It’s ironic to feel that my time was wasted with a book called W is for Wasted. And it breaks my heart. Sue Grafton published her first book in the Alphabet Series in 1982. I found them, and their main character Kinsey Millhone, in about 1990. Luckily, I gobbled up quite a few of the books right away. I listened to the audio books, narrated by the wonderful Judy Kaye, on a long commute.

Kinsey was charmingly quirky. She still is, but also seems increasingly cranky and crotchety. She doesn’t seem to have a fun-loving bone in her body anymore, even with the appearance of the inimitable Robert Dietz.

The plot in Wasted is two-pronged. Kinsey is investigating the death of a homeless man. She’s involved because he has her name and phone number in his pocket, although she’s never met him. In the other plot line, one of her former colleagues, Pete Wallinsky is on the trail of a medical researcher’s shady doings. Sadly, I guessed the intersection of these two plots straightaway. Hence, the first sentence of this review.

My conclusions

Of course, I always prefer to be surprised by plot twists. By definition, they’re a bombshell of sorts. This twist was too formulaic. So Grafton missed the mark for me. Add that to my increasing annoyance with Kinsey and we have two strikes against Wasted.

The plot arcs are one thing. It’s also frustrating when descriptions got bogged down in too much detail. Don’t get me wrong. Specifics develop atmosphere. But it’s obvious when authors add more words for the sake of quantity rather than quality. I’m sorry to say this was the case with Wasted.

I appreciated Grafton’s perspective on people who are homeless. However, her thoughts verged on blatant preachiness, which I can live without. Authors are entitled to opinions, whether I agree or disagree. Grafton makes valid points, but those pontificating paragraphs were better suited for a blog than a book.

Despite all this, finishing the series by year’s end is my goal. There are two books to go. (Grafton passed away before she wrote a “Z” book.) So watch for a couple more Kinsey reviews soon!