Breakdown, by Sara Paretsky [first appeared Jan. 20 2012]

Breakdown: A V.I. Warshawski Novel

by Sara Paretsky

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Breakdown marks 30 years of Sara Paretsky’s novels about private investigator V.I Warshawski in a way that more than lives up to the expectations of her many fans. All Warshawski was planning on was fulfilling a promise she made to find the missing members of a book club for tween girls run by her cousin Petra. The girls were acting out rituals from the book in a derelict cemetery on a rainy night to summon the undead: all still within the realm of Warshawski’s  everyday routine. Then the discovery of a body near the scene of the ritual, with a length of rebar through its heart, brought this simple job into the realm of murder.

Paretsky, known for her support of liberal causes, delivers an incisive indictment of the vicious state of contemporary American politics inBreakdown, with a tightly plotted story that features a left-supporting, foreign-born, billionaire Holocaust survivor and a conservative pundit with a 24/7 televised bully pulpit from which to spew his twisted half-truths. (It’s no great mystery who Paretsky has in mind in either case.) Paretsky’s masterful treatment of immigrant issues, Chicago society, even teenage readers’ devotion to a certain vampire series propel Breakdown from a merely excellent detective mystery into the realm of social commentary. As Warshawski treads carefully through unforeseen plot twists, encountering a number of herrings (not all of them red), this enthralling page-turner is guaranteed to keep fans reading late into the night. –Judith Hawkins-Tillirson, proprietress, Wyrdhoard books, and blogger at Still Working for Books

Discover: V.I. Warshawski once again saves the day, exposing the ugly truths of Chicago society and U.S. politics.

Putnam, $26.95 hardcover, 9780399157837
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