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W Is for Wasted: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery | [Sue Grafton]

W Is for Wasted: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery

Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I'd never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue. The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He'd been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He'd been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone's name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.
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Publisher's Summary

Of the #1 New York Times best-selling Kinsey Millhone series, NPR said, "Makes me wish there were more than 26 letters."

Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I'd never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.

The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He'd been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He'd been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone's name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes.

But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge. And before long at least one aspect is solved as Kinsey literally finds the key to his identity. "And just like that," she says, "the lid to Pandora's box flew open. It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed, but for the moment, I was inordinately pleased with myself."

In this multilayered tale, the surfaces seem clear, but the underpinnings are full of betrayals, misunderstandings, and outright murderous fraud. And Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised.

W is for…wanderer…worthless…wronged….

W is for wasted.

©2013 Sue Grafton (P)2013 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    karen United States 10-09-13
    karen United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    901
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    141
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    "Well worth waiting for...."

    No need for a plot summary here -- those of us who love Kinsey really don't care about the specifics of what she's gotten herself mixed up in this time. We'll go along for the ride, whatever it is. Suffice it to say that in this 23rd installment, Sue Grafton found yet another unique story line, plowed untilled storylines once again, and turned out a ridiculously good book.

    I just finished listening, still wiping away tears from one of the finest eulogies I've ever heard, this one honoring a man of courage and intelligence, but one who also happened to be homeless, one of those rascally urban dwellers must of us would prefer not to see at all. Many of the main characters in this book were homeless -- some of them obnoxious, some physically or mentally ill, others just down on their luck. What made Grafton's tale unique is the respect she showed them all -- not pious or groveling, not pity, not laden with "it wasn't their fault" excuses, but rather with the simple acknowledgement that they exist, they live among us, that they are, in many ways, no different from the rest of us, and are therefore deserving of respect.

    I greatly appreciated that straightforward treatment. A lesser writer would have turned this plot into a screed against these undesirables for weakness in succumbing to their various addictions, or alternatively into a diatribe against "the rich" who allegedly bear responsibility for the situation. Grafton did neither. She just told a story, without having Kinsey render up any judgments at all, let alone claiming to understand any of their personal situations, and certainly not offering any solution to the whole issue of the "homeless", whatever it might be. In fact, when one character launches into a divisive rant, Kinsey stops him immediately. "Please, keep politics out of this." Very smart -- it kept the book fresh and interesting.

    All that said, "W" is not a heavy book -- in fact, it's a delight to see Kinsey doing something few of us ever thought she'd ever do. Kinsey -- not a warm and cuddly person, by any standard -- falls in love with a cat. And not just Kinsey, either, but Henry also cozies up to the formerly-homeless feline. Fun to see character growth like that -- Kinsey, ready to put her life on the line for an animal? Amazing.

    Another fun thing was that a goodly part of the book takes place in Bakersfield, CA, and of course since the entire series is set in the mid to late 1980's, we get to experience the Bakersfield of that time. I remember Bakersfield in 1986, and obviously so does Sue Grafton. She even remembered to include the Basque restaurants and the country music pubs. Fun to read those parts -- and even more fun to see Grafton capturing the unique Bakersfield population just as I remember it, too. Although they're just three hours apart, Bakersfield is about as different from "Santa Theresa" -- Santa Barbara -- as any two cities can be, but it's obvious both Grafton and Kinsey are at home in either one.

    I'll listen to this book again and again, as I do all of Grafton's 'alphabet' books -- the biggest problem of which is that there are now only three left. The good news is, all of them are now available on Audible, some read by Judy Kaye, some by Mary Peiffer. Both narrators are excellent and make all the books worthy of many listens.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-16-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A dead cousin"

    It is surprising that Sue Grafton keeps up the quality in the Kinsey Millhone series.
    This story has more personal information about Kinsey as she goes to Bakersfield to hunt down some of her father's side of the family. A call from the coroner's office finds Kinsey with a newly discovered dead cousin and also discovers she is the executor of his will and the beneficiary of the will for about 1/2 million dollars. In her attempts to locate his children she also discovers he was part of a clinical trial and thought the drug was making him sick. This all makes for some suspense, action and humor. Only 3 more books to go I wonder how Grafton plans on to close this series? If you are a fan of this series you will enjoy it. Judy Kaye does and excellent job narration this audiobook.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robin Cordova, TN, United States 10-20-13
    robin Cordova, TN, United States 10-20-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "painful"
    What disappointed you about W Is for Wasted?

    Let me say first that I have always loved Sue Grafton's books and can even name all the "alphabet" titles from memory. That being said, I feel this one was WAAAY to long and filled with narrative that was uninteresting and tedious. This book could have been at least 5 hours less (maybe more) and have been more palatable. I had to go to other books after every couple of hours just to take a break from the boredom and finally get it finished.


