Beginner’s guide to Kinsey Millhone – Your alternative to beach reads like Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which will make you dumber.
I’ve had trouble falling asleep at night for the last, oh, I don’t know, 15 years or so. Hitting the pillow triggers an “on” button in my brain. I haven’t yet located the “off” button.
For a while, I tried reading books before bed. No good. See, I rarely read strictly for pleasure anymore. It’s all work. It’s work of the kick-ass, count your blessings variety, but at the end of the day work requires time and thought. Work requires work.
Now, the work I’m talking about involves reading novels. Back in grad school I studied 19th-century British literature, analyzing the works of Dickens, the Brontes, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, and dozens of others. These days, I want to be a better writer of literary fiction, so I read and annotate novels. I’m talking about the good stuff, winners of The Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize … you get the idea.
It’s both glorious and exhausting. What I need at night is a good beach read. That’s what I used to think until, confused by the beach read author’s bestseller status and simultaneous inability to craft so much as a single well-written sentence, I’d fling the beach read out my window onto the waiting street below.
That’s where Kinsey Millhone comes in. Kinsey’s a bad-hairday, Quarter Pounder with Cheese eating, neatnik do-gooder sans attitude. She’s also a hard-working thirty-something detective from Santa Teresa, California. Santa Teresa is a made-up town. No worries there since Kinsey Millhone is a fictional character.
Kinsey’s an introvert and a loner. Small talk’s not her thing. Solving crimes after downing a glass of bargain chardonnay—that’s her thing. The writing and plotting and characterization won’t blow you away, but she’s a compelling character, and reading the books in the series won’t make you dumber either. Score!
The best part? The last several nights I’ve fallen asleep after reading a couple of lovely chapters of U is for Undertow. No need to think too hard or take notes in the margins. Just trust this beginner’s guide to Kinsey Millhone I’m dealing you here, flip the page, and enjoy the ride. High five, Kinsey Millhone. In my book (and in yours), you rock.