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Publisher's Summary

Lorna Kepler was beautiful and willful, a loner who couldn't resist flirting with danger. Maybe that's what killed her.

Her death had raised a host of tough questions. The cops suspected homicide, but they could find neither motive nor suspect. Even the means were mysterious: Lorna's body was so badly decomposed when it was discovered that they couldn't be certain she hadn't died of natural causes. In the way of overworked cops everywhere, the case was gradually shifted to the back burner and became another unsolved file. Only Lorna's mother kept it alive, consumed by the certainty that somebody out there had gotten away with murder. So she hired Kinsey Millhone, P.I.

Don't miss the other titles in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mystery Series.
©1994 Sue Grafton (P)1994 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Grafton's latest is one of her best." ( Booklist)

Featured Article: Best Mystery Series—Listens That'll Take You Right to the Crime Scene


While a standalone mystery is great when you're in the mood for a one-and-done, sometimes you want to feed your craving with an entire mystery series—knowing there's a world and characters you can keep coming back to for the satisfaction of solving crimes. With audiobooks, you get the added bonus of sinking deeper into the setting, clues, and suspects as the story is performed for you, so you'll feel like you're alongside detectives, ready to bust a case.

What listeners say about K Is for Killer

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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This Series Covers a Lot of Ground

This is a very solid series of mysteries. Even though this is close to the middle, the setting has barely budged from the 80's where it began. Which is fine, in a world of gadgets, because everything is simpler (and the book was written in '97). The books have a lot of little insights and little snippets of humor. Characters are described at length, and there is a general sense of gray (not truly dark) everywhere. This is probably one of the darker in the series, being about a woman (the deceased) who is a very successful prostitute. Basically, this is the meat of the series, that the people are complicated, and there are lots of corners to explore. Most of the books in the series have a lot to say about how hard it is to be young, and how tragic it often turns out to be. If you want a long series of books to read, the Grafton's are a good possibility.

5 people found this helpful

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Another Kinsey Millhone favorite!

What did you love best about K Is for Killer?

Wow - It's tough to just pick one thing I love about this book. Every Kinsey book is wonderful and special in it's own way. However, I loved seeing the friendship develop between Danielle and Kinsey.

What other book might you compare K Is for Killer to and why?

I would compare this book to C is for Corpse, simply because of the protectiveness and loyalty Kinsey develops towards certain characters much like she developed for Bobby and his family.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mary Peiffer?

Judy Kaye is the only narrator I consider as the "voice" of Kinsey.

3 people found this helpful

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Weak Entry in the Kinsey Millhone Series

It's almost worth skipping this one. If Grafton's character development didn't take place over multiple novels, I would. As it is, you probably should give this a listen if you are already committed to the series. I did and I found that all the typical Grafton weaknesses were on display and new ones were added. Unfortunately, the strong plot development that ordinarily compensates for these weaknesses is lacking this time.

Major weakness include:

Non-existent character development, especially with most characters that do not recur in the series, and including this novel's villain.

Unusually poor plot development. Ordinarily, this is Grafton's strength. It is MIA with this novel.

Exceptionally poorly drawn villain. When the villain is revealed, I wager you will find yourself asking WHO??? followed quickly with WHY??? If so, your questions will go largely unanswered.

An incredibly abrupt ending, with virtually all minor plot lines left dangling.

An uncharacteristically maudlin summary from Millhone in the Epilogue.

Typical Series weaknesses also continue, including:

The absence of the sort of cues that most author's use to remind readers of the identities of different characters, especially when many characters are introduced throughout the novel. Here, at most, you will be reminded of a character's first name. If you don't remember who they are among the dozen plus characters new to the novel, well, at least you have a rewind button.

And perhaps the greatest weakness of the series ~ the narrator. These novels were recorded early in the evolution of audiobooks, which is the only reason I can imagine that this narrator found any work. It seems to me that a narrator should, at least, pronounce words correctly. This one muffs some incredibly common ones ~ very distracting when listening. Characterizations, dramatic pacing, inflection ... all the other narrative skills are also weak or missing altogether.

I am 11 books into this series, and beginning to despair. Unusually, writers improve as they develop a series. That is not happening here. Sigh.

9 people found this helpful

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Recording is awful

There are so many skips in this recording that sometimes caused lack of understanding. Some times it is part of a word. Sometimes part of a sentence. It is like listening to a scratched LP.

1 person found this helpful

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Kinsey Millhone is a great character

Would you listen to K Is for Killer again? Why?

I repeatedly listen to all the 'alphabet' series I have and am in the process of getting the ones I have missed in the past. The stories are very engaging.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and wish I could.

1 person found this helpful

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The Usual

If you like Sue Grafton, then you will like this one. Nothing out of the ordinary, but that's what I like about the Grafton books is that you pretty much know you are going to have a decent detective story without wondering if you are going to hear something that you don't want to un-hear.

2 people found this helpful

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Respectfully submitted…

After listening to the epic narration done by Judy Kaye on so many of these Kinsey books for the better part of 25 years, I am new to this voice. Though the narration on this was so much better than in “J”, I can say this…Mary Pfeiffer makes Kinsey an unlikeable brat. Judy has always allowed Millhone to be a bit of a funny and sarcastic character, though Kinsey is definitely a questionable protagonist. Pfeiffer makes it nearly impossible to like her (Kinsey) at all. I will give this book more credit than J was, but I’ll add that the end proves that K goes out with quite a whimper and zero bang. I want an unabridged version done by Judy Kaye or I’ll stick with the unsatisfactory idea that I’m done with the Alphabet series. Glad I listened to them back in the 90’s-2000’s.

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Very good story.

This was a well written book as all of Graftons. The narrator is so so. doesn't sound much like a hard nosed investigator. Judy Kaye much better.

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My Favorite Sue Grafton Novel This Far

"K" is for Killer is eleventh novel in a series of modern detective novels authored by Sue Grafton. The novels are titled in alphabetical order. The setting is California in the 1980s. Her protagonist is Kinsey Millhone, a 30 something female. She is an interesting combination of modern American Female and the classic noir detective.

I have been reading these novels in order. This is my favorite thus far. Each novel stands alone. There are references to prior novels that adds to my personal enjoyment.

As an audiobook this novel is very well read. The narrator, Mary Peiffer, captures Kinsey Millhone and this adds further to my personal reading enjoyment.

I read as I listen. Sue Grafton writes a lot about scenery. I need to listen and read carefully to fully enjoy these episodes. If one is not into writing about scenery, one may not enjoy these novels as I do. Thank You...

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Another "Hit" for Grafton

Grafton excelled on this one She has us chasing our tails front to back, back to front, questioning everything but finding nothing...spine tingling none the less.