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Kinsey Millhone #13

M is for Malice

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M is for MONEY…

Malek Construction is a mega-million-dollar company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction—and one of the few still in family hands. Today, the three Malek sons stand to inherit a fortune, but in order for any one of them to claim his share, the missing fourth brother must be found.

M is for MISSING…

Now it’s up to Kinsey Millhone to find Guy Malek, the man who, eighteen years ago, vanished without a trace. Did he run away—or was he abducted? Did he intend to make something of himself on his own, apart from the wealth and prowess of his family, or were his motives something more sinister?

M is for MALICE...

The ties that bind. The rivalries of brotherhood. The fall of an empire… As Kinsey tries to unravel the mystery of the missing Malek brother she finds herself in a heart-stopping race against time in which loyalties are tested, greed is rampant, and no one—including Kinsey herself—is safe…

352 pages, Paperback

First published November 15, 1996

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About the author

Sue Grafton

279 books6,094 followers
Sue Grafton was a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She is best known for her “alphabet series” featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Prior to success with this series, she wrote screenplays for television movies. Her earlier novels include Keziah Dane (1967) and The Lolly-Madonna War (1969), both out of print. In the book Kinsey and Me she gave us stories that revealed Kinsey's origins and Sue's past.

Grafton never wanted her novels to be turned into movies or TV shows. According to her family she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of these things, and out of respect for Sue’s wishes, the family announced the alphabet now ends at “Y

Grafton was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, three Shamus Awards, and many other honors and awards.

Grafton had three children from previous marriages and several grandchildren, including a granddaughter named Kinsey. She and her husband lived in Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky.

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5 stars
25,504 (36%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,016 reviews
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
April 5, 2019
I kind of felt sorry for Kinsey in this one. The story starts with her being depressed because she is a pathetic loser with no one who loves her and will die alone, childless, with nobody to mourn her. She's so unloved that she will be one of those people who dies and nobody even notices until the stink makes its way out to the streets. If she had a pet, her dead body would be eaten by it, but she doesn't even have an animal that cares about her.

You know it's bad if I feel sorry for her. I hate Kinsey. But, at this point, it's kind of like kicking the ugliest dog you've ever seen. What's the point?

So, when her old flame comes to visit she should be excited and hopefully things will be looking up, right? Maybe she can even, I don't know, be a little less bitchy?

When she finds out that he recently had knee surgery:
"Oh, really. That's nice. You drop out of my life for two years and then you show up because you need a nurse? Forget that."

Um, Kinsey? It might be time. You don't like dogs, so...

OR, you can be smart. Dietz is awesome.

Go put on the slutty nurse's uniform, get the sponge out of the sink, and do what needs to be done! Do you want to get eaten by cats, or do you want to get eaten by Mr. Hottie who saved your life a few books back? Spoiler for dirtiness: The choice is yours...

Pull the trigger, Kinsey. Push it, pull it. Whatever....

Anyway, the mystery in this book is about Kinsey finding a missing heir to millions of dollars. The guy got kicked out of his family for being an asshole kid and hasn't been heard from for about 20 years. When the old man kicked it, the sibs were hoping asshole kid had also died or something so they won't have to share the wealth, so they aren't exactly hoping Kinsey is capable. Now, we all are aware that Kinsey is stupid. That's a given. But, she's also got no life and therefore will just annoy the crap out of everyone and never give up when she has a case. So, she finds the guy.

This guy, it turns out, is named Guy. Makes things easier for me because I can't remember names for shit. Guy has turned his life around and is a religious Guy now. He joined some church where they aren't allowed to dance, and I have to say.. I didn't know that was real outside of Footloose. Apparently, dancing is devil's work.

Not if you're doing it right. Am I right?

So, Kinsey brings Guy home to the loving embrace of his family. It's not like they would kill him or something to get his share of the inheritance back. This is going to go really well....
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews720 followers
March 16, 2020
This book fell at the last hurdle. It lacked the je ne sais quoi that characterises a mystery elaborately written in 3 acts.

I thought that the list of suspects was promising for the suspense, the puzzle, and the mystique of our main character Kinsey Millhone.

