Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, October 1999
Page One of Four

O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton

Henry Holt, Oct., 1999.
Hardcover, 316 pages.
ISBN: 0805059555.
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O is for Outlaw
by Sue Grafton Kinsey Millhone has the toughest case of her life ahead of her: her own past. When a storage space scavenger calls wanting to know if she'd like to purchase a box of her personal belongings found in an abandoned storage space, Kinsey is shocked to discover that the belongings are really hers -- the remnants of what she left behind when she left ex-husband Mickey Magruder, 15 years ago. Kinsey split after Mickey was accused of murder and he asked her to fake an alibi for him. The accusation got Mickey thrown off the force, ruined his marriage, and pretty much destroyed what was left of his life. The box contains a real bombshell: a letter proving that Mickey really did have an alibi for the night in question. Although Mickey told Kinsey at the time that he was innocent of the beating of a suspect, she never quite believed him. Determined to find out the truth about what happened 15 years ago, Kinsey sets out to solve a murder case that a lot of people would rather not see reopened.

Although Kinsey Milhone has had an amazing number of adventures, throughout it all, her creator has remained relatively silent on the subject of our favorite p.i.'s past. O is for Outlaw is a fascinating foray into the life of Kinsey Milhone when she was young and impressionable. Grafton outdoes herself with beautiful, clean prose and characters that are so real and finely drawn you feel as if you're in the middle of the action. If you haven't read the fourteen Kinsey Milhone novels which have come before, don't worry. O is for Outlaw is a great jumping off spot into one of the best p.i. series ever written. As for Millhone fans -- it's Nirvana time. Highly Recommended.

--Claire E. White

Adam and Evil by Gillian Roberts

Ballantine, July 1999.
Hardcover, 248 pages.
ISBN: 0345429346.
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Adam and Evil
by Gillian Roberts Philadelphia English teacher and amateur sleuth Amanda Pepper is worried about one of her students. Adam Evans' grades are slipping and his personal hygiene is a disgrace. When a librarian is murdered during a class tour to the library, Adam disappears and promptly becomes the prime suspect, mostly due to Amanda's comments about the child's mental state before the incident. Amanda sets out to find Adam, and solve the murder.

This is the ninth entry in this series which features Philadelphia prep school teacher Amanda Pepper. Amanda has a sharp tongue, and her one-liners are priceless. Laced with often humorous commentary on everything from modern education to the vicissitudes of modern relationships, the Amanda Pepper novels are always an enjoyable read. In light of the tragedy at Columbine high school and the other reports of teen violence, the story takes on added interest because of the subject matter. An excellent book which should be enjoyed equally by fans of the series and first-time readers.

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