Book Review: Wildcat by Sara Paretsky

WildcatWildcat by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wildcat is a short story published by Sara Paretsky in between the major novels of her VI Warshawski thriller series. The series focused on a ~50ish female private eye in the 90’s / 00’s based in Chicago. In this ‘prequel’ tale, we meet VI’s parents, who’d passed away before the first book in the series began. We’ve had memories and moments with them, but this actually takes place entirely in the 60s, focusing on the true first case a teenage Victoria Iphigenia takes on. It involves her cousin, Boom Boom, and his mother’s brother (not related to VI).

One thing to say… this story is vivid and direct. All the words we’re ‘not supposed to say’ are clear and present. It’s the 60’s, and while it wasn’t quite okay to say them back then, it was the norm. Everyone from Jewish people to African Americans are teased and mocked. Situations like this always bring up the question — is it okay to write stories about these times? Yes, of course… and no, possibly not. I say that only because sometimes highlighting it helps other people think it’s okay to do or say it. That said, this is a book review, and I’m merely focusing on the mystery aspects of the short story.

VI’s early instincts and rebellion are shown. She’s tough but needs love. Her mother is kind but off-putting. Her aunt is a high holy mess. The priest in their church is downright ridiculous. I forget how much religious figures often told people what they could and couldn’t do in their personal lives. I’m not against it by any means; I was brought up Catholic. But for a priest to tell a child how to behave in public when VI wasn’t doing anything wrong, is absolutely stepping over the boundaries in my opinion, especially when he was clearly just abusing his power. Kudos to Paretsky for making me a bit angry about the characters, in a good way.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.



  1. A good review – I understand how difficult it is to write in the idiom of the time that today we would feel is politically incorrect. However, my view is, that if you dodged the issue then you lose authenticity. VI sounds like my kind of character – thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At least the author got a reaction out of you! Since I lived through those times in the Deep South, I guess I heard it all and was as ignorant that such words were “wrong” as many people there. I hate books that are so bland they don’t affect me either positively or negatively. You know the kind–the ones you turn the last page and just go, “Meh!”

    Liked by 1 person

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