My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It's been eons since I've read a Kinsey Milhone story and I picked this up because I needed an X for my alphabet challenge. I wouldn't have bothered with it otherwise. It's more tedious than tense. In fact since I knew I needed an X I didn't even read the cover jacket blurb until much later. Imagine my surprise there was a serial killer since we don't even really know anyone's dead, except one 'suicide' until over 230 pages into a 400 page novel. This honestly felt like Grafton had two story ideas and said eh, no need to flesh out either. I'll just jam them together and call it a day.
It opens with a woman planning to rob her soon to be ex of some art then skips to Kinsey who is hired for a quick job find a newly released bank robbery who was her son given up for adoption. Kinsey does only to find out her payment was from a stash of marked bills and when she goes back to find the woman she learns she was lied to. So naturally she tries to figure out how and why.
In the meantime her friend Ruthie wants her to find a box of her husband, Pete's for the IRS. Pete was murdered (I'm assuming we should know who this is given how it was written). Kinsey has nothing but contempt for him and his morals (she comes across so judgey in this even when she is proven wrong about Pete she won't buy into it and doesn't even apologize for talking smack about a dead man to his wife. Real nice.). In the course of this, she finds an encrypted list and a package from years before to a priest containing some pictures and a bible.
Upon decryption, Kinsey is left with six women's names. She finds most of them alive (which is why I was shocked about the whole serial killer thing. She tries to figure out why this case meant so much to Pete taking her back twenty odd years and brings her into the sites of a man named Ned Lowe who seems to be sneaking into her place and Ruthie's and was a stalker of one of the names on the list.
Also in the mix are two elderly new neighbors taking advantage of Henry.
The book flops between those two plots like a landed fish. Neither is that gripping and neither feels fully realized. In fact the whole serial killer thing only comes alive in the last 100 pages. Far too late to be of any real interest. The ending really irritated the living crap out of me. I'll put that lower under a spoiler warning. I will say that there are better Kinsey books and it might be good she only has a couple letters left because this is getting long in the tooth. The descriptions were tedious and unnecessary like all of her runs where even she goes boy this is BORING (yes it was) or the obsession with what time she got places
SO Spoiler warning.
The whole art theft/woman lying to Kinsey thing ends up with a super happy barely realistic ending.
The stalking/serial killer thing ends with Ned beating Kinsey up in her office, nearly killing her while she's there going all my martial art lessons were useless then lets her goand disappears. And she seems almost okay with this. I was really tempted to through this book across the room after that. ugh.
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