Series: Kinsey Millhone #15
Published by Henry Holt and Company on April 1st 2010
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Private Investigators
Reading Challenges: 2017 COYER Summer Reading List
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
“Grafton keeps pulling out surprises- and pulling us in.” —Entertainment Weekly on "O" is for Outlaw
Through fourteen books, fans have been fed short rations when it comes to Kinsey Millhone's past: a morsel here, a dollop there. We know of the aunt who raised her, the second husband who left her, the long-lost family up the California coast. But husband number one remained a blip on the screen until now.
The call comes on a Monday morning from a guy who scavenges defaulted storage units at auction. Last week he bought a stack. They had stuff in them--Kinsey stuff. For thirty bucks, he'll sell her the lot. Kinsey's never been one for personal possessions, but curiosity wins out and she hands over a twenty (she may be curious but she loves a bargain). What she finds amid childhood memorabilia is an old undelivered letter.
It will force her to reexamine her beliefs about the breakup of that first marriage, about the honor of that first husband, about an old unsolved murder. It will put her life in the gravest peril."O" Is for Outlaw: Kinsey's fifteenth adventure into the dark side of human nature.
O is for Outlaw is the latest Sue Grafton novel I’ve read, and I loved it! In this one, Kinsey Millhone gets contacted by a guy who scavenges storage units. Apparently, he’s come across a box of stuff belonging to Kinsey that he’s willing to sell her for $30. At first, Kinsey isn’t interested, but then when she discovers the storage unit belonged to her first husband, curiosity gets the best of her. Sue Grafton writes a strong mystery, but she also fills in some missing blanks surrounding Kinsey’s past that fans of this series have long wondered about.
I really loved learning more about Kinsey’s past. Sue Grafton finally reveals to readers what happened between Kinsey and her first husband. We also get to see what the private eye was like back when she worked on the police force, and how different she was from who she’s become. Kinsey has long kept quiet about her first love, and so after fifteen novels, it was about time that readers learned something new about her. Not only was this information earned by long-time fans, but it helped make Kinsey’s character even more complex, and shined a light on why she is the way she is.
“So much of the past in encapsulated in the odds and ends. Most of us discard more information about ourselves than we ever care to preserve. Our recollection of the past is not simply distorted by our faulty perception of events remembered but skewed by those forgotten. The memory is like twin orbiting stars, one visible, one dark, the trajectory of what’s evident forever affected by the gravity of what’s concealed.”
Aside from learning all the juicy tidbits, I also enjoyed the mystery. The crime Kinsey investigates is her ex-husband’s shooting. This causes her to delve into his life to find out what he’s been doing since she last saw him. It also causes her to visit old acquaintances from her married days and introduces new characters to the reader. This is pretty great because until now Kinsey has only had a few people in her life. Now that she’s reconnected with old friends, I hope these new characters will pop up in future novels.
Not every Kinsey Millhone novel hits it out of the park, but O is for Outlaw definitely did. Readers learned lots of new information about the protagonist. The mystery was well-written and kept me guessing the entire time. Also, I felt as if I learned more about Santa Teresa than the small area Kinsey seems to exist in. This made her world seem bigger than it’s been and left me thinking of all the new possible storylines this series may go off into future novels. I’m definitely re-invested in this series, and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.