I first read this book several years ago and it has stuck in my mind ever since then. I think about it often. I was really happy to read it again when it came up this time in my reread of the series and it still has the same appeal it did the first time. When a book can keep you thinking about it for years, the author is definitely doing something right!
Kinsey is contacted by Con Dolan, a police detective that has come up in many of the previous books, to help him with a cold case. He has a friend, one of his early mentors as a detective, who he believes is dying of cancer and needs an interest to keep him alive. He wants to reopen a Jane Doe murder case that they had first investigated 18 years ago. Kinsey is intrigued and joins the investigation.
I don't want to give spoilers but the investigation trail is fascinating to me. How they pick up clues from 18 year old police reports and follow them to the end is really intriguing! The cast of characters they encounter feel like people you know in your everyday life. The settings in the book like the small town and the abandoned condominium development are can be pictured as clearly as if you'd been there yourself. The murderer is unexpected.
Most of this story happens out of Santa Teresa. I don't find myself missing Henry and Rosie though, because the story is so engrossing.
Two more things add a deeper level to this entry in the series. The first is that Kinsey re-encounters her mother's family in a big way. The murder dump site is actually on her family's property and her mother's sister comes to visit her bringing stories and providing photos. The second is that this mystery is based on a true story that Sue Grafton heard about at a dinner party. The sad end to that is, however, that the Jane Doe she heard about has still never been identified or the murderer brought to justice. This kept running through my mind as I was reading and I'm sure it's why this story is so much more poignant than the other stories in the series. This is definitely the best Kinsey yet.