When anyone asks me who’s my favorite author I’m at a loss to pick one person out of lifetime of reading. I’ve gone through a lot of phases, like reading the science fiction greats, focusing on animals of various kinds, and the searching out the books behind the movies I’ve seen. This amounts to odd assortments of things for pleasure, school, and work. I liked things and found value in my reading, but I can’t say I found an all-time standout favorite among all those authors.
Now, when I decided to write a novel and chose it to be a mystery I launched into a campaign of reading other mystery writer’s first books, which is where discovered Sue Grafton’s work.
I read the first three letters of the alphabet series before skipping on to later letters. I admired her skill at descriptions, her attention to details, and her grasp of human nature, and I still have S on my bookshelf because of her author’s note about maps. After that, I took another break.
Then I heard she won’t be finishing the alphabet; there would never be a Z. So, when I found a copy of Sue Grafton’s X marked down and too much of a bargain to walk away from, I had my chance to get caught up with Kinsey Millhone.
I totally enjoyed the experience of reading a mature author in high form. Grafton sets an excellent example of how to weave multiple characters, plots, and subplots together into a satisfying whole. She never compromised her standards.
Here’s a list of quotes I had presence of mind to flag:
· “… he had a wen beside his nose …" [It’s like a boil.]
· “Memory is subject to a filtering process that we don’t always recognize and can’t always control. We remember what we can bear and we block what we cannot.”
· “Silence allowed me time for reflection and helped to quiet the chatter in my head.”
· “I pressed the button that lowered the driver’s-side window and then put both hands on the steering wheel where he could see them. I could write a primer on how to behave in the presence of law enforcement, which basically boils down to good manners and abject obedience.”
· “They’re disconnected and cold and lack any semblance of humanity. Symptoms typically manifest in adolescence, which is when you start seeing aggression and antisocial acting-out.”
· “You can’t make someone else do anything, even if you know you’re right.”
· “Just because I couldn’t solve my own problems doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a go at yours.”
Since Sue Grafton is the one author I’ve come back to more than once, or twice, I have to say the verdict is in: she’s my favorite.