"Another success for Grafton, May 8, 2005"
Reviewer: Carolyn Rowe Hill, author: "so far, R is for Ricochet is my favorite. I see the point another reviewer made about entitling the book R is for Reba as this character is definitely the lead in this story, which at times I found disconcerting. However, I grew to like Reba, so it turned out to be OK by me. While the book is not riveting (I could easily set it down and return to it later), I found it comfortable to read in parcels and finished it in a few days (which gave me time to absorb many of its details). Whatever else is going on, it's always interesting to see what's up with landlord Henry Pitts, his brother William and wife Rosie the Hungarian, and this time with Michigan brother, Lewis, who arrives for an unscheduled visit.
It does seem to me Grafton has increased her descriptive narrative as she proceeds through the alphabet. Perhaps this has become convenient filler. She has been roundly criticized for this practice, but if the reader absorbs the descriptions, he/she learns much about the places Detective Kinsey Millhone has been and how precisely she takes in the scene around her (makes for a good detective). I do think one can only describe bars so many times before the descriptions become grudgingly repetitious, and counting down the digital readout on an elevator door panel (twice) is carrying things a bit far, "...4 to 3 to 2 to 1." I was also surprised at how easily Kinsey allowed Reba to manipulate her... as in the shopping spree. If she didn't want Reba in the changing room with her, I would've expected her to just say NO.
Having said all this, I found the book an enjoyable read and continue to be impressed with Grafton's way with words. Her description of the July heat as being "thick as sour milk" and smelling like "feedlots" made me feel the unpleasantness of the day even as we experience an unusually long, snowy, cold winter in Michigan. She follows this sentence with a description of her T-shirt sticking to her back and the "sheen of moisture" on her face, "...the sort of clamminess that wakes you from a dead sleep when you've just come down with the flu." Yuck!
I intend to eventually read all Grafton's alphabet novels and to learn from her as an author." Carolyn Rowe Hill
As you might expect from the title, this is the 18th in the series about PI Kinsey Milhone. I wouldnt recommend starting the series with this one, I think the author has developed the character in such a fashion that a new reader cant just fall into this world. In truth if you havent read any of these by now, youre not interested anyway. In this outing, Kinsey is hired by a dying rich man to watch over his daughter Reba for a few weeks as she gets out of prison. Its quickly apparent that Reba has no guilt over her conviction for embezzlement, and no intention of going straight. Reba is a great character and the plot moves along quickly, with some interesting twists happening. What I didnt like was Kinseys cooperation with Reba in some things youd think a licensed PI wouldnt really do; and I felt like Kinsey really ought to have been quicker on the uptake about Rebas motivations. She seems pretty wishy-washy in this book, like anyone could have convinced her of anything if theyd just put on enough pressure. All in all, it kept me reading, and its not the worst in the series, but I dont think its the best either.