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on 5 April 2015
I really like Sue Grafton and have read all the Kinsey Millhone books up to this one but she seems to have changed the format. Instead of being written entirely from the private investigator's point of view the story is interspersed with third person narrative involving other characters. I'm not so keen on this as I lik to have Kinsey's "take" on things throughout the story.
I seem to recall she did this in a previous episode then went back to her usual style.
However, it is still a good read.
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on 22 March 2017
excellent book as usual
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on 14 March 2017
vintage Grafton
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on 25 May 2017
Another fantastic storyline from a wonderfully talented lady what more can I say I'm rearing to go on Kinseys next adventure. Love you Sue Grafton your Ace xx
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on 12 April 2014
I have read all of Grafton's 'alphabet' novels and have enjoyed every single one. They are both engaging and funny.
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on 15 May 2017
Good story
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on 18 February 2012
It's a long wait for Sue Grafton's next alphabet books to be published, but the wait for V for Vengeance has been well worth it. Her main character, Kinsey, is back on form with a new assignment but with various twists and turns throughout. Sue Grafton also doesn't disappoint with the usual interplay of the usual characters which play a large part of her life. V for Vengeance hooked me from the beginning and kept this up until the very last page. I can't wait for W for ???
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on 10 February 2012
I'm not going to go on and on about this novel. If you've read Sue Grafton's series, you already know it's wonderful - and by that I mean, a difficult-to-produce combination of mystery and literary thinkpiece. NOT of the navel-gazing variety, but of the scrabbly-underside-of-humankind-revealed variety.
Grafton's character studies, which are such an integral part of her writing, are spot on.
Example in V is for Vengeance: in my hardback edition, pages 133 and 134 and their immediate surroundings, there's a description of one of the houses in a marriage that stands in and for the marriage itself. This is done, not in an overt way, but in a way that unfolds and makes you think about all marital relationships. About yours as reader as well, perhaps.
I love Kinsey, and I'm pleased with this addition to her story. She's not as central to this plot as most of the earlier novels, but her stamp is on the story, and it's a damned fine one.
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2012
I have faithfully read all of Sue Grafton's "alphabet" series and have usually enjoyed them; but it is only in the past few outings that I've come to look forward to each new letter avidly. The author is now well into her stride with her characters and setting, and rather than sticking to the formula established in the first several titles, she is exploring and creating new situations in her fictional town of Santa Teresa (based on Santa Barbara) and its environs. Perhaps more than usual, I felt in V for Vengeance that the author is feeling somewhat constrained by her title style; although vengeance does indeed feature here, it is by no means the only motivation for the many dark deeds described in the pages.

Kinsey Millhone is a private investigator in her late 30s. While in an upmarket department store she sees a woman blatantly shoplifting and reports her to the sales assistant and, via her, the security officers. Although the thief is apprehended, her accomplice escapes - injuring Kinsey in the process. Later, Kinsey reads that the shoplifter, awaiting trial, has apparently committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. Skipping a few plot points, she is hired by Marvin, the dead woman's fiancé, to look into her death as he is convinced it was no accident. Kinsey makes some progress, discovering that the dead woman was involved in much more than the occasional piece of casual thievery, but runs out of leads.

What raises this book above the level of a straightforward crime novel is its two vivid subplots. One of these involves a crooked businessman called Dante, who has inherited his father's enterprises but who has little enthusiasm for some of the family's more lethal methods of settling their affairs. Dante has been trapped in this life since boyhood; the portrait of him is involving and moving. The other main subplot concerns Nora, a rich Californian wife who is married to Channing, a lawyer to movie stars and the like. It gradually becomes clear how Nora and Channing have drifted apart over the years, and that Nora, like Dante a gentle soul at heart, is trapped in the life she's created for herself.

For the first 250 or so pages, the book is completely absorbing as the three stories progress and the reader can try to outguess the author as to how or if they will turn out to be connected. At this point, there is a bit of a lull, as Kinsey becomes involved in helping an old, lowlife friend "Pinky" who is on the run in a matter concerning some photographs. Perhaps improbably, Pinky is also involved with the people Kinsey is investigating in the shoplifter-suicide case and provides some pieces of the puzzle that Kinsey is trying to solve. At about the same point in the book, a piece of information is revealed to the reader that changes the dynamics between Nora and Dante - a development that I felt was a bit of a cheat as it concerns a matter that Nora, whose part of the narrative is told to the reader from her point of view, would certainly have been thinking about during her daily life but which is not mentioned.

At the end, the book delivers a satisfying resolution to the various plots, as the stories concerning Kinsey, Pinky, Marvin, Dante and Nora, as well as sundry well-observed minor characters, all converge. I was pleased that Kinsey's neighbour Henry and his brother William did not feature too much here, as I think that they, and Kinsey's regular descriptions of her unique home, can overburden and slow down the novels too much. I also wish Kinsey would find a different place to eat dinner occasionally. Overall, although I did find that there were rather too many coincidences for my liking, V is for Vengeance is a strong addition to the series and will leave readers eagerly awaiting W is for......
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 November 2011
Ordinarily, I wouldn't have bothered to post a review of a book that has already received so many good reviews, but I was so impressed by Sue Grafton's writing in "V is for Vengeance" that I just had to put my two cents in!

I've read all of Grafton's alphabet books since "A is for Alibi". Some I've liked better than others, but I've always appreciated her tight writing style. Both characters and plots tended to be well-thought out, but for a while there she was mixing Kinsey's cases with her private life in such a way that felt "tentative". She'd write about Kinsey's family-of-birth and with each book go a little further in introducing an aunt or a cousin or a grandmother to the plot as she put Kinsey through the agonising mental work of "Do I want to know these people from my past or don't I"? And, frankly, Grafton was putting her readers through the same agony. I had reached the point a few books ago that I really didn't care one way or the other. Grafton seems to have dispensed with these hangers-on and now concentrates on the Henry and his siblings and the crew at the Hungarian restaurant. Much better.

This new book is the best in the series so far. Grafton goes beyond Kinsey's cases - generally written in the first-person - and includes two other plot lines written in the third-person. It's not a common plot devise but Grafton has the writerly chops to carry it off. All her characters in this novel are fully drawn in a nuanced way that makes them seem real to the reader - or at least to THIS reader. Sometimes I felt I was reading a much more "literary" novel than the average series novel. And to the reviewers who complain about Grafton setting her books in the late 1980's rather than bringing them up to date? Well, this novel is Sue Grafton's to plot and write.

I would almost say that "V is for Vengeance" is a very mature novel. Grafton seems to have reached a new, high level with her writing. It's really good.
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