Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "U is for Undertow: A Kinsey Millhone Novel” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 82% off the $27.95 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
U is for Undertow: A Kinsey Millhone Novel Hardcover – December 1, 2009
|New from||Used from|
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Robert B. Parker’s wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and wide critical acclaim. Before his death in January 2010, Parker also wrote the bestselling Jesse Stone novels and a new series of Westerns featuring two guns-for-hire, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Read on to see Robert B. Parker's questions for Sue Grafton, or turn the tables to see what Grafton asked Parker.Parker: Tell me about you and Kinsey Millhone and the connection between you.
Grafton: Kinsey Millhone is my alter ego, the woman I might have been had I not married young and had children. She's younger, thinner, and braver than I, but a good companion nonetheless. Since she can know only what I know, I've taken classes in criminal law and self-defense. I've studied police procedure, private eye procedure, toxicology, ballistics, and crime scene investigation. Beyond that, the prime agreement between us is that I don't tell her, she tells me. When readers ask what she’ll be doing after Z is for Zero, I assure them I haven't the faintest idea.
Parker: Describe your writing process (e.g., I get up in the morning, have a martini to get my heart going…).
Grafton: I take a 5.4-mile walk five days a week, so my writing schedule is often dictated by the weather. If it's too hot or too cold, I walk first thing in the morning, come home, shower, dress, and reach my desk at 9:45 or so. I work until lunch, when I take a short break, returning to my desk until mid-to-late afternoon. If I haven't done a morning walk, I walk when my work is done. Then I drink.
Parker: You've spent time in Hollywood. Tell me about that.
Grafton: I refer to that period of my life as "doing one to fifteen in Hollywood." I loved it at first, as dazzled as anyone who hasn't figured out yet how treacherous life there can be. As I've said on previous occasions, I learned two things about myself in Hollywood: one, I'm not a team player; and two, I'm not a good sport. The producers I met were well-educated and articulate, and usually offered me a cup of coffee before they set in to savaging my work. I got too old and cranky to put up with that, so I invented Kinsey Millhone as my way out. I liken it to digging my way out of prison with a teaspoon.
Parker: Do you read reviews? Pay attention to them? Find them helpful? Have an opinion on them?
Grafton: Where possible, I avoid reviews. The good ones only encourage swell-headedness and the bad ones hurt my feelings or infuriate me. In either case, by the time reviews appear, the book is written and out on the stands. What's a poor girl to do? There's no point in subjecting myself to the reactions of readers and reviewers, since their response is nothing I can control.
Parker: People sometimes ask me why I write what I write, and I answer, "Because that's what I know how to do." (Then they say, "Would you please stop?" but I'm sure they're just kidding.) Talk about why you write what you write.
Grafton: I write what I write because when I put in my application for a position at Sears, they never got back to me. I'm still hopeful, especially with the Christmas season coming up. Aside from that, I write what I write because when the work is going well, it makes me happier than just about anything except my kids and grandkids. When the work is not going well . . . which is maybe thirty-five percent of the time . . . I know it's my job to sit patiently and keep at it until I figure out what's wrong. In large part, writing is the only thing I know how to do.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
Although Millhone is far from physically imposing, she has resources that may be more effective than brute force: Kinsey is smart, intensely curious, and reluctant to give up once she starts an investigation. When Kinsey is stymied, she shuffles the index cards on which she records her notes and tries to see matters from a different perspective. Sooner or later, she usually connects the dots. This mystery has many familiar elements, including long buried secrets, dysfunctional families, greed, stupidity, and selfishness. In addition, Grafton provides the reader with a poignant glimpse into Kinsey's early life that helps explain why she is a loner who is reluctant to trust anyone.Read more ›
The setting splits between 1988, the "current" time of Kinsey's investigation, and 1967, the year of the child's kidnapping. The narration forks between Kinsey Millhone as she unfolds some inconsistencies in what appears to be nothing on the surface, Deborah Unruh, the grandmother turned mother to a little girl who experienced a similar episode as the missing girl, and other characters who unfold and show the sometimes undignified side of human nature. Each of the character's stories are enthralling, told in a voice that mirrors reality and captures the intricate details that shows how events can mold the character and direction of a life. At first, the stories may seem independent of each other, but as events from the past collide with the present, it becomes evident that their stories are intertwined and come together to portray the truth of the past, bit by bit.
Additionally, another subplot unfolds regarding Kinsey's personal life--her reconciling resentment regarding her family. An orphan, Kinsey was raised by her aunt who alienated her from the rest of her family. This subplot of Kinsey discovering the truth about her past was touching, and added an intimate flair to an already moving narrative.
I'm glad that I stumbled upon Grafton's novel.Read more ›
Set in 1988, with flashbacks to social unrest of the `60s, Michael Sutton hires Kinsey to investigate what he thinks was the backyard burial of a kidnapped young girl in 1967, when he was six. From a wealthy family, Sutton was a wolf-crying boy at elite Climping Academy and now financially exiled from his family, loses credibility with police and Kinsey. And Kinsey learns a painful truth about preconceptions regarding her own family she discovered existed only four years previously. Predictably, characters face death during the investigation, and Sutton is pulled into the vortex. ["Vortex" would be an excellent installment name, following "Undertow".]
With perpetrators identified early on, this is not so much a whodunit as a whydunit, validating Grafton's title of Grand Master bestowed by her peers. While Kinsey--an average Jo--has learned to leap hurdles in her career, Sue Grafton has become an Olympic-class pole vaulter in hers. Impeccable plot, prose as rich as Warren Buffet, and everyone's favorite investigator make this a sure-fire bestseller.
Book quote: "Recently I'd been making an effort to upgrade my diet, which meant cutting down on the french fries and Quarter Pounders with Cheese that had been my mainstays.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have enjoyed all of Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series books. I particularly enjoyed that she brought some further information to light about Kinsey's family background and what... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Active Lady
As has often been the case during this series, the murder mystery is pretty much a MacGuffin. This is really about Kinsey Millhone as a wounded human being, and her... Read morePublished 16 days ago by D. Webster
my favorite Sue Grafton book! entertaining, fast paced, good writing!Published 18 days ago by Maryam
I am hoping that Kinsey gets a personal life before the series finishes. She doesn't have to get married or anything but she needs something.Published 1 month ago by Tamedshrew