Suffice to say that the book did not disappoint on all fronts. Being unaware of all future spoilers, I dread the day when Kinsey will sleep with Henry. Maybe that just me. In all, I think 3 stars is a fair rating for what I experienced reading this book.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,575 followers
June 8, 2017
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to M is for Malice, the 13th book in the "Kinsey Millhone" mystery series, written in 1996 by Sue Grafton. When I first picked up this book, as I was far behind in the series and not able to read them as they were published, I got very excited. My favorite type of books to read are about family dramas and whodunits. Well this book combined those two themes and sub-genres together when something was amiss with Malek Construction. Four (4) Malek brothers. And what are they up to. Who's good? Who's bad? Which one to trust? While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it was still a good cross-over type mystery. Millhone is great as usual. Robert Dietz is in this one... I enjoy the books when he shows up. Overall, this book has some good suspense and thrills, probably in the mid to high end of the whole series, and worth a read. I learned a bit about construction and business from this novel, though not a whole lot. I was just out of college and picking information up from the strangest places. Never thought Kinsey would be teaching it to me! LOL

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews856 followers
December 1, 2022
Kinsey Millhone mystery No. 12:
A multi-million dollar inheritance is up for grabs amongst four brothers. One of the brothers went missing over 18 years ago, and Kinsey has been hired to find him... which leads to murder! The latter books in this series are better reads that the first ten or so, and this mix of machinations, malice and murder continues in that more entertaining vein :). A strong Two Star 5 out of 12 for M.

2010 read
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,222 reviews2,052 followers
October 3, 2019
Much better than L is for Lawless because this time Kinsey was working for payment like real people do. I felt better for that and I think she did too.

There was a good story line about a missing brother, a murder and a large number of prospective murderers. Kinsey did some great detective work with some help from part time lover, Dietz, who breezes in and out of her life as he pleases. The conclusion to the book is a total surprise and very, very sudden. I had to check that there were no more pages!

All good fun and Kinsey managed to get through a whole book without injuring herself. Well done.
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
949 reviews67 followers
May 9, 2023
M is for Malice is the 13th of the Kinsey Millhone books written by Sue Grafton. In this novel, Kinsey is hired by her cousin to find a missing person. Malek Construction is a lucrative company that has lost its CEO. Three of his sons stand to inherit a large chunk of money, but the fourth brother is missing and if he is not found in a timely fashion, the inheritance can be tied up in court for years. Here, Kinsey sees what greed can do to family ties making her long for a childhood where she was an orphan. Yet, Kinsey’s interactions with the Maleks are not always negative, and her mixed emotions confuse her. Is that a longing for family? Belonging to something larger than oneself? She has always been fiercely independent, even zealously guarding her solitary lifestyle, but she is beginning to long for something more, something deeper, something different, and her long lost relatives are looking to create ties that might ameliorate those feelings. Overall, a good read and strong addition to the series.
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,456 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2020
Not my favorite of the Kinsey series, but it was good. In this book she is hired to find a brother that has been missing, and he stands to inhered about 5 million. This book shows the more money you have does not mean the better you are. Money sometimes makes things harder.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,735 reviews938 followers
October 11, 2019
I ended up finishing this book last night and found the overall story to work quite well, while also providing us more details into Kinsey's maternal family as well as her relationship with Dietz. I was surprised by the ending though since I honestly couldn't figure out who the murderer was, and when we understand what happened and why I felt pity for the character of Guy Malek. Grafton is often able to write a victim of a murder in such a way that you get a pretty sense of them. She does the same thing here for Guy Malek.

"M is for Malice" is the 13th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. At this point readers should know the particulars, but of course Grafton lays them out for us again. Things are a bit different in this one though with Kinsey finally coming face to face with a maternal cousin she didn't know about until a few books ago. Kinsey's cousin Tasha talks to her about doing some work for her and that coincides with Robert Dietz popping back into Kinsey's life.

One of the many things that will make me sad about Sue Grafton passing away is that we never will get a resolution about Kinsey's romances. I know who I am rooting for though (no spoilers).

Kinsey in this one is more emotionally fragile than we are used to. She has to come to terms to realizing what her Aunt Gin told her about their family was a lie. And Kinsey has to come to terms with that she really isn't as much a loner as she professes. When her cousin Tasha asks her about tracking down wayward son, Guy Malek, Kinsey meets someone she has an instant kinship with. Something about Guy has Kinsey wanting to protect him, and when she sees how his family treats him, starts to feel worried that he should just leave the family home and get his inheritance. When Guy is found murdered though, Kinsey decides she is going to find out who killed Guy and why.

The secondary characters are good in this one. The Malek family is a mess and a half and Grafton does a great job of showcasing all of the personalities as well as the servants that the family employs. Dietz sticks around for this one, which is surprising. It's been almost 3 years since Kinsey has seen him or heard from him and I definitely get why she was reluctant to have him near her again. I liked them together though in this one, Kinsey having someone to bounce ideas off of and also run down leads was interesting.

