M is for Malice by Sue Grafton

M is for Malice, Sue Grafton, 1996

My favorite quote: “Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.” Yeah. I like that. 

Most interesting characters: Kinsey Millhone, my all-time favorite PI; Guy Malek, a man with whom Kinsey feels an instant kinship 

Opening scene: It’s just after Christmas and Kinsey Millhone is feeling cranky and alone — and a phone call from her estranged cousin, Tasha Howard, does nothing to improve her mood. But hey, at least it’s some kind of human connection, right? I swear, if anyone but Sue Grafton wrote this opening, I’d say that it’s probably the lamest way an author could possibly start a book … but Sue Grafton DID write it, so naturally, it’s good. It really is, I promise. Somehow, she clutches it from the jaws of tedium and manages to make Kinsey’s misery somehow appealing

The gist: M is for Malice centers on four brothers who stand to inherit a fortune — but in order to collect, they need to find brother number four … the black sheep who seems to have gone missing 

Greatest strengths: As it is in all of the Sue Grafton books, it’s all about the characters for me — and M is for Malice is no exception. I seriously get attached to these people, and I miss the return characters when they’re absent from one of the books. I think it’s because they’re so lifelike. They operate in shades of gray, just like real people, so I sometimes forget that they’re actually imaginary — which is kinda awkward at parties. Anyway, this was especially true in M is for Malice

Standout achievements: You know, it really annoys me that I put both a “standout achievement” AND a “greatest strength” section in this book review format thingy. I mean, didn’t I JUST talk about how great this book was? I suppose I could delete one or the other of them, but meh. I’ll worry about that later. For now, I’ll just say that Sue Grafton’s M is for Malice actually broke my heart a little. *awkward pause* What? Don’t judge me. You don’t know me 

Fun Facts: While M is for Malice is the 13th book in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, it’s actually the first one I read. I had no idea it was part of a series — I just liked the looks of it so I picked it up and took it home with me as if it were an attractive stranger eyeing me at the end of the bar and …  Wait, what? .. Um, anyway, when I found out later that there was an entire “Sue Grafton Alphabet series” I was stoked. I mean, I didn’t, like, SQUEE!, or anything (I don’t squee — in fact, I’m not even sure I know what it means) but I was way excited to know there were a lot more Sue Grafton books out there for me to read. The Kinsey Millhone books have become one of my all-time favorite book series — and M is for Malice what started it all 

Other media: N/A — but how cool would a Sue Grafton / Kinsey Millhone Netflix series be? M is for Malice would be especially awesome, IMO 

Additional thoughts: I had the honor of having a brief correspondence with Sue Grafton shortly before she died. In that short time, I came to like her very, very much, and I’m sad that she’s gone

Hit or Miss: It’s a hit. A hard one. So hard it hurts 

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read M is for Malice or start at the beginning with A is for Alibi

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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