A distraught mother is convinced that her daughter's death was at the hands of a murderer still on the loose. An incriminating videotape shows the victim, Lorna Kepler, to be more than a random target. A weary detective looks at a body and a life that offer little in the way of clues. All these faces and facts come to the attention of P.I. Kinsey Millhone, who is, as always, working on too much coffee and too little sleep.
Millhone soon finds herself knee-deep in vice and violence in the fictional town of Santa Teresa. The 11th book in this series (J Is for Judgment, I Is for Innocent) is, by far, the eeriest. Grafton exhibits a sharp ear for dialogue and a quarter-horse pace. Her characters are as real as any this side of Elmore Leonard. K Is for Killer offers further proof of Grafton's growth as a writer. This is one mystery series that gains strength with each passing letter. (Holt, $22.95)