Book Review: Fallout by Sara Paretsky

FalloutFallout by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fallout is the 18th book in the VI Warshawski series written by Sara Paretsky in 2017. The series stars a ~50ish female Chicago private detective and is in the thriller / suspense genre. Each mystery is contained within a single book, but some characters cross over throughout the series in the subplots. In Fallout, VI’s hired by a friend of her niece’s to check into the disappearance of a cousin. When VI looks further into it, she believes he took off for Kansas with an older mentor, helping to film the woman’s life. VI agrees to take the case and heads to Kansas which she hopes is a short trip. Then, the bodies begin to pile up. The story takes on a much darker focus.

Confident the two are in hiding because of a secret they’ve stumbled upon, VI investigates the larger case that she thinks is the way to find them. Nearly 40 years ago, the US government was testing chemical weapons in a small Kansas town. Some locals were involved, and a few families were impacted. VI finds enemies and friends in this small town, and every time she meets with someone, the person ends up dead or almost dead afterward. Who’s following her? What type of bugs have been planted in her cell phone, motel room, laptop, and car? Is the local sheriff on the side of the good guys or the bad guys? All these come to the forefront in this tragic tale.

On the whole, it’s a clever and complex tale. Something like this has probably happened in real life. It’s one of the more tangible and realistic cases we’ve seen VI tackle. I like how the disappearing duo are African American, but that’s pretty much all we handle in this book–meaning… it’s not about race for once. The crime isn’t an issue of black versus white, or poor versus rich side of town, etc. It’s purely a tale of government versus small town, regardless of ethnicity and financial standing. Paretsky usually shines a light on race relations and corruption, so this was a nice change of pace to have a different kind of social crime occurring.

Another thing I really liked was the new locale and cast of characters. While Mr. Contreras is mentioned, and Lotty shows up for a quick minute, we only see Bernie Fouchard appear with VI. Everything is different, and it helped the book feel newer. I still want to hear all about my Chicago friends again soon, but this one was a good change of pace. One thing I didn’t like very much was the disconnect between the missing duo and the actual shenanigans in the town. Yes, they were sorta mixed up in it, but ultimately, they weren’t impacted and I struggled to understand why NOW. Why did the older woman suddenly need to go back home and drag the young kid with her? Sometimes you have to look the other way, which is fine… but I would’ve preferred a stronger connection.

All that said, it’s one of the clearer and easier plots to follow. Somewhere between a 4 and 4.5 stars, but I’ll round down on this one. One more (#19 – Shell Game) to read next week, then I’m current on this series. The next one comes out in 2020, so I’ll get a break and focus on other fave series and authors for the next few months.

View all my reviews

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.

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