    What was most disappointing about Sue Grafton’s story?

    The painful fact that in this book Kinsey is reduced to a mere shadow of herself. She is whiney and spineless, unlike the sassy "in your face" detective we have seen in the past.


    What about Judy Kaye’s performance did you like?

    Judy always does a great job. She IS Kinsey.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was interesting to have the "old" boyfriends all in the picture again.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe 2 years is a little long for Sue to take to write these novels. She appears to be overthinking.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Fairfield, CA, United States 09-12-13
    Charles Fairfield, CA, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2009
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    "W is for Wow!"
    If you could sum up W Is for Wasted in three words, what would they be?

    A good story


    What did you like best about this story?

    an easy listen, liked the flow


    Which character – as performed by Judy Kaye – was your favorite?

    Kinsey :0)


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Kinsey talked about Ed the cat sleeping on the pillow


    Any additional comments?

    A light, fun book. Give it a try.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Martin, TN, United States 09-13-13
    Katherine Martin, TN, United States 09-13-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Yet"
    If you could sum up W Is for Wasted in three words, what would they be?

    Best of Series


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kinsey


    What about Judy Kaye’s performance did you like?

    Fine


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When explanation of homelessness is given such humanity


    Any additional comments?

    This is Grafton's best work. The other books in this series were easily read in one night, but not W. So much more depth to the characters, and much more introspection for Kinsey.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 02-15-14
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 02-15-14 Member Since 2013

    retired writer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    73
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    "A First Time Listen! Enjoyed It~"

    This is the first time that I've listen to a Millhone mystery but I enjoyed it and will recommend to a listener who's seeking a break from their usual interest (like myself who is a diehard Michael Connelly fan). The star here is a woman sleuth that you wouldn't expect.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 11-03-13
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Never a Waste to Commiserate with Kinsey"

    I probably wouldn't keep reading these books but for the fact I've been reading them for decades. And, I'm curious how the series will end. In W is for Wasted, Kinsey is much more emotional than in Grafton's other novels. Her relationship phobias are a bit more pronounced and you get the sense that she is becoming more lonely. The mystery part of the story was Ok, maybe a little predictable, but always entertaining. And, Judy Kaye's narration as always, was stellar. I would have given it a 3.5 if I could.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Lindquist Lynchburg, VA United States 10-19-13
    Bonnie Lindquist Lynchburg, VA United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    "Not my favorite Sue Grafton"
    Would you try another book from Sue Grafton and/or Judy Kaye?

    Yes


    Has W Is for Wasted turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Which character – as performed by Judy Kaye – was your favorite?

    Kinsey Milhone always


    Did W Is for Wasted inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This book takes a long time to catch your interest in the story and once it does I'm not sure that the story comes to an unexpected ending. It was boring.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 09-30-13
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 09-30-13 Member Since 2010

    Love fiction--classic to light, serious to comedic. Selective non-fiction. These days lots of mysteries (not too violent, please :-)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1023
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    "Liked it, in spite of the narrator"

    I'm a long time fan of the whole series. This one was good. Perhaps it lacked a little of the vitality the books had back in the beginning, but after all, Ms. Grafton has nearly made it through the alphabet at this point. This was also the first I have listened to, rather than reading. I think I might stick with the written version in future. I had probably imagined them differently in my mind for too long.

    The author took on the interesting challenge of interposing two mysteries, and the reader knows they must be connected, but not how, till well into the book. Kinsey Millhone, whom we have known from A through V as a virtual orphan is presented with new family. Unfortunately she doesn't get to know one before he turns up dead, at which point she is presented with her ensuing tasks as a private investigator.

    It is fun to read these Kinsey Millhone books, and over time we've all gotten to know the cast of characters. I felt that some of them are beginning to feel the least bit stale and take up a little too much "filler" space now, but that didn't detract from the story.

    My main complaint was that the narrator seemed uneven. Usually reading quite smoothly, occasionally would have the jarring effect of mis-reading a line, or whole character in a way that just sounded "off." I was a little surprised that it wasn't better directed or produced. I would have expected more for a series this popular.

    But all in all, it was wonderful finally to get to read the long-awaited "W" episode in this alphabet mystery series. Nothing could take away the pleasure of going on another adventure with Kinsey.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Richmond, British Columbia, Canada 09-13-13
    Anne Richmond, British Columbia, Canada 09-13-13 Member Since 2011

    Avid general reader with a fondness for British and Irish Writers and world history.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining"

    Circuitous plot with interesting characters - some well developed, others not so much. Homelessness is a difficult and complex topic and Grafton has chosen representative characters, except for the severely mentally ill who comprise a major percentage. This certainly could have been two books - a good listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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