafton began writing her series in the early 1980s, but it definitely threw me that time in Kinsey’s world moves so much slower than it does in ours. I think I was expecting it to be more like Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series which started around the same time, the most recent of which, Body Work, was set in the present. Although it pulled me out of the story a few times, though, the setting of the story in the 1980s was no hindrance, and there were several scenes that worked much better not having to explain why someone was unable to make a cell phone call (although Kinsey lugging her typewriter around still weirded me out).

As a heroine, Kinsey is smart, tough, and a lot of fun. I can definitely see why people enjoy Grafton’s ‘Alphabet Series.’

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