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V is for Vengeance: A Kinsey Millhone Novel Hardcover – November 14, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,345 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Sue Grafton

As with the last several books in the series, V Is for Vengeance was a long time in the making. I work by trial and error, keeping a running account of the process in journals that in this case totaled 967 single-spaced pages. It took me from March, 2009 until March, 2010 to settle on a storyline, and after that, it was ten months of hard labor. Women give birth to babies in less time, but surely without as much suffering. Brave soul that I am, I stuck with it, picking my way painstakingly from beginning to middle to end. Sue Grafon

What sets the narrative in motion is Kinsey Millhone’s spotting a shoplifter in an upscale department store. She alerts a sales clerk, who in turn notifies Security, which results in the woman’s arrest. Within two days, the sticky-fingered thief has taken a dive off a four-hundred-foot-high bridge, leaving her fiancé with troubling questions. While the overall subject matter is organized retail theft, of greater concern to Ms. Millhone is the fact that at the height of the action, shortly before she’s punched in the face, she realizes it’s her thirty-eighth birthday and thus ends up celebrating the milestone with a broken nose and two black eyes.

--Sue Grafton, November, 2011

Review

Praise for V is for Vengeance:

"Sure to satisfy."—USA Today

“Central to the books’ appeal is not the hoodlums and their crimes—which are often fueled by alcohol or stupidity rather than the epic, high-stakes evil driving other crime books—but rather Kinsey herself…She is witty and weary and a lot of fun.”—Los Angeles Times

“One of Kinsey Millhone’s best outings…must reading for Grafton fans.”—The Globe and Mail (Canada)

“Grafton exhibits the pace, form, and technique of a marathon champ in her latest.”—The Kansas City Star

“The author has hit a high mark with her latest offering, a complex tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and, of course, murder…The only bad thing: There are just four letters left in the alphabet.”—The Associated Press

“Terrific.”—Booklist
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Product Details

  • Series: A Kinsey Millhone Novel (Book 22)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Marian Wood Books/Putnam; First Edition edition (November 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157868
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Following U is for Undertow, Kinsey Millhone is back with a vengeance! She gets a 38th birthday "punch in the face and busted nose" in May 1988. A cake would have been nice. Kinsey is a pragmatist, "a big fan of forgiveness as long as I'm given the opportunity to get even first."

Reluctantly shopping at an upscale retailer, Kinsey spies Audrey Vance stealing expensive silk PJs. The civic-minded P.I. discovers the woman is in cahoots with another and reports them both. Vance is arrested, while the other scofflaw nearly runs Kinsey down in the parking garage with a Mercedes. Vance is later found dead, an apparent suicide, but homicide is soon suspected.

In a parallel plot, Lorenzo Dante, Jr., known simply as Dante, is a loan shark with alleged Mafia ties. Dante has quite an inferno of illicit businesses burning --- and a red-hot romance with a powerful attorney's wife. One of those enterprises is a highly organized ring of shoplifters, whose kingpin was Audrey Vance. Vance's unsuspecting fiancé hires Kinsey to investigate what he thinks are bogus shoplifting charges, and the improbable suicide. Thrown into the mix are a corrupt cop, and a gambling addict who sells his soul to Dante.

Predictably, characters face death during the investigation, and Kinsey is pulled into the vortex. Ghosts from novels past haunt Kinsey, even likeable petty criminal Pinky Ford is instrumental in the dénouement. Vixen reporter Diana Alvarez from "Undertow" is a thorn in Kinsey's side but eventually proves beneficial. Heartthrob and former flame Cheney Phillips keeps readers guessing if the fire will rekindle.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is something bleak in the new Kinsey adventure. At 38, the detective is lonelier than ever. Maybe this is why she lets herself get involved in two apparently unconnected affairs, neither likely to bring in the big bucks. The pace is slow, at times bordering on sluggish. While she plods on, two other characters are brought in. We sense that there will ultimately be a connection, but do not care greatly. Of course, towards the end everything fits neatly - too neatly? with some highly improbable developments. To tell the truth, by that time one just wants it over and done with. Yet this is not a bad book, and a host of well loved characters make cameo appearances (though we could do with less details about Rosie's cooking).
What can I say, I shall buy the next Sue Grafton...
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Format: Hardcover
Each year, I eagerly await the next installment in the Kinsey Milhone series. And now for the second time I have been disappointed. "U is for Undertow" left me submerged in indifference and now "V is for Vengeance" became a chore for me to wade through in order to reach a conclusion I found rather obvious. This latest installment is an overblown, turgid tome which either meanders at a less accelerated pace or needlessly editorializes by going back and forth to the viewpoints of certain major characters and consigning Kinsey Milhone to a lesser role. "V is for Vengeance" tries to present psychological profiles (i.e Nora,spouse of a lawyer with questionable ethics, who seethes at her husband's infidelities or Lorenzo Dante, a gangster seeking the elusive trappings of refinement while running a criminal enterprise. The plot shows promise with Kinsey almost being killed by an escaping shoplifter and her investigation into an elaborate shoplifting ring, spurred on by the mysterious death of a suspected perpetrator.
Certain supporting characters are well drawn out such as a grieving fiancee of the dead shoplifter, who refuses to believe his beloved could do any wrong, a malevolent, corrupt cop from Kinsey's past and a burglar trying hard to reform. yet the drawbacks of this novel revolve around its length. A mystery novel should never try to imitate the volume of either a Michener or a Tom Clancy.Then the book becomes a cumbersome tome and tends to obscure the intent of the reason for the mystery to begin with. Sue Grafton still has the talent to take this long running mystery series to the final letter but her final entries should be less weighty and analytical and present more of an original puzzle for the reader to savor than the past two books have.
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Format: Hardcover
V is for Vengeance starts off with the story of a young man who meets a bad end at the hands of a loan shark and his brother. The book then moves to the present day of the book (1988) and starts off with Kinsey Milhone witnessing a shoplifting incident with two women. One gets caught and the other literally drives over Kinsey in the parking lot making her escape. Two days later, the woman who was arrested ends up dead in the same spot as the young man in the beginning of the book. Kinsey is hired by the man who was engaged to the dead woman to find out what really happened because he does not believe she committed suicide. Kinsey is soon involved in uncovering a ring of professional thieves, a police conspiracy, blackmail, and a man with interesting family connections known as "Dante". All the while she has an obnoxious reporter dogging her investigation and causing trouble.
Also weaving through the book is the story of an unhappy wife named Nora, who realizes her husband is cheating and takes steps to protect herself. In the course of covering her bases financially, she meets Dante and begins an unlikely relationship with him. There is an interesting twist in the book that involves both of these people and ties into the modern day activities.
One of the things I enjoy about this series is the fact that it is set in the 80's. Kinsey has to rely on research, hard work, and legwork to get her job done. She has no internet or cell phone to do work for her. I love it when she needs to get to a pay phone to call someone when she is out working on a case or making a carbon copy of something. I find myself thinking "If she only had a ........."
Kinsey is a solitary person who has very few real relationships in her life. She can only rely on herself this book reinforces that fact.
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