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Are you fighting cabin fever? Are you longing to escape to another world? Somewhere warm and sunny, exciting and mysterious?

Sue Grafton’s latest Kinsey Milhone novel, V is for Vengeance, is your ticket to ride. The 22nd book of her alphabet series takes you to the shadier side of sunny, fictional St. Theresa, California. Grafton populates the landscape with familiar reoccurring characters. The protagonist Kinsey still acts like a twenty-something holding commitment and permanence at bay, though she’s about to turn 38. Henry, her octogenarian landlord and best friend, puts in his usual, comforting appearance. So does his brother, William the hypochondriac, as well as William’s wife, Rosie and her shudderingly awful Hungarian cooking.

Many of the new characters introduced by Grafton are rich and multifaceted. An organized crime boss who turns out to be anything but stereotypical. The superficial society woman who reveals a surprising depth of character. The low-level career criminal devoted to a wife who discovers she’s a natural cosmetics salesperson. Grafton weaves all these characters into an intricate plot, lacing it with enough suspense and mystery to keep the reader engrossed to the very end.

Other than a preachy tone when describing the details of retail theft rings, Grafton serves up pure entertainment in V is for Vengeance. She is a master at recreating the world of detecting in the late 1980s. Kinsey goes to the library to look at phone books. Phone calls wait until she finds a phone booth or reaches her office or home. Grafton’s also one of the few authors who writes about daily activities beyond food and sex. She mentions trips to the bathroom, doing laundry, cleaning the office, setting the table. She makes Kinsey so real, her protagonist becomes your friend. The kind of friend you miss when you’re apart, but drives you a little crazy whenever you’re together. Those are some of the reasons Grafton’s fans have stuck with her from A through V and are eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

I’m already wondering what W will stand for. Secretly, I’m hoping the book comes out early next winter. By then, I’ll be ready for another adventure in sunny, warm St. Theresa. By then, I’ll miss Kinsey again. By then, I’ll be ready for another of Grafton’s perfect antidotes to cabin fever. How about you?