The writing is typical Grafton. I usually get into a reading groove with these books and just hang on for the ride. The flow worked though I wanted at times the story to go faster since it felt like Kinsey was just spinning her wheels. The setting of the book is mostly in Santa Teresa.

Next up is N is for Noose!
5,288 reviews105 followers
December 1, 2022
4 Stars. One of Sue Grafton's good ones. Her Alphabet series, set in the 1980s but written more recently, stands the test of time. Ones I've not opened are much anticipated reads for me. Grafton's private eye, Kinsey Millhone, is always hesitant about getting close to her late mothers' family from whom she is estranged. Instinctively, you know that the reluctance is much more on Kinsey's side; she's a loner and perceives slights which may not stand up to reality. You can feel her defences go up when cousin, Tasha Howard, the daughter of her mother's sister, calls. Tasha is an estate attorney and a client, Bader Malek, a giant in California's gravel and development industry, has died. He has 4 sons - Donovan, Guy, Bennet and Jack. But to probate a very old will and disperse the significant funds, all four must be accounted for. Guy, the family black sheep, needs to be located. He's been missing for 18 years! Gone to Canada or Australia? Dead? Reluctantly, Kinsey takes the case and finds a warring mess. There's $5 million at stake and it's every heir for himself. 'Malice' is the right word for the title. Yes, Kinsey finds Guy, but that's just part of the story. (November 2022)
Profile Image for Jaksen.
1,332 reviews57 followers
April 25, 2021
I think my favorite so far!

A great blend of the main character's life, aspirations, problems, etc. along with a knotty, difficult-to-untangle crime. It all starts with a rather small job for Kinsey Millhone, the MC in this series. Kinsey's a private eye who rents a room in a law office, and usually her jobs are kind of ordinary: watching a supposedly adulterous spouse, for example, or running down info at the local town hall. When a long-lost cousin, a lawyer, asks Kinsey to find a person who went missing twenty years ago...

It becomes a simple 'piece of cake.' Find his address, what he's been doing, etc., make contact, which she does. (This isn't spoilerish, it's the lead up to the BIG story here and happens early on.) But what looks like a simple case for Kinsey, make a few bucks, move on, becomes something MUCH BIGGER. (And uglier.)

Kinsey also reunites with an old male 'friend,' with surprising results.

Sue Grafton's alphabet series is best taken in order, as things advance, people come and go, and situations develop, or not. The series would make a great, (only if well-executed), TV series. However, and from what I know, Ms. Grafton specified this never happen, and her heirs seem determined that be the case. But I think with careful oversight from those who knew her, and her family, etc., this would be wonderful to see...

Of course you'd lack a lot of Kinsey's inner dialogue along the way, which is what often happens when books leap to the screen, either big or small.

Regardless, a great read.

Five stars
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,058 reviews152 followers
March 16, 2019
PI Kinsey Millhone is reluctant to take a case from one of her recently discovered cousins, Tasha Howard, but the case is too intriguing to turn down. The head of Malek Construction has recently died, and the only will anyone can find divides his estate among his four sons. The problem is no one has heard from Guy, the black sheep of the family, since he was supposedly disinherited almost twenty years ago. Can Kinsey pick up a very cold trail and find him?

Those familiar with the series will know what to expect, plenty of family drama and a case that is much more complicated than it sounds. Yes, things slow down a bit in the middle, but I suspected what was coming next and I found that suspense more than enough to keep me reading. Kinsey is the star of this series, and her slow growth is enjoyable to watch. We do get a bit from other series regulars, but we spent the most time with the characters related to the mystery, and they are all strong. I was especially happy to note that a group of Christians Kinsey meets don’t turn out to all be hypocrites or extremists, which is what I expect almost every time I run across that in a mystery. Fans of Kinsey who haven’t read this book yet are in for a strong entry in the series.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for Darinda.
8,167 reviews145 followers
March 5, 2018
Kinsey works a case to locate a man who is set to inherit a large sum of money. He is estranged from his family, due to his being black sheep of the family. His life has improved, and Kinsey believes only trouble can arise if he returns home to his family. She's right. Also, Robert Dietz is back.

The 13th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. A solid mystery. What starts as a simple case of finding someone, ends with murder, and Kinsey works to figure out who the killer was.

