Years ago, Wendell Jaffe was half of a high-profile real estate partnership. When the market fell, so did the company's bottom line. Jaffe and his partner kept anxious investors at bay through an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Just before the law came calling, Jaffe set sail in his boat. When the vessel was found drifting at sea, it was assumed Jaffe committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and two sons.
Five years later, Kinsey gets a phone call from her previous employer, California Fidelity insurance company. Jaffe was recently declared dead and his widow received a $500,000 insurance payout. However, it seems someone from CF accidentally spotted Jaffe in hiding at a Mexican resort. Kinsey is hired to find the runaway real estate crook and establish that he is alive so CF can reclaim the payout.
J is for Judgment follows Kinsey Millhone to Mexico as she attempts to find Santa Teresa's most infamous fugitive. Fans of this popular Grafton series know Kinsey is the quirky, no-nonsense private investigator first introduced in A is for Alibi.
This tenth installment follows Kinsey south of the border and back as she's hot on the tail of a man that resembles Jaffe and a mysterious woman by his side. Throughout the novel, readers will learn about Wendell's past and get a glimpse of the present including the family he left behind. When another Jaffe is wanted by the law, the plot thickens.
Sue Grafton has provided an interesting side story in this novel. Kinsey stumbles upon the family she never knew she had. Loyal fans know that their favorite leading lady has been alone most of her adult life. It's intriguing to watch Kinsey react to these new relations.
J is for Judgment offers a medium dose of suspense. The plot gradually unfolds as we discover all the secrets in Jaffe's past. The ending is slightly rushed and anti-climactic. However, Grafton is a pro and this story is pleasantly entertaining.
The Kinsey Millhone series are a staple in mystery fiction. The novels are fast and Kinsey is a blast. Unlike most series, this one can be read out of order if necessary. Grafton provides plenty of background information. So potential fans won't be lost. If you're looking for a quick mystery fix, J is for Judgment fits the bill.