I'm guessing the people giving it 5 stars were influenced by her sad passing. I've never struggled to get through a Kinsey Millhone book as I did with this one. The technical errors and implausibility were off the charts. Perhaps her illness had something to do with it. Her editors did her memory an injustice with this one.
The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone begins in 1979, at an elite private school that sets a high bar for academic achievement and turns a blind eye to the risky behavior and social sabotage students use to get what they want.
With absentee parents and the money to make mistakes disappear, they are free to make their own rules.
That is, until four teenage boys sexually assault a freshman – and film the attack.
Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state's evidence and two of his peers are convicted; however, the ringleader disappears without a trace.
Now it's ten years later and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a stunted child expecting to pick up his old friendships – until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That's when the parents call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. He's not the only one being haunted from the past, however. The vicious sociopath last seen in X has a grudge against Kinsey and is leaving traces of himself to find. . .
(Description/synopsis, presumably provided by the publisher, slightly edited from book jacket flap.)
As most people know, Sue Grafton died this past month on December 28th, so sadly this will be the last of her alphabet mystery series. It's fitting that she went out in grand style. I have read some reviews that criticized the book for being too long, and while it may, in fact, be a tad long, it didn't affect the pleasure I got from reading the book. I have read also some reviews that criticized the book for its two story lines, commenting that it complicated the narrative. Posh, I say. Both story lines interested me.
After months on the waiting list, I got the library notice that Y is for Yesterday was available to borrow just a few days afer Sue Grafton passed away. So my reading was shadowed by the sad knowledge that this would be the last new Kinsey Milhone adventure.
I loved the "Kinsey" part of the book, as our tenacious PI juggles a new blackmail case with the ongoing menace of Ned Lowe, the serial killer who almost made Kinsey his victim in X. I got caught up in Kinsey's daily stress over the mundane details of making sure that home and office are secure, weapons are in place, the need to stay away from isolated places at night, while she soldiered on in her investigations. Two cases means two different mysteries, double amount suspenseful twists and two climaxes, one where Kinsey cleverly nabs a suspect just in the nick of time, the other problem solved with the help of an unlikely compatriot.
I did not love the "yesterday" chapters, detailing the 10-year-old backstory of the murder and other events that are the foundation of the blackmail scheme. Long and implausible. Other than the murder victim there are no sympathetic characters, and it made no sense that these loosely connected individuals would be hanging out together ten years after the murder, especially with the muderer! I finished never understanding the motive for the blackmail.
The appeal of any PI novel is that we follow along with the detective on her discovery. This is diminished when the narrative shifts to other characters, so that the reader knows things the detective does not.
A few minor developments in Kinsey's personal life suggest bigger changes may have come in the never to be written Z is for Zero. While I am sad that there will be no new adventures I am fine with leaving Kinsey where she is in her life, housesharing with Henry, puzzling over human foibles, munching on peanut butter and pickle sandwiches and saving the innocents of Santa Theresa, one case at a time. Thank you, Sue Grafton, for giving us the intrepid Kinsey who persevered through Alibi, Burglar, Corpse, Deadbeat, Evidence,Fugitive,Gumshoe,Homicide, Innocent, Judgement, Killer, Lawless, Malice, Noose, Outlaw, Peril, Quarry, Ricochet, Silence,Tresspass, Undertow, Vengeance, Wasted, X and Yesterday.
Dull. Slow-paced. Unfocussed. Very unpleasant yet undeveloped characters involved in the crime Kinsey is investigating. Too many flashbacks - even recycling a previous bad guy (which we learn at the very start of the book) Way too much repetition and too many irrelevant details. Where were the editors on this one ? Afraid to cut a single word Grafton wrote, apparently. There is none of the sparkle that made the first 10 or so letters of the alphabet so much fun.
I can't possibly give Y is for Yesterday anything less than 5 stars. I did not want to finish it since this was the last Kinsey Millhone book that I'll ever read for the first time but it was so darn good that I could not stop. Grafton was one of the only authors that I could always count on to write books that I absolutely, totally loved every single time. I will miss her and Kinsey a great deal. A wonderful end to a series that I may just have to read again some day.
Definitely not one of her best. Way, way too long. My interest waxed and waned through the entire novel until I couldn't take it any longer. I gave up 100 pages from the end when I realised I don't care what happens to any of them. As I said, this book should've been around 200 pages, then perhaps it would've been readable.
Sad that the alphabet now ends is Y. RIP Sue!
I have waited in anticipation each year for the new letter to come out! I will truly miss Kinsey and her index cards and her typewriter! And Henry!! <3
Sue Grafton passed away on December 28, 2017. There will be no "Z is for Zero." Ms. Grafton also made sure that Kinsey Millhone would never see the light of video. I am sad that this is the last book in the series and sad that Ms. Grafton was unable to finish the series. I've read them all, from A to Y. Kinsey was like an old friend that I caught up with every couple of years. Thanks Sue Grafton and thanks Kinsey!
Having read some of the other recent posts, I disagree. This was one of Sue Grafton's best. I enjoyed reading it.
Teenagers on booze and drugs doesn't hold my interest and it goes on and on and on .... I loved her first books and have read them many times over. This one isn't worth the paper it's written on. And where's Henry? I suspect, like another reader, that Sue Grafton was dying during the course of writing this book and it was put together in a hurry. 100 pages would have said it all.
On Dec 28, 2017 Sue Grafton died. I agree her latest book is to long and I suspect it was published in hast.
There will not be a #26 'Z is for Zero'
Grafton captured my interest with her opening chapter about a female teen being sent to talk to the school's VP. The following chapters expand on that incident to show its relevance to current events in which Kinsey gets involved. Although there are numerous teens involved in the plot as well as their parents, Grafton repeats events so that finally the names, their actions, the consequences of those actions stuck in my mind. The side stories, used to show the passage of time, involve those of her constant neighbors and a continuation of a life threat from a character in the last novel. There are just a few adventurous scenes in this novel that are sprinkled in after the middle of the story. Grafton includes several themes dealing with teens in this novel that one could almost think she was writing for that age group. She includes issues like bullying, drinking and smoking, absent parents/blended families/divorced parents, peer pressure, homophobia/coming out, privileged vs less fortunate teens, teen jail sentences, but the sexual abuse issue would be pushing it a bit far as an appropriate read for an older teenager, IMO. Grafton's writing strategy of inserting chapters describing events in past years did not bother me with this book as such chapters occurred infrequently, rather than in alternate chapters. Another good book by Grafton that didn't disappoint. She dribbles out the details of the teens' past destructive actions so that reading about those events do seem repetitive, but each time Grafton offers the reader more clues as to who the culprit might be.
This novel is hard work . I’m half way through and tempted to return it to the library. It is way too long, it should have had a vicious edit.
Much better than "X". I do not like the current style of book writing of inflating the number of pages by often irrelevant descriptions and side stories. But thought twice about reading this after the last few but it's OK. I'll read "Z".
What became of our cool, street-wise Kinsey? She's been replaced by a potty mouthed insecure rambler, that's what. Sadly, there was no interest in finding what happened in the other half of the book. A real disappointment!
Even though I didn't care for this book, I enjoyed most of them, at least through "L." I was still looking forward to "Z," and am heartbroken that our beloved Sue Grafton has died of cancer.
Perhaps I am waxing a bit on the nostalgic side, but I am really going to miss Kinsey Milhone after just one more book! That may have made me lean towards awarding an extra star. This latest installment seemed to me to be one of the best in quite sometime. There is the continued threat of Ned Lowe combined with the mysterious VHS tape/murder scandal from ten years prior. I appreciated seeing the story from the 1979 POV as well as the instigators of the current blackmail scheme and, of course, Kinsey herself. Her snarky inner voice is strong as ever. Looking forward to "Z is for. . ." with anticipation, yet dreading the end of a really great series.
Enjoyable read, but it should have been 383 pages, not 483. Looking forward to Z.
I agree that the book is too long and too wordy. Skipped over alot but enjoyed the story. Have read all her books and look forward to "Z". Do enjoy the characters!!
The book was long and wordy and I did a lot of skimming. Some reads I like the description but this series I did not. I have been reading all the letters and this was ok, then good, then interesting. I liked how it had a few story lines in it. I am hoping Z is good. I figure if you been reading the alphabet series, may as well pick up Y as well.
I have enjoyed this series, but this book dragged. It is almost 500 pages, and it felt like a real slog. The characters were really unlikeable; I not only did not care what happened to them, I felt that whatever bad happened to them, they deserved.
This book is set in 1989 with flashbacks to 1979. I did not appreciate the plot, even though its premise could have been valid in the time period.
I finished the book because I have read the whole series and there is only one more book after this one. Previously I thought the later books in this series were actually getting better, but I really did not care for this one.
This was unlike any Sue Grafton book I've read. I barely made it past the half-way mark and quit reading. The plot was uninteresting and poorly told.
Y is for Yesterday gave the impression that it was not written solely by Grafton but by a committee.
Well two things. I meant to rate this book FIVE stars, but for some reason my rating came up as 4 1/2 stars. Oh well.
Next, reading all the prior ratings, it seems people either loved or hated this book. Not much in between. I loved this book and gave it a 5 star rating. (well I tried to)
All I can say is, for me, her last two books were not great. In fact the "W" book, I thought was awful. The "X" book was OK. She got a little "cutsey" with the X names and references. But it was OK.
This book, I could hardly put down! Half way or less through, I found myself thinking "Sue Grafton is back!" That's all I'm going to say for now. I really, really loved this book.
I hope she does as great a job with her last book in the series, the "Z" book. I can't hardly wait to find out what the title is going to be. Z is for Zebra? Someone breaks into the Zoo and kills a security guard (who has a mysterious past) and kidnaps a zebra?