Cover image for
Title:
X
Author(s):
Grafton, Sue.
ISBN/ISSN:
9780399163845

0399163840
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
403 pages ; 24 cm.
Series:
Kinsey Millhone mysteries
General Note:
"A Marian Wood book."
Abstract:
"Of #1 New York Times-bestselling author Sue Grafton, NPR's Maureen Corrigan said, "Makes me wish there were more than 26 letters." With only two letters left, Grafton's many devoted readers will share that sentiment. X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss. X: The shortest entry in Webster's Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone. X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet. Sue Grafton's X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim"-- Provided by publisher.
Pub Date:
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House New York, [2015]
Holds:

Available:*

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Central - Houston Public Library Adult Mystery Fiction Book GRAFT
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Of #1 New York Times -bestselling author Sue Grafton, NPR's Maureen Corrigan said, "Makes me wish there were more than 26 letters." With only two letters left, Grafton's many devoted readers will share that sentiment.

X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.

X: The shortest entry in Webster's Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone .

X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.

Sue Grafton's X : Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.


Author Notes

Sue Grafton was born in Louisville, Kentucky on April 24, 1940. She received a B.A. in English literature from the University of Louisville in 1961. While working days as a medical secretary, she spent her nights, after her children went to sleep, writing her first novels Keziah Dane, which was published in 1967 and The Lolly-Madona War, which was published in 1969. Her career took off when A Is for Alibi was published in 1982 and received the Mysterious Stranger Award. This was the beginning of the Kinsey Millhone Mystery series. B Is for Burglar won the Shamus and Anthony Awards and C Is for Corpse won the Anthony Award. She also received the Cartier Diamond Dagger, the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bouchercon, and the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. She has also spent over 15 years writing television and movie screenplays and has collaborated with her third husband, Steven F. Humphrey, on such works as the Agatha Christie adaptations: A Caribbean Mystery and Sparkling Cyanide.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

An inventive plot and incisive character studies elevate MWA Grand Master Grafton's 24th Kinsey Millhone novel (after 2013's W Is for Wasted), which includes a variety of X's (a divorced couple named Xanakis, a spot on a map, etc.). Wealthy Hallie Bettancourt hires the Santa Teresa, Calif., PI for a simple assignment-find Christian Satterfield, a bank robber recently released from prison who was the baby 15-year-old Hallie gave up for adoption years earlier. Meanwhile, Kinsey agrees to help her friend Ruthie Wolinsky settle some papers belonging to Ruthie's late husband, Pete, a private detective who was shot the year before in a robbery gone wrong. The two investigations spiral into complicated personal tales. Hallie has myriad secrets, and Pete's papers lead Kinsey to finish one of his old cases, putting her in the crosshairs of the hate-filled Ned Lowe, who may be a murderer. This superior outing will remind readers why this much-loved series will be missed as the end of the alphabet approaches. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Just X? Yes, Grafton breaks her own rule for her titles: despite X being an initial for several characters here, no single word beginning with X encompassed the whole of her twenty-fourth Kinsey Millhone mystery, so X alone it is. And what an excellent outing it is! Kinsey is taken in by an elaborate scheme engineered by stunning Teddy Xanakis, who wants to steal a potentially priceless painting from her newly divorced husband, a plotline followed to a happy conclusion. But having come into money (in W Is for Wasted, 2013), Kinsey also can afford to spend time helping Ruth Wolinsky settle the business affairs of her late PI husband, Pete, killed in the previous book. Among Pete's effects are a carefully hidden mailing pouch and a specially coded list of women's names that send Kinsey nosing around Ned Lowe, whose past turns out to be increasingly dark, as she reassesses her long-held disapproval of Pete. Meanwhile, her landlord, Henry Pitts, takes drastic action to lower his water use during the California drought of 1989 while assisting the elderly couple who just moved in next door. Grafton cleverly follows a pulse-pounding scene with a reflective wrap-up showing Kinsey's sensitive side at its best. With only two installments to go in her landmark series, Grafton has never been better. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: TV series that run for five years generate hoopla when they reach the end; Grafton has been writing her alphabet series for nearly 35 years, and as it draws to a close, interest is piquing all over again.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2015 Booklist


Library Journal Review

PI Kinsey Millhone's life is going smoothly for once. She has money in the bank from an inheritance, and she has just collected an advance for the fairly simple job of locating a recently released prisoner. But the good times don't last long, as Kinsey finds that her fee was paid with counterfeit money and her client isn't who she claims to be. Further complicating her life is the discovery of a case file in a deceased colleague's business records, which puts Kinsey on the trail of a possible serial killer. Verdict In her 24th addition (after W Is for Wasted) to her alphabet series, Grafton has once again managed to bring something fresh to the table. Although Kinsey lacks much of her usual, lovable humor, the story remains an absorbing read that will please the author's loyal following. [See Prepub Alert, 2/23/15.]-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

I never hear the word "Nevada" without thinking of Robert Dietz. This coming May, we would celebrate our sixth anniversary of barely ever seeing each other. Truly, in the time I'd known him, I don't think we'd been together two months at a stretch, and that was only once. But now I needed his Nevada smarts and I dialed his number in Carson City. Three rings and his machine picked up. I listened to his message, which was terse and to the point. I waited for the beep and said, "Hey, Dietz. This is Kinsey. I need a favor from you. I'm looking for a woman named Susan Telford in Henderson, Nevada, and I wondered if you'd see what you can find out. There are thirty-three Telfords listed, and it doesn't make sense for me to tackle the job from Santa Teresa. Pete Wolinsky put her name on a list of six women who are all connected in one way or another to a man named Ned Lowe. Before Pete was killed, he went to some lengths to do background on Lowe, who seems like an all-around bad egg. If you have questions, call me back, and if you don't want to do the job, that's fine. Just let me know." I decided it was time to convert my investigation into report form. I was formulating a sense of the relationship between Ned Lowe and the six women whose names appeared on Pete's list, but so far the link existed only in my head. I'd inserted paper into my typewriter when the phone rang. "Millhone Investigations." A gentleman with a powdery voice said, "Miss Millhone, this is Stanley Munce, formerly with the Burning Oaks Police Department. Clara Doyle told me you'd spoken to her about a case I worked on some years ago. Is that correct?" "Yes, sir. Absolutely. Thank you so much for calling. I was asking about Lenore Redfern Lowe." "That was my understanding. I'm afraid I don't have much to offer on the subject, but I will tell you what I can. I was the coroner's investigator at the time of that young girl's death. In order to complete a death certificate, the coroner has to determine the cause, mechanism, and manner of death. "Simply put, cause of death is the reason the individual died, as would be the case with a heart attack or gunshot wound. The mechanism of death would be the actual changes that affect the victim's physiology, resulting in death. In death from a fatal stabbing, for instance, it might be extreme blood loss. "The manner of death is how the death came about. Five of the six possibilities are natural, accidental, suicide, homicide, and undetermined. The sixth classification would be 'pending' if the matter's still under investigation, which is obviously not the case here. There was no question about her ingestion of Valium and alcohol. The generic diazepam is a central nervous system depressant, the effects of which can be intensified by alcohol. However, when the toxicology report came in, it appeared there wasn't a sufficient quantity of either to say with certainty death resulted from the combination of the two. "What seemed questionable, at least in my mind, was the presence of petechiae, which are tiny broken blood vessels, like pinpricks, visible in the area of her eyes. Hard coughing or crying are common causes; sometimes the strain of childbirth or lifting weights. Petechiae can also be a sign of death by asphyxiation." "You mean she might have been suffocated?" "Smothered, yes. There were no fractures of the larynx, hyoid bone, thyroid or cricoid cartilages, and no areas of bruising, which ruled out manual strangulation. Mrs. Lowe had been under doctor's care. With her history of mental problems, absent any other compelling evidence, Dr. Wilkinson--the coroner--felt a finding of suicide was appropriate. I put up what objections I could, but I have no formal medical training, and his experience and expertise prevailed. For my part, I was never fully persuaded." "So there was never an investigation into the circumstances of her death?" "A cursory assessment, I'd say. Dr. Wilkinson was of the old school: high-handed and a bit of an autocrat. He was in charge, he made the judgment call, and he brooked no argument. I was putting my job at risk even to raise the few questions I did. "I wish I could offer you more. It's bothered me for years but yours is the first question ever raised about that girl." Which was not quite the case, but Stanley Munce couldn't know that. There had been another question raised in the matter, and that was Pete's. I'd barely hung up when the phone rang again. It was Dietz. He skipped right over the greetings and the chitchat. "What have you gotten yourself into?" I felt like someone had thrown a bucket of water in my face. "You obviously know more than I do, so you tell me." "I can tell you who Susan Telford is. Everybody in this part of the state knows who she is. She's a fourteen-year-old white female who disappeared two years ago." I felt myself go still. "What happened to her?" "She vanished. She might as well have gone up in smoke. The cops talked to everyone including vagrants and registered sex offenders." "Nobody saw anything?" "Eventually her best friend spoke up. She was too damn scared at first, but she finally broke down and told her mother some guy approached Susan in the mall a couple of days before she disappeared. He was snapping Polaroids. He said he worked for a fashion magazine and asked if she's be interested in some freelance modeling--" "Dietz." "That was all crap, of course. The guy was obviously cruising for young girls and she was gullible enough to--" "Dietz. I've heard this story, only in the version I was told, her name was Janet Macy and she lived in Tucson. I talked to her mother on the phone a week ago. She last saw her daughter in 1986. She thinks Janet went off to New York to launch her modeling career. Some photographer claimed he worked in the fashion industry and thought she showed promise. He was going to help her put together a portfolio. Not even sixteen and she went off with him like a damn fool." "Shit." "Her mother did file a missing person report, but the officer didn't think she had anything to worry about. All this time she's been telling herself stories about where the girl was and why she didn't write. "Dietz. This is Ned Lowe. I know it. And he's still out there." Excerpted from X by Sue Grafton All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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