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J is for Judgment

(Kinsey Millhone #10)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  49,051 ratings  ·  765 reviews
"J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

"In truth, the facts about Wendell Jaffe had nothing to do with my family history, but murder is seldom tidy and no one ever said revelations operate in a straight line. It wa
Paperback, 360 pages
Published December 16th 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published 1993)
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John Toffee Personally I'd say no. Whilst the books are individual stories they do refer back to earlier books and the character development is lost.

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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  49,051 ratings  ·  765 reviews

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Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to J is for Judgment, the 10th book in the "Kinsey Millhone" mystery series, written in 1993 by Sue Grafton. As I read the book details of this one, I vivdly recalled the main character, Wendall Jaffe, and Kinsey's pursuit of this case. Wendall supposedly died 5 years ago, and his wife collected major bucks from his insurance policy. But when he's spotted alive not all that far away, Kinsey takes the case. And when she gets into it, her life starts to expl
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

Kinsey Millhone is on the trail of this Jaffe fellow. Each book has its own flavor. I didn't give the book 5 stars because of some dead passages where attempts to drum up suspense were lost on me. Once where Kinsey thought someone was shadowing her, and once where she was being pummelled with bullet
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another insurance fraud case, yay! I see my letter-writing campaign paid off.
I have sooooo many notes on this book that there is no way I can fit it all in one review without one of you wanting to stab yourself in the eyeballs just to get me to shut up. So, I'll try and briefly hit on a few instead.

Here's the important thing about this series that I haven't even mentioned yet:
Eve Dallas was definitely based upon the heroine of this series, Kinsey. Here is the evidence:
She's an orphan (though not
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun, entertaining read but for me not one of her best. I am still debating whether I like Kinsey or not but I will say she certainly has no shame!
The story in this one was good and I totally missed on who the murderer was going to be. There is a great need to suspend belief while reading though because many of the events are unrealistic.
Anyway - good entertainment when you need a light read!
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Over the years, the late Sue Grafton has been one of those authors I keep returning to again and again. I like her funny, gritty female private eye protagonist Kinsey Millhone. Plus, she is relentless along with smart. Ms. Grafton's vivid California settings and culture remind me of Ross Macdonald's mysteries. She uses just the right amount of detail to enliven her scenes. She remains one of my favorite mystery authors. I hope I don't wait too long to read another title in her series.
Kinsey Millhone is one of my favourite fictional detectives. I read several books in Sue Grafton's 'Alphabet' series some years ago, and loved them. It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with Kinsey this time, with the letter J, which I had not read previously.

As always, Kinsey is an endearing mixture of gauche and genius, as she darts around, following leads and munching on junk food. 'J for Judgment' concerns a case of life insurance fraud, in which a supposedly deceased businessman seems to
Mark Baker
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2018
Kinsey is surprised to be hired once again by California Fidelity. They’ve just paid out a claim on Wendell Jaffe’s life insurance five years after his supposed dead at sea only to hear he’s been spotted down in Mexico. Kinsey locates Jaffe only to have him vanish again. Can she prove he is still alive?

This is another fantastic mystery. The characters are strong and help pull us in. The story itself has plenty of twists and turns before we reach the climax. We have some time for updates from the
Wow. This was a really good one to sink your teeth into. We have Kinsey showing why she is really a good investigator and her also having to deal with changes to her professional life. I thought the writing was great as well as the flow of the book. The ending comes with a very nice gut punch too. What is great though is that some of these characters pop up in a later book.

In "J is for Judgment" Kinsey is asked to investigate if Wendell Jaffe is still alive. This is an issue because years ago,
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
In which we never find out the whole truth and we (and Kinsey) find out about her family. As good as always. ‘K’ I’m on my way!
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book series gets better with every book.
Benjamin Thomas
This 10th book of the “Alphabet” series is the first one I’ve rated with 5 stars. I’m having a hard time pin-pointing exactly why though. It’s not specifically because Ms. Grafton has “stepped it up a notch” in her writing although the writing has gotten better and better over the series and she is now content to let her characters interact naturally instead of forced into a plot. It’s also not due to our heroine Kinsey Millhone becoming an even more interesting character, even though I find mys ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another great read. More personal facts revealed about the main character. As usual, this novel kept me guessing to the last page.
Another one of those where I didn’t really like any of the characters, they weren’t as bad as the characters in “D is for Deadbeat” but still kind of unlikable. Given that most of them have some past experience with Wendell Jaffe the reasons for the actions a little more understandable.

The best part of this book was all the insight we gained into how Kinsey thinks and her moral code. I really admire her drive for the truth and the value she places on human life – any human life. She really want
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
DNF: I tried to read some of these years ago, and never made it through one. I got a couple in a trade, and resolved to try again. Same results.

At some point during the novels, I start hearing mediocre comedienne Paula Poundstone as the author's voice, and I can't take the book seriously anymore. I'm sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, a-to-y-reread
I loved this one! The last two seemed to be a bit slow moving, but this one had all the right things. On to K!

