sara paretsky

Book Review: Breakdown by Sara Paretsky

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Breakdown  (V.I. Warshawski, #15)Breakdown by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ‘V.I. Warshawski’ books by Sara Paretsky were one of the first mystery series that I began reading years ago. I’d stopped reading for a few years, then when I picked ’em up again, I’d somehow forgotten this one. I added it to my TBR and recently decided to get caught up this summer. After the first chapter, I thought… ‘oh no, this isn’t very good.’ But I persisted and forced myself to finish it while procrastinating about packing for a trip. By about 10% in, I was hooked again. I’m happy to share my feedback on this book, and if you’ve struggled with the first few chapters, push yourself to get past them. It’ll be worth it.

Warshawski is a tough-as-nails Chicago private eye, reminiscent of the Golden Age detectives from nearly a century ago… with one difference: V.I. is a woman! Tougher than Kinsey Millhone but with a feminine side and a tenderness for some of her family, Victoria Iphigenia is the person you’d want to find the killer. It doesn’t matter if she gets beaten up, shot, drugged, tortured, or stabbed, V.I. always pulls through in the end. In this novel, her cousin, Petra, is running a book group for preteens, and the latest craze is a YA vampire / paranormal series. When some of the girls act out a ritual in the nearby cemetery, they’re unfortunately in for a lot more than expected. Another private eye is stabbed with a stake by a murderer who reminds the girls of a vampire. Throw in a few parents with political ambitions, a wealthy international business mogul, some Nazi / Polish immigrant histories, and a few vengeful but loving mothers, and you’ve got quite a story.

At first, the vampire angle threw me off. I felt like it was gimmicky and silly, not the Warshawski I knew. But once it began settling out, and I ignored the way the preteen girls behaved (seriously, one was just a witch because she didn’t want to get in trouble–and with a murder ten feet from her, what kind of parenting led to that abomination of a child who thought it acceptable to act so spoiled and lie for such reasons!) Then the subplots began to take over, and I felt like the meat and substance were front and center. I enjoyed the twisty path, the historical connections to wars of the past, and the methodical approach to solving the crime.

I’m glad I picked up the series again and will order the next one when I return from vacation. There are 4 more before I’m current, so I can finish them this summer… then what will I read if all my tough female detective series are up to date!?!?! If you haven’t read these before, you don’t necessarily have to go in order, as V.I.’s life is fairly low-key. A few people that die in later books might be alive in earlier ones, so the order could be confusing, but never in regard to the main mystery. Onward I go…

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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.

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Review: Blacklist

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BlacklistBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Blacklist, the 11th book in the “V.I. Warshawski” thriller and mystery series, written in 2004 by Sara Paretsky. What a fantastic book! It had everything from murder to corporate espionage to communism. Spanning a history of nearly 50 years, the story puts VI in the most scary of situations, and it allows Paretsky to truly tell a tale of remarkable prominence. There are so many connections and seedy things happening, you’re not sure how to begin figuring it out. Plus there are two cases she’s got going on at once. Will they intersect? Something tells me they will… they always do. But I’m not going to spoil it for you. They might not actually come together. The best part of this book is Paretsky’s unyielding way of telling the truth and the reality of what’s happening all around us. I’m about 6 books behind on this series, at least a decade or so, and I can’t wait to catch up this summer. She’s always a treat.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Q is for Quarry

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Q is for QuarryBook Review


4 out of 5 stars to Q is for Quarry, the 17th book in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series, written in 2002 by Sue Grafton. An interesting fact about this books: it’s based on a real-life case and discovery. A body was discovered on the road side. Police couldn’t figure out who the woman was. No leads on the case. It sat dormant for nearly 20 years. Grafton hoped to shed some light on the case, as it happened in the 1960s. (Remember, her books take place in the 1980s). In Q is for Quarry, the cops who worked the case are older and unable to do any legwork, but they want to solve it before they die. They hire Kinsey to do the work. She needs money and it sounds intriguing. So she goes for it. In real-life, Grafton worked with artists on facial re-construction surgery and helped move the case forward. In the book, Kinsey always gets her (wo)man. Another fun ride along a murder case, readers are in for a treat when they see some of the ways Kinsey goes about solving this case, as well as her relationship with the cops. I enjoyed this one and would recommend it to series fans and as a new read for someone interested in this type of mystery.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Windy City Blues

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Windy City Blues Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Windy City Blues, a collection of short stories written in 1995 by Sara Paretsky. In the mid-1990s. Paretsky took a short break from writing the lengthy VI Warshawski mystery novels and worked on a few non-VI novels; however, knowing fans would miss their favorite detective, she published this short story collection, focusing entirely on VI Warshawski, her friends and her family. You learn a little more about her personal life, family and friends, and where she comes from. Although it doesn’t fit or match the timeline of the rest of the books, there’s no worry about when you read this one, as it doesn’t really connect to the plots and main characters in the regular series. The first mystery is a bit longer than a short story, having a good amount of meat to it. The rest are a tad too short. It feels more like a person’s diary entry rather than more mystery action with a detective we love. That said, there are a few good ones which make it worth pick up to read from time to time.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Women on the Case

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Women on the Case Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Women on the Case, a collection of short stories curated by Sara Paretsky in 1996. Each of the short stories focuses on a female detective or investigator, bringing to the forefront both female-driven crime stories and a woman’s point of view. While I enjoyed a few of these stories, it wasn’t as strong as A Woman’s Eye, one of the other anthologies Paretsky took the lead on. I enjoy short stories, but this didn’t seem to have the same quality or expanse of styles and characters. It fell short of being a fun read and rather got a little tedious at times. It was good to have a 20 page story to choose from, but I never felt compelled to finish the book. I did read each story, but some were half-skims and overviews, rather than truly digesting a meaty mystery punch. Might work for others, but didn’t do too much for me. Oh well, can’t win them all!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: A Woman’s Eye

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A Woman's Eye Book Review
3.5 out of 5 stars to A Woman’s Eye, a collection of short stories published in 2001 by Sara Paretsky. What’s great about this anthology is it contains short stories from 20+ female crime writers in the 1990s / 2000s. It’s a fantastic way to expose yourself to new authors, styles and characters. For instance, Sue Grafton has a short story with Kinsey Millhone. If you read it, you’ll know whether you may or may not like her full series. Always worth taking a chance on books like this as you get see a quick version of a style before you buy an entire book. Paretsky had a few of these over the years, but this one was by far my favorite. I found 2 new authors from it and started their series, too. Some are not series, also. Give this one a shot.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Total Recall

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Total Recall Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Total Recall, the 10th book in the “VI Warshawski” mystery series, written in 2001 by Sara Paretsky. In this book, Paretsky tackles a prominent social issue surrounding the impact of the Nazis and the Holocaust, the war in Afghanistan and the best way to help a friend through what may seem to be a simple problem (but never is!). I always enjoy her books as it’s not just a mystery about made-up characters whom you really enjoy; it’s also a commentary on what’s wrong and right in the world and in history. And for that reason alone, this is a great book; however, I’m a little squeamish about the topic, as it is painful to read about. One of the better parts of this book is the exploration of Lotty’s and VI’s friendship. We’ve seen it thru 9 books at this point, but in this one, Paretsky breathes life into their past, and in particular, where Lotty comes form. And VI is determined to protect her friend and mentor. If I based my review alone on that component, it’d be a solid 4, but the plot unravels too much towards the end and I didn’t feel satisfied with the outcome and the connections VI shares with everyone involved. Especially given it’s the first time we really see / hear about her dating life. As a result, I knocked it down to a 3, but I’ll still keep reading this series. There’s no one like VI!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews