“Y is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton is number TWENTY-FIVE in the Kinsey Millhone series. Unfortunately, that means that we are near the end of the alphabet and near to the “end” of Kinsey’s journey, (or perhaps not).
Much of this narrative concerns the “yesterday” portion of the title, as the book alternates between events on 1989 (Kinsey’s “present”) and the past troubles of a group of unlikeable high school kids who have grown into even more unlikeable adults. Nothing in the past stays in the past, especially when it is captured on video tape, and 1979 comes screaming back to haunt them. Only one participant got jail time after those events, and that unlucky one, just released from the youth authority, faces even more 1979 problems. His parents seek help from Kinsey.
In true Kinsey fashion, she starts on one investigation and finds that it morphs into something different. Unresolved issues plague both her professional and personal life and complicate her investigation. She is hesitant and uncertain as she struggles to resolve the increasingly more complicated ten-year old case while evading a vicious psychopath from her own past.
Kinsey continues to grow with each “letter,” and “Y” is an unusually “dark” episode. She seems to have lost some of her self-confidence and sense of adventure. (Of course, there is that psychopath after her.) The lines between 1979 and 1989 also seem to be somewhat blurred especially when it comes to technology and security. (For example in 1979, I could make copies of DVD tapes at home; it should not have been “hard” for Kinsey in 1989, especially when the blackmailer made a copy.)
The book is rather long, and “Z” can be seen peeking around the corner. Kinsey seems to be wrapping thing up and settling some personal and family entanglements, but not exactly the way I would have anticipated. She still has her typewriter, notecards, and “famous” peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, but she is out growing some colorful aspects of her life.
Like everyone else, I am anticipating “Z.” I have enjoyed my trip down the alphabet with Kinsey, and cannot wait to find out what Kinsey brings to us after the alphabet ends.