I listened to an audio version of this book.
67 reviews2 followers
March 29, 2020
This book was an ok mystery about four brothers who inherit their father’s estate. One of them, Guy, was a ne’er do well and has been missing for 18 years. The family hires a detective (the protagonist) to see if he is still alive. I won’t give anymore of the details to avoid any spoilers.
349 reviews56 followers
January 4, 2023
This is about a murder mystery where the murder doesn't happen until halfway through the book. Up to when the murder happens, we hear about the rich fighting over an inheritance and a harlequin romance with the main character. This is an unfunny Janet Evanovich novel in which I guessed the ending.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,842 reviews31 followers
February 6, 2019
Another good entry in the series. This one starts as a missing persons case and goes from there. I liked that Dietz made a return appearance. This one kept me guessing too and I was surprised at the outcome.
Profile Image for Mistydawn Thrash.
46 reviews10 followers
April 24, 2013
This was my first Sue Grafton novel, and it's just like me to start in the middle! This author has been suggested to me several times as an easy read, a little suspense/little romance/little thriller, and something enjoyeable that doesn't take a lot of attention.

It was just that. I was able to put this book down for a week at a time, pick it up and be right back where I was without having to scan the last few pages. The story itself was a little frivolous to me as a private investigator novel but that does not mean that I didn't have fun reading it. There were several times where I thought, "Really, you're just going to guess that and it's just going to be right?" as Kinsey, the main character, tries to solve her mysteries. I really appreciated some of the human aspecst of the novel that I don't usual find in the "private eye genre" that was more believeable then the story line itself. A morning jog to wash away the morning, a tiny apartment with a bending ear landlord, a bum knee described accurately, relationship issues, and other tiny flecks throughout the story that made me forget the fact that story had herinfatuated with some guy she only knew a couple days. Even if instant attraction is there, she is supposed to be ex-law enforcement and P.I. and for some reason I just prefer my women of that genre to be a bit more suspicious of someone then I felt she was.

I'm not sure I could buy the whole, pick up a stranger and drive him around, meet him behind the house, take a stroll around the vast premises...even if he was cute. A private eye should probably have a bit more sense then that, in my opinion. I didn't really understand the supernatural aspect of the novel either, but I think that could be one of those things I would understand should I have started with "A" instead of "M"?

Overall, if I find another Grafton novel hanging around I'll pick it up for a read later. Wasn't a page turner. It wasn't a toss aside. It was solid.

Profile Image for Randee Baty.
289 reviews21 followers
June 3, 2013
Kinsey is asked by her cousin Tasha to find a missing heir for a family that really doesn’t want him back. He left years ago, running from him “bad boy” and “black sheep” reputation. Of course, she finds him and seeing how his life has changed, she advises him that going back would probably only cause bad things to happen. Sure enough, he goes back and sure enough, bad things happen.

Sue Grafton is excellent at drawing characters that we really don’t like and she definitely has those in this book. The mystery is not difficult. All the clues are there. What makes this book different is the emotional depth that Kinsey feels for the missing heir. It contrasts starkly with the emotional distance she usually keeps from just about every other human being. It was a bit disconcerting for me.
Dietz was a back and that’s always a good thing for me. The characters that usually ground Kinsey in her world, Rosie and Henry, were not in much evidence. I miss them when they are gone.

Sue Grafton is never formulaic and once again we get a story that is different and intriguing. Halfway through the alphabet and I’m still enjoying them.
Profile Image for Quenya.
294 reviews16 followers
March 7, 2018
Really wanted to take a shower after this book – it just left me feeling dirty. None of the characters are that likable except for the dead person and the murderer. I don’t know how Kinsey survived this book emotionally because it was a rough ride.

As I listened to this book, all I could think was it should have been the “G” book for Greed because the Malik family was a whole bunch of greedy bast****. Kinsey gets rolled into this family drama through a lost heir search and results in her solving a cold case and a murder. Since she is hired by her family, there is that additional drama added to the situation plus the victims in both cases may have been adults but there was a level childhood innocence that truly makes the bad guys seem even more disgusting in my opinion. The sad part of this story is I felt there was no justice in the ending of this book for those victims.

