T is For Trespass, by Sue Grafton (Read by Judy Kaye)
Am I my neighbor's keeper? You are if you're Kinsey Millhone, private investigator, and your neighbor is the cantankerous Gus Vronsky. Although the simple background check she's hired to run on Gus' caregiver, Solana Rojas, uncovers no obvious problems, Kinsey has an unsettling feeling that the caregiver is a dangerous woman. What she learns much later is that the sociopath next door has assumed the identity of the real Solana Rojas and is slowly killing Gus and robbing him of his money and possessions. The more Kinsey tries to help Gus, the more she is thwarted by the clever, murderous Solana impersonator. Not only are Kinsey's reputation and license in jeopardy, but her life almost becomes one more notch on Solana's belt.
Sue Grafton employs an ingenious technique to intensify the drama of the cat and mouse game between Kinsey and Solana. Kinsey's story is told in the first person, while Solana's is told from the third person point of view. The effect is that the listener forms an alliance with Kinsey and sees Solana as an outsider. Judy Kaye's narration effectively portrays both Kinsey's straight forwardness and Solana's sinister conniving.
Kinsey Millhone, like most successful actual private investigators, is working several cases, and Sue Grafton cleverly weaves them together in this thought-provoking thriller. As she investigates the various cases, Kinsey exposes the evils that are visited upon innocent people by unscrupulous criminals. When a young woman refuses to quietly accept responsibility and let her insurance pay for an accident in which she is sited, Grafton is able to disclose some startling aspects of insurance fraud. She shows how phony victims are abetted by crooked doctors and lawyers to defraud innocent, gullible drivers. One of her chilling observations shows how easy it is for sex offenders to blend into communities and continue their involvement with young children.
Elder abuse, child abuse, insurance fraud, theft, murder, identity theft are just some of the dark issues that are dealt with in this engrossing audio book. Even with the seriousness of those issues, though, Grafton has created a book that is entertaining and inspiring. Perhaps we can't eliminate many of the evils of the world, but because of books like this we can recognize them and remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our neighbors.