Friday, August 20

Sue Grafton: U is for Undertow

A chance sighting of a newspaper report about a twenty year old kidnapping triggers a man’s memory of a suspicious event he witnessed as a young child. He takes his experience to a local detective and she follows it up. It appears that he saw nothing more innocuous than a family pet being buried but the detective feels that something isn’t fitting quite right and curiosity piqued, investigates further.
Her inquiries reveal a pile of disparate facts and are not helped by the man continuing to provide her with questionable memories. She is about to give it up as a lost cause when the man is found murdered. With his death everything begins to fall into place. She uncovers the identity of the original kidnappers and prevents a second murder.
I’ve long been a fan of the alphabet series but this one offers more style than substance. The story itself, what there is of it, is great, definitely enough to keep me turning the pages. But, I found myself irritated by the over abundance of minutiae cramming the pages. Descriptive details that usually add a little flavour to the story (such as street directions and character actions) were prominent and felt like pure ‘filler’ (was it really important that we know every time the heroine locked her car?).
Familiarity is one of the reasons I like this series, realism is another but without a chunky story to embed them in these are meaningless. I do hope that the series isn’t running out of steam with five books still to go.-Lynn

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