Kinsey also has deal with the return of Dietz, her on/off love interest – these parts of the book are hard for me because I don’t see what Kinsey really sees in this guy but it’s her life. The best of these books is of course Judy Kaye who is the phenomenal voice of this series.
Profile Image for Tanisha Peck.
120 reviews
April 16, 2013
After reading the disappointing "L" book, I took a short break. I'm so glad this one didn't disappoint me, otherwise I would have found it even more difficult to continue on with the series.
I was glad that Dietz returned, even if he wasn't as saucy as last time. I hope he stays on for at least a couple more books.
I have the same complaints as usual. The continued parking updates, scenery verbal diarrhea, and explanations regarding Milhone's technique. I understand this is probably meant for those that don't read the series in order, but instead just pick up a book. Still I find it annoying. However, I won't make the same mistake in reading several books within a few days. I'll stretch them out so that these annoyances don't build up and threaten to explode like last time.
I was glad that this one wasn't as "dangerous" as some of the others. It was a bit more light. Someone was murdered of course, but Milhone wasn't running for her life and being shot at. It was just what I needed: more concentration on Milhone herself and not as much dramatic danger.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
912 reviews19 followers
November 26, 2008
The 13th installment of the Kinsey Millhone mysterys and the books are still going strong.
In this installment, Kinsey is hired to find a missing man who was named equally in his fathers will along with his three brothers. Sadly he has been missing nearly 20 years and the other brothers are not real keen on her finding him.
I feel like as the series progresses Sue Grafton is allowing Kinsey to become more and more real in the sense that she is allowing her to develope friendships and family ties. I think this can sometimes fall flat as in the case with Dietz - her on again off again love interest. I feel like she is more intraspective on her developing relationship with her new found family than she is on the only real love interest she has had.
Profile Image for Badseedgirl.
1,258 reviews62 followers
July 1, 2022
Kinsey Milhone was so emotional in this book. To me she was so connected to Guy Malek because his family dynamic was reminiscent of what she is dealing with in her own family.
Profile Image for Roxana Dreptu.
413 reviews10 followers
April 24, 2020
This one caught me in a more relaxed state of mind and I was able to give it my full attention. What surprised me were the traces of redemption, salvation and a little bit of spiritism here and there - is Kinsey turning superstitious? I liked the way crime didn't pay - but I found it a tad moralizing in this case. Interesting characters, entertaining action and a welcomed return of Dietz. Could be the book in the series I've enjoyed most so far.
Profile Image for hotsake (André Troesch).
590 reviews9 followers
April 29, 2023
The first half of the book is all whiny, juvenile self-pitying bullshit, I mean the story doesn't even really kick in until the halfway point. Kinsey was frustratingly obnoxious to the point where I think that if the series doesn't drastically improve with the next book I'll need to give up on the series.
Profile Image for Elyse.
2,501 reviews123 followers
July 28, 2017
Dietz! But Dietz... this book was very personal for Kinsey, between Dietz and Tasha and her instant friendship with Guy. This was a good book. I had no idea who did the killing or why. I didn't like the Malecs and suspected all of them, including Christy. But the ending left a little be desired. Still a good book though! Everytime my husband heard 'Bader' he thought she was saying 'Vader.' lol
17 reviews1 follower
July 27, 2018
Picked up this copy while on vacation. It was a perfect beach read but it doesn't make me want to consume the series.
Profile Image for David Highton.
2,849 reviews14 followers
April 18, 2018
I much preferred this book to the previous book in the series, a complex mystery of a complex family spread over two different time periods, with Kinsey gradually untangling the web.
Profile Image for Moira.
512 reviews25 followers
January 1, 2010
Could have sworn I read all the Graftons, but apparently not this one! or if I did, I COMPLETELY forgot it. Uh. Not a good brain day for me today. Maybe I should try some ginkgo whatsit.

-- Blew through this -- not great, but a pretty good comfort read while lying in bed sick. Definitely better than N or P, not as good as O (last one I reread before this), nowhere near my earlier favourites K, G, F, E, &c &c (I should go through and at least rank all of them, if not write mini-reviews, but am just not up to that right now). 2.5 stars rather than 2, really -- might've gone up to three if there hadn't been the supernatural stuff, which annoyed me. I did like the focus on Kinsey's emotions and the way the compartmentalization and detachment she's built up over the years starts slipping: it's not just the impact of all the loss she's suffered, from her parents to Guy, and the griefwork she hasn't done for any of it, but more like a reminder that she's investigating _murders,_ and that we'll all lose our own lives in the end, whether to homicide or a different killer, like heart failure. I liked the referrals back to the earlier book with Dietz ('obedience without whining'), altho I'd've liked to have seen that fleshed out more, for both of them. But I guess this isn't that kind of novel. It's funny the way in which the books that are most openly about death (especially given how the sudden, maliciously motivated deaths propelling those books obviously stand in for the hair-raising intimations of our own mortality we all have and then quickly brush aside) are by convention the ones least likely to explore the emotional consequences of that, or perhaps that's not coincidental at all.

That reminds me I really want to pick up the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, altho frankly when I looked at the second volume (on sale at the local QFC some weeks ago, sorry now I didn't get it) it seemed awfully clunkily translated.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,016 reviews

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