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I love Kinsey Millhone and have read Sue Grafton's books, but this was my least favorite novel in her alphabet series. Something was just off and I quite figure out just what the "it" was that threw me off. Like U is for Undertow, V is for Vengeance is told from multiple POV's. That did not bother me, though changing to Kinsey's 1st person voice seemed jarring at times - not as seamless as is usual from Grafton. I kept on reading only because I wanted to find out what happened to Millhone's poor battered face.
Grafton introduces quite a few mini-stories that eventually all tie together, but it is not until about a 1/3 way into the novel that we readers see the possible connections. And maybe, that is my problem with not quite liking V is for Vengeance, In the opening scene, a young man with a gambling problem borrows money from a loan shark, loses said money, and for his sin of nonpayment, the kid is thrown off the roof of a Las Vegas parking garage. Now we jump to 2 years later on Millhone's 38th birthday. Her face is swollen and battered, her nose has been reconstructed. She tells us that we need the back story and tells us that it is long and complicated. Boy, was she right!
It starts when Kinsey spots a couple of shoplifters in Nordstrom's. She helps catch one while the other woman evades capture. Kinsey follows the younger woman to the parking lot and is almost runned down by the thief. Odd that the fleeing Mercedes has no plates. She'll let the police handle the incident, though she believes she has stumbled upon an organized theft ring. She leaves the case alone until she sees in the newspaper that the older woman, Audrey Vance, is dead. The 63 year old had jumped from a bridge and her fiance is not buying that version and hires Millhone to find out the truth. Loan sharks, theft rings, Pinky, and a possible dirty cop stand in the way of our beloved PI - not to mention Diana Alverez is printing some nasty things about Kinsey. We know Kinsey survives, but will she get the bad guys? Or is her battered and bruised face the result of her failure to get them?