On a side note, the one thing that REALLY bothers me in this series that I didn’t notice the first time around (which was almost 20 years ago, so please forgive the memory lapse) is the constant body shaming. Kinsey describes Vera, her closest thing to a best friend, as a “big woman” then follows it up with the description of her being 5’10 and 140 lbs. IN WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS A “BIG WO
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Well, after reading ten of them, I'm reasonably certain that Sue Grafton does not know how to write a bad book. I feel a bit repetitive, but J is for Judgment is terrific. Well written, strong characters, emotional roller coasters, suspense and mystery. Such a great detective series. Kinsey is fantastic, and I love seeing her adapt and grow. I also love the lack of technology and how she always makes it work for her.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm finding it interesting that as I'm rereading these a lot of times I will remember only one thing about the story (in this case that Kinsey goes to Mexico) and not remember anything else about the story. This one was fun watching her track a "dead" man and seeing what was important to Kinsey and what was important to her client. Also fun to see her personal life have some shake up going on with it too.
Rameez Nasser
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I find some in this series very good; others to be so-so. This is one of the latter. No matter what alphabet letter, I like Kinsey Millhone. As a PI she's very real, not a superwoman. As a person, she's enjoyable.
In "J" she's hired by her former employer, an insurance company to find if a certain man is dead or alive. He's a tricky little sucker, having committed a Ponzi scheme, then vanishes. The company has paid out $500,00 to his wife. Is she really widowed or not? Along the way, we have one
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of this series, and "J" didn't disappoint. PI Kinsey Millhone is a good character, and this story about a Ponzi Scheme crook who faked his death and then suddenly reappeared was engaging and perfect for the beach, which is where I was while reading it.
Originally seen on my book blog!

I knew from the beginning that this had a great story line and was hopeful that it would be a promising book. It was. From the beginning we are thinking a lot of things, for one, why did he fake his suicide? For two, what is now going to happen to his widows insurance money? And for three, is he going to get caught?

The only thing that doesn’t thrill me about these books is that there are always new characters and it can sometimes be hard to keep track of who is wh
in which kinsey visits mexico on the lookout for wendell jaffe, a ponzi schemer who staged his own suicide before leaving the country.

the thing that struck me yet again is that, for a self-alleged misanthrope, kinsey is really good at getting people to talk to her and trust her. she's constantly showing up unannounced at people's homes demanding information and they all invite her in for coffee and a chat, and allow her to come back even after she pisses them off. i know that this stuff makes th
Alondra Miller
3.5 Stars

Pretty good, drama-filled story; with Kinsey being on the slightly bitchy side. I know her job is to get at the truth; but she is NOT a cop. Her self-righteousness, and her being hell-bent on getting at the truth irked me something fierce. She has no right going into other peoples lives. No one has to tell her a damn thing. She is persistent to the point of bullying. People aren't able to grieve, because she is right there saying, "Hey, give me what I want!"

I still love her spunkiness;
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first book in the series I gave a 5 star rating too because it was that good. I love that Kinsey stuck it to her old employer and office provider and that she learns some things about herself in the process.

The scene where she sneaks into the hotel room of a suspect is one of the best in the series and I loved the book from beginning to end.

I can't believe how good this series is.
Michelle Beteta
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm partial to this series because I went to school near Santa Barbara and lived in San Luis Obispo, CA for five years. The author does a fair job of describing costal living while weaving murder and intrigue along the way. The main character is whimsical and I enjoy her relationships as they are unconventional and unpredictable.

Read 1/2/19 | 4 stars

Book synopsis: For Kinsey Millhone, the investigation started with a surprise visit from an ex-colleague at California Fidelity – the company that had fired her nine months previously.

Fives hours later she was on a plane to Mexico, hot on the trial of a suicide who'd allegedly just come back to life. After a five year wait, Wendell Jaffe's widow had finally succeeded in having the real estate swindler declared dead, collecting half a millio
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Kinsey Millhone works a case involving insurance fraud... a death benefit has been paid in a case where the deceased has recently been spotted and was clearly not dead. The supposedly deceased man was a con artist, and seemed to have a lot to run from when his mysterious death occurred.

The 10th book in the Kinsey Millhone mystery series. Kinsey is back and working a case with her usual cleaver and witty ways. This book introduced more of Kinsey's past, which was an interesting side story, and I
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This one was kind of lame. She does the footwork to find the guy, but then doesn't follow through and loses him, which sets her on a course of traveling (literally) round and round to various other characters trying to figure things out, and it got tedious. On the other hand, a much better (speculative) ending than most.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been getting this series all over the place; physical library, Audible, e-library audio, and consignment stores! Every format. I liked this one. Wendell Jaffe is dead. Or is he? I wasn't sure where this was going for awhile. There were a lot of potential suspects even though there wasn't a murder. Who was helping Wendell? I liked the ending, a bit more of a mystery.
Susan Miller
This is the 10th in the alphabet series of books featuring Kinsey Millhone as protagonist. I had previously read this book, most likely, when it was published in 1993. I remembered the general concepts of the book, however I was fuzzy on the details - so the ending was actually a surprise. Ms. Grafton has a wonderful way of blending description, dialogue and plot. I enjoy this, but if you are not into several sentences on frying chicken, or waves crashign of the beach, you may not like this book ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hits the spot

So, here I am reviewing an 18 year old Sue Grafton novel. What does this tell me? It could be telling me that I need to find more current things to read, but I remember 1993 just fine so this book did not feel old to me. What it really tells me is that I have not come anywhere near reading this series in alphabetical order and have never went out of my way to find them. Not that I don't like them - I have liked all but a couple. It is more like they have been my backup books when I'
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Kinsey Millhone (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1)
  • B is for Burglar  (Kinsey Millhone, #2)
  • C is for Corpse  (Kinsey Millhone, #3)
  • D is for Deadbeat (Kinsey Millhone, #4)
  • E is for Evidence (Kinsey Millhone, #5)
  • F is for Fugitive (Kinsey Millhone, #6)
  • G is for Gumshoe (Kinsey Millhone, #7)
  • H is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone, #8)
  • I is for Innocent (Kinsey Millhone, #9)
  • K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone, #11)

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