Read Burn Marks by Sara Paretsky Online


Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.'s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist -- and the secrets hidden behind Elena's boozy smile -- will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago's homeleSomeone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.'s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist -- and the secrets hidden behind Elena's boozy smile -- will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago's homeless... into the Windy City's backroom deals and bedroom politics, where new schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I. off the case -- by hook, by crook, or by homicide....

Title : Burn Marks
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781860496271
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 389 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Burn Marks Reviews

  • James
    2019-02-09 16:33

    I vividly recall seeing the cover for this book when I started reading the series. I had asked for a bunch for Christmas after I read the first two, and this sat on my shelf for weeks as I had a few other books in front of it, plus we couldn't find book 4 for a long time. And I refused to read this one, book 6, until I caught up. Burn Marks by Sara Paretsky will not let you down.It is full of action, starting with the opening pages. How would you react if the relative you really didn't want to deal with, but loved, showed up telling you that you owed her a favor? And you couldn't remember why... probably because it wasn't true... but when it's family, sometimes you just have to go with it.Aunt Elena is a hoot. She is what VI could turn into if she isn't careful. But the whole story is a good challenge. You get lots of clues, some of which you don't know how to handle, and in the end, it all fits together. And you also want to shake Elena until she starts being clear and honest.Though the cover is plain, it seemed so mysterious to me... called out to the old-time detective story and makes you very curious. Plus, I was always curious what happens in a fire; this helps explain a lot of the technical details in an easy-to-understand manner. And Paretsky is really strong at bringing to the forefront the pertinent details so it is educational in a way you don't expect. It's one of the better ones in the series, but don't take my word for it. Go out and see!About MeFor 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, 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. 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.

  • Phrynne
    2019-02-04 15:32

    Number 6 in the V.I. Warshawski series and as it was first published in 1990 it is showing its age. (I can identify with that although I was around quite a bit before 1990!) This is a great series but not one to binge read as it would definitely feel repetitive if the books were read closely after each other. Sara Paretsky had a real formula going at the time she wrote these books and they only differ in the case she is trying to solve. Vic leads an identical life in each one with the same friends and always the same confrontational attitude. So I am spacing them out a bit and thoroughly enjoying each one. Burn Marks is exciting, action packed and a quick and easy read.

  • Obsidian
    2019-02-07 17:27

    I have been told by many of my friends that once I got to "Burn Marks" I would love VI Warshawski. Since these books have been hit or miss with me I thought my friends were full of it. Happily, they were not."Burn Marks" delves once more into Victoria's messed up family. Her father's sister, Elena (who we have not heard of until now) is a barely functional alcoholic. She pops up on Victoria's doorstep at 3 am looking for a place to stay since the room she had in a single room occupancy (SRO) building caught on fire leaving her homeless. Victoria calls on her uncle (who sucks by the way) to help her out, but it looks like Victoria may be stuck with her aunt for sometime. Then her aunt shows up again with a friend who needs help saying that her baby died in the fire. Couple this with the fact that Victoria keeps getting warned off looking into a friend of hers background spells danger for Victoria. Victoria is 37 in this one and feeling her age a bit. She's realized that kids and another husband are not in the cards for her. What I like though, is that it doesn't bother her at all. What made me laugh a bit about this book is that Victoria really doesn't want to be involved with looking into what her old friend is up to. But people keep acting like asses to her so she perversely decides to figure out what is going on. And for long time readers they know that Victoria is a feminist and went to school with like minded women. And the blow back she gets about not being there for women when she starts looking into what her friends is getting into felt raw and real. I love the line that she throws out that being a feminist does not mean just letting some other woman walk all over her and or turn a blind eye to whatever she's up to. She also has a lot of guys thrown at her in this one, but resists a godson of Bobby's that is also on the police force. She realizes that her need to be independent will never work with his need to just have a woman sit there and be pretty.And man oh man, I love that Victoria and Bobby once and for all have it out in this one. I really loathed this character (Bobby) for 6 books. His dismissing Victoria and always blaming her for being in danger (if she just get married and have kids, none of this would happen) finally hits a point that Victoria has to decide whether it is wise to even be in his life anymore. We have appearances by Lotty and Mr. Contreras. I am really tired of the character of Mr. Contreras. Seriously. I have a bad feeling he is going to be in the rest of the books and I need him to go away.I did laugh about the budding war between Victoria and her downstairs neighbor due to her and her late night visitors.The writing in this one was really good and the flow worked very well. This book touches upon feminism, race, Chicago politics, etc. I can honestly say that I was wondering how everything was going to tie up in the end, but it does work wonderfully. I do wonder if Elena is going to pop up in any other books or not. The ending left Victoria I think with finally getting some much needed respect from the police force. I do wonder though what is going to happen in the next book. Can't wait to read it.

  • Larry Bassett
    2019-02-19 15:28

    I ran across the word “aeon” in a book I just finished and then again in a book that I just started. Both spelled in this British way rather than the more common “eon”. I considered that a sign. Both books were published in 1990 and I thought that cinched it. I should move into the current era and stop considering that 1990 represents “current” in any way.Learned an important bit of information from our heroine, Ms. Warshawski , that expanded my horizons: In 1990 in Chicago you could get $90 from a cash machine. I hadn’t even been introduced to cash machines in 1990 and all the machines I have known since then have dealt solely in twenty dollar bills. Shows what you can learn reading books eons (or aeons) old. V.I. Warshawski is your average thirty-seven year old, divorced, self-employed private investigator, former public defender. Laundry, jogging, dog, third floor walkup, Cubs fan, an occasional date, an occasional attempt on her life. Normal stuff of life. Her big money case in this book is investigating the arson of an old residential hotel for the insurance company. She is also trying to help an idiosyncratic aunt, to check out the apparent overdose death of a young woman junkie and to look into some potentially crooked politics. In her spare time, her life is complicated by the hopeful amorous attentions of several men.Ms. Warshawski’s experiences and dilemmas range from the improbable to the impossible. In this book she is locked in a burning, abandoned building with her elderly aunt. She escapes in a manner that is thrilling and leaps off the page of the book but is certainly out of the range of reality. After this life threatening event in which she is badly injured, she is back on the case within days performing additional feats of daring-do. She should be the star of a super heroine comic book. But I read on in spite of my apathy about super powers. V.I. with all of her unlikeliness has captured me!V.I. breaks into the offices of a construction company in a scenario shows the age of the book. She climbs a telephone poll that has the spikes to allow a phone company worker to clamber up the poll. I remember those from fifty or more years ago, but by the time I was tall enough to reach the bottom rung, I didn’t want to climb the poll any more. No bucket trucks yet in 1990. And having broken into the office V.I. sees an apparently abandoned Apollo computer, a brand from a 1980s company. From 1980 to 1987, Apollo was the largest manufacturer of network workstations.A Smith & Wesson is Warshawski’s weapon of choice but she normally keeps it locked in a safe in her apartment. She gets it out, loads it and carries it when she thinks she is going into a very dangerous place. She gets it out, loads it and uses it in Burn Marks.She might not always be so wise in picking her friends and lovers: My stomach twisted