Sara Paretsky


""...this latest book is as satisfying a read as ever." "


This latest book by Sara Paretsky starts with V.I. Warshawski looking out for a bunch of teenage girls intent on performing an initiation ceremony to the Carmilla Club at night in a deserted cemetery. Carmilla is the heroine of a series of cult books about a shapeshifter Queen who turns into a raven at will. The girls are the protégés of V.I.'s niece. Petra, who has turned to her aunt for help when she learns of the meeting in the cemetery. To add to the horror of the situation, a body is discovered on a nearby gravestone. Two of the girls have very influential parents; one is a Democratic candidate for Illinois, one is one of the world's wealthiest men. All parents are concerned about their daughters' safety.

Several complicated strands run through the story; an old friend from Vic's university days gets back in touch. She is in the midst of a manic phase of her bipolar disorder, but she alerts V.I. to her concern about happenings in the local Mental Hospital, before falling from a balcony at the University. A right wing TV presenter appears to be determined to undermine the campaign of the Democratic candidate. Warshawski's ex husband has hired the private eye whose body is found in the cemetery. Somehow, V.I.'s dogged persistence unravels the various plots and culminates in a rather public and melodramatic finale. P.S. The old favourites, Contreras, Jake, Petra, and above all, the dogs, remain to delight.

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Sara Paretsky is one of those authors whose latest book I greet with great delight. V.I. Warshawski is a feisty Private Investigator who defies the passing of years and approaches all her cases with a burning desire to see justice done and a determination to follow all clues to the end, no matter how much physical, emotional and financial damage it does to her. She has slowed down a little but her conviction that the truth must come out remains. 'Breakdown' has a plot that is involved (you need to keep your wits about you), fast moving, never boring and with a cast of new and old favourite characters, this latest book is as satisfying a read as ever. Sara Paretsky in the guise of V.I. Warshawski, is still a great campaigner for the underdog and those at the losing end of society. Long may that continue. I'm not sure about the ending. On the one hand there is a surprising twist, but on the other it is not entirely convincing. Nevertheless, despite this small niggle I have still rated her latest book highly. The arrival of a new Paretsky will delight her ardent readers like me who remains a great fan of the author and her creation, V.I. Warshawski!

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