Book: I is for Innocent | Author: Sue Grafton | Started: 3/23/14 | Finished: 3/29/14 | Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Five years ago David Barney was acquitted of the murder of his rich wife, Isabelle. Now, Isabelle’s ex-husband, Ken Voigt—who is suing Barney for her estate—is claiming the jury made a fatal mistake… Enter P.I. Kinsey Millhone, who takes the Barney case over from a former colleague…and comes up with more questions than answers. Why are Mr. Barney’s witnesses denying ever having spoken to him? Why did Isabelle have so many enemies—including but not limited to her best friend, Voight’s second wife, and her own twin sister? But the most troubling question of all is: Why is it that everything David Barney has to say about his beloved Isabelle still checks out? Now it’s up to Kinsey to figure out who’s getting away with murder….before she courts her own.
My review: I started this book last month but then forgot it at home while I spent a few weeks at my boyfriend’s house. Once I got back home and started the book again, it was a little confusing because I’d read so many books in between that I forgot what the book was about. Luckily it was easy to jump back into and it turned out to be a really good book with an interesting story.
When someone dedicated a character to 26 books (one for each letter of the alphabet) there are going to be some that are just kinda meh or just aren’t as good. Some book series’ get boring and redundant. This book was not either of those. Kinsey lost her job after her last case and is now working for someone else at the moment. A colleague recently died of a heart attack so she took his workload for him and is working on a case for a lawyer. Kinsey hasn’t done this before and it was interesting seeing her in this type of setting.
Five years ago someone killed Isabelle and the number one suspect was her husband David Barney. The jury didn’t think he did it and he was acquitted of the charges. Ken Voight, Isabelle’s ex-husband is not so sure Barney is innocent and is suing Barney for the estate. Kinsey is going through all of her former colleague’s information that he had before he died and is finding interesting information or lack thereof.
I love Kinsey as a character. She’s funny, independent, kinda risky, and isn’t afraid to break laws if she needs to. This book series is set in the 80s and through 23 books, 5 years or so have passed. Kinsey is hardly any older now than she was in the first book. She hasn’t changed much either and I’m glad about that. She’s one of those characters that could stay the same for 26 books and still be an awesome character. Grafton is great at writers characters.
There is something that I’ve picked up on that I find interesting: Grafton always, always, always describes new characters. If Kinsey is meeting up with someone, she will describe their meeting place:
“The place was so small, I could tour without moving far. The furnishings were antique: a crude pine table, two cane-bottom chairs, a corner cabinet with wavy, blue-tinted glass panes, a brass bed with a patchwork quilt, white on white. The bathroom was small, the only portion of the house that was fully enclosed.”
While I read this, I could picture where they were. She also describes who she is interacting with:
“I judged her to be in her late thirties or very early forties. She was slightly shorter than I with wide shoulders and a stocky build, which she managed to minimize by the clothes she wore. Her hair was a reddish blond, a fine flyaway shade much darker at the roots, cut shoulder length and crinkled from a perm. Her face was square, her mouth wide.”
“The outfit she wore was black and white geometric print, a washable silk jacket over a long black tunic top, her long loose skirt brushing the tops of her black suede boots.”
I can now picture what the house looks like and who she is talking to. I know that some people find this annoying, but I like to imagine things while I’m reading and if she just mentioned “I’m in a small house with a lady” I would probably picture this lady in a blue dress and looking like Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Grafton does a good job of describing Kinsey’s surroundings but not in a way where it’s all descriptive things because that just gets annoying. No one needs thirteen adjectives in one sentence. (Someone tell that to E.L. James)
The things I liked most from this book was that it was different than what Kinsey usually does. She’s still doing PI work, but this time she wasn’t hired by someone on the street and she’s working something that someone else already worked. If someone got bored with her doing regular PI work, they should read this book and get a break from what Kinsey usually does.
This whole book I was going back and forth on if David Barney really killed Isabelle or if someone else did it. Even though there was a 50/50 chance that I knew the answer, I was still very surprised and I think it was a good ending. Grafton has a few books that end with such action that it’s nearly impossibly to put the book down until the end. The last 10 pages or so were filled with so much action that I did not look away from my book until I was done, and that’s how you know it’s a great ending.
At times, the book was a tad bit boring and it seemed that it veered away from the plot until all the pieces came together and it all made more sense. I love this series and am exciting to see if she ever gets her job back at California Fidelity. Another thing that I’m not a huge fan of is how many characters she puts in the book. I’ve learned to write down names and relationships to other people so I don’t look track of people. Other than that, Grafton’s books would all get 5 stars from me.
Things I got out of this book: Kinsey could definitely be a PI for a lawyer. I wish I had a house like Kinsey’s. A lot of people kill for money which is a scary thought.