In what may be her most unsettling novel to date, Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass is also her most direct confrontation with the forces of evil. Beginning slowly with the day-to-day life of a private eye, Grafton suddenly shifts from the voice of Kinsey Millhone to that of Solana Rojas, introducing readers to a chilling sociopath. Rojas is not her birth name. It is an identity she cunningly stole, an identity that gives her access to private caregiving jobs. The true horror of the novel builds with excruciating tension as the reader foresees the awfulness that lies ahead. The suspense lies in whether Millhone will realize what is happening in time to intervene.
Though set in the late eighties, T is for Trespass could not be more topical: identity theft; elder abuse; betrayal of trust; the breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the weak and the dependent. It reveals a terrifying but all-too-real rip in the social fabric. Once again, Grafton opens up new territory with startling results.
The 20th Kinsey Millhone crime novel (after 2005's S Is for Silence), a gripping, if depressing, tale of identify theft and elder abuse, displays bestseller Grafton's storytelling gifts. By default, Millhone, a private investigator in the small Southern California town of Santa Teresa, assumes responsibility for the well-being of an old neighbor, Gus Vronsky, injured in a fall. After Vronsky's great-niece arranges to hire a home aide, Solana Rojas, Millhone begins to suspect that Rojas is not all that she seems. Since the reader knows from the start that an unscrupulous master manipulator has stolen the Rojas persona, the plot focuses not on whodunit but on the battle of wits Millhone wages with an unconventional and formidable adversary. Grafton's mastery of dialogue and her portrayal of the limits of good intentions make this one of the series' high points, even if two violent scenes near the end tidy up the pieces a little too neatly. Author tour. (Dec.)
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December 03, 2007
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