U Is for Undertow: A Kinsey Millhone Novel

Version: Abridged (Unabridged version available here)
Author: Sue Grafton
Narrator: Judy Kaye
Genres: Detective Stories
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: June 2012
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

It's April 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office catching up on paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. More than two decades ago, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent newspaper story about her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial and could identify the killers if he saw them again. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the men. It's way more than a long shot, but he's persistent and willing to pay cash up front. Reluctantly, Kinsey agrees to give him one day of her time.
But it isn't long before she discovers Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his story true, or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Moving effortlessly between the 1980s and the 1960s, and changing points of view as Kinsey pursues witnesses whose accounts often clash. Gradually, we come to see how everything connects in this twisting, complex, surprise-filled thriller. And as always, at the beating heart of her fiction is Kinsey Millhone, a sharp-tongued, observant loner who never forgets that under the thin veneer of civility is a roiling dark side to the soul.

Reviews (3)

U is For Undertow

Written by Anonymous on May 11th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

U is For Undertow was entertaining and a light read. I prefer a mystery with more depth.

Exceptional

Written by Anonymous on October 9th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Very exciting. Kept my interest thoughout! Loved it!!!

U is for Undertow

Written by Shannon on May 12th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Classic Grafton. She has developed the character of Kinsey more and more as time goes on. You don't get as much personal life as in the last few books but the story is entertaining as all of her books are.

Author Details

Author Details

Grafton, Sue

Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages—including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. She’s an international bestseller with a readership in the millions. She’s a writer who believes in the form that she has chosen to mine: "The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law," she has said, "but people do get their just desserts." And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker and the John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—she has earned new respect for that form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents.

But who is the real Sue Grafton? Many of her readers think she is simply a version of her character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone. Here are Kinsey’s own words in the early pages of N Is for Noose:

"So there I was barreling down the highway in search of employment and not at all fussy about what kind of work I’d take. I wanted distraction. I wanted some money, escape, anything to keep my mind off the subject of Robert Deitz. I’m not good at good-byes. I’ve suffered way too many in my day and I don’t like the sensation. On the other hand, I’m not that good at relationships. Get close to someone and the next thing you know, you’ve given them the power to wound, betray, irritate, abandon you, or bore you senseless. My general policy is to keep my distance, thus avoiding a lot of unruly emotion. In psychiatric circles, there are names for people like me."

Those are sentiments that hit home for Grafton’s readers. And she has said that Kinsey is herself, only younger, smarter, and thinner. But are they an apt description of Kinsey’s creator? Well, she’s been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She has three kids and two grandkids. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone. So: readers and reviewers beware. Never assume the author is the character in the book. Sue, who has a home in Montecito, California ("Santa Theresa") and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised, is only in her imagination Kinsey Millhone—but what a splendid imagination it is.