Review: X By Sue Grafton


Title: X

Author: Sue Grafton

Published: Macmillan Au September 2015

Status: Read from August 30 to September 01, 2015 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

X is the 24th book in Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series featuring private investigator, Kinsey Millhone. I’ve read all but three, and now there are just two more books remaining.

X begins with Kinsey at a bit of a loose end, business is slow but she nevertheless soon finds herself caught up in three disparate mysteries.

The first involves finding the current address of a young man recently released from prison for his wealthy birth mother. The simple task complete, Kinsey doesn’t give it a second thought until a local police detective alerts her that the hundred dollar notes she was paid with were registered as part of a blackmail case. Annoyed, Kinsey investigates, unraveling her clients lies.

The second relates to a pair of elderly new neighbours that raise Kinsey’s hackles when they start to impose on Henry’s generosity.

Meanwhile, Pete Wolinsky’s widow asks Kinsey for her help in finding old financial documents requested by an IRS auditor. In amongst a box overflowing with paperwork, Kinsey discovers a padded mailer addressed to a priest and a coded list. Curious, Kinsey finds herself following up on the case, unprepared for the horrors she discovers.

W is for Wasted was a bit of a disappointment due to a rather lacklustre and longwinded plot, but X is much improved and more reminiscent of earlier books in the series. While there aren’t any great surprises, the cases are interesting, and well thought out. I found the investigation relating to Pete the most compelling, there is real danger involved for both Kinsey and others.

The pace of X is measured, as all the books tend to be in this series. Set in the 1980’s Kinsey’s investigations are all about legwork in the pre internet, pre mobile phone era. Kinsey spends a lot of time browsing library archives, making phone calls and on stakeout.

Kinsey herself is not an excitable character, but she is a thoughtful and determined investigator that focuses on detail. I’ve always liked her but I was hoping for more personal development as the series approaches the end. Essentially Kinsey is a loner, Vera makes a brief appearance which I enjoyed and former romantic interests Dietz and Chaney rate a mention. But Henry and Rosie are really the only people she interacts with.

As a longtime fan of the series I was mostly satisfied by this installment and I’m eager to see how Grafton brings it to a close.

Available to purchase from

PanMacmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon UK I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 00:28:42

    Following Kinsey as she moves through her routines, does her legwork, and reveals bits and pieces of her life has always been the most satisfying aspect of this series for me. She is intriguing, and yes, a loner. I have fantasies that something really big lies behind her comfortable life and her “small world” with Rosie and Henry.

    Thanks for sharing…and I am also wondering what more will be revealed.



  2. readingwritingandriesling
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:04:57

    I thought this was actually the best of all the books thus far ( I think there is only one I haven’t read ) – and I am really interested das to how this series will end…



  3. Deborah
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:06:45

    I’m actually working on my review at the moment. It’s hard with series such as these as I love them but they’re never going to win any literary awards… and I want to say that while also saying that’s okay. (If that makes sense!)

    Liked by 1 person


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