Sue Grafton writes the perfect private investigator crime novels. Her character, Kinsey Millhone, is tough, intelligent, sneaky, has a damaged past and a slightly skewed moral compass, yet has strong feelings about right and wrong. That said, Kinsey kicks bad-guy butt! I'm wouldn't want to mess with her, and yet, there are people who still do. Man, hasn't her reputation gotten around yet?
"T is for Trespass" is another edition of Kinsey's detective adventures and it is just as delightful as the previous alphabetical novels. Nay, dare I say, it was even better? The books are like her reports that Kinsey writes as she wraps up a case, all told in the first person and with her comments and thoughts as she describes what happened. In "Trespass", Grafton changes her style just a bit by adding chapters from the villain's point of view. Oh goodness, is she a nasty villain too. A identity-stealing, elder-abusing sociopath of grand proportions. What is even scarier is that people like this exist in the world.
One of the unique aspects of the Kinsey Millhone books is that Ms. Grafton wrote them starting in the 80's and hasn't sped up Kinsey's timeline to keep up with us right now. So even though "Trespass" is book number twenty in this series, it's still in the 80's for Kinsey. She doesn't have a cell phone or computer and she has to drive everywhere to get information. Look up things at the courthouse. On paper. Talk to people face to face. I know, it seems so foreign to me too. One part that made me laugh out loud in the book was when Kinsey is interviewing a witness who builds computer systems for companies. She asks out of curiosity how much it would cost to get her going on one and he tells her ten thousand dollars. He promises that in a few decades, they'll run the world and ten-year-olds will be savvy on them. She laughs it off. Ah, Kinsey, how little you know.
Kinsey is such a fun character to read about because Ms. Grafton doesn't show us exactly who she is up front. We get to discover her bit by bit, just like you would a crochety neighbor or secretive friend. Out of all her books, the first one is my least favorite. I can't remember why, but I do remember that I had to talk myself into reading the second book (they are in alphabetical order: A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc. I don't know what that really has to do with the character or why Grafton did this, but it makes it easy to figure out which books you haven't read yet) and being happy I did. I have a fascination with sneakiness and villains. Snap, I just had an epiphany that explains my five-year-old's behavior! She inherited my sneaky-evil gene! Shoot! I didn't know that could be passed down! Now I'll understand it when she reads "Harriet the Spy", memorizes Ursula the Sea Witch's song, hides in the closet to scare her sisters and develops an evil cackle. It does explain why she loves Ramona and hates Beezus...
What was I writing about? Let's see, uh, yes. Kinsey's cool. And she drives a Volkswagon Bug. Well, she used to, anyway. Now she drives a Mustang for "Trespass", but I kind of miss the Bug. In conclusion, read the book, but cover your eyes when she fights the bad guy's son at the end. Shudder.