Sabrina Reads: D is for Deadbeat

Sabrina Reads

Dear Readers,

I just finished watching the final season of Jessica Jones on Netflix and I’m sad that it’s over. It was a good season, as good as the first one, I think. The examination of what good and evil look like, versus what they are actually like runs through this series. It’s easy to identify the person in a cape as the Good Guy, and the cackling Bad Guy as evil through-and-through, but people aren’t always what they seem. Even a person you love can be bad.

I also love the hardboiled vibes of Jessica Jones, so a Sue Grafton review feels like the right thing.

Has anyone read the Jessica Jones graphic novel series? I’m interested in reading it now.


D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton

This has been my least favourite of the Kinsey Millhone series, partly because I didn’t feel it gave Kinsey much room for growth. This story was just a quick stop onto the next big thing in her life—hopefully coming next in E is for Evidence.

The book takes on the same topic as many of the Netflix Marvel series: Is vigilantism ever acceptable? Given that Kinsey, like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and others, operates outside of the official channels of justice, it’s an interesting question. But unfortunately, Grafton isn’t having any characters seriously questioning Kinsey’s right to operate, unless they have something to hide.

Frankly, it’s a missed opportunity for something intriguing and different. That said, it’s a solid hard-boiled detective story and part of a series I’m quite enjoying, so although it’s a solid meh, it’s not worth skipping if you want to read the entire alphabet series (which I am).

Extracurricular Reading and Watching

Some context on how the Alphabet series fits into American hardboiled detective fiction. Even if you don’t love the genre, or you don’t love this particular series, it’s worth appreciating that it was groundbreaking (and Grafton wasn’t alone in breaking that ground). For most of the 20th century, women were usually obstacles and/or sex pots in the genre. I love Raymond Chandler, but he does lack for strong female characters.

Speaking of super heroes as vigilantes, with the immense popularity of superhero movies comes the inevitable analysis of whether they are actually the good guys. This has, of course, been taken on in a super-meta way in Marvel movies and TV shows, without many consequences for movie superheroes, but plenty for the small fry of the Netflix series. Here’s a take on ethics in comic world-building focused on DC.

This is also a great opportunity to share with you my favourite historical Canadian vigilante story: The Black Donnellys. A group of Catholics calling themselves the Biddulph Peace Society massacred nearly the entire Donnelly family in the name of vigilante justice. There were two trials, with no one being found guilty in either one. The surviving Donnelly brother rebuilt his house on the land where his family was killed—which still stands there today (and you can visit—it’s just outside of London, On.).

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge

Sabrina has read 74 books toward her goal of 75 books.


74 of 75 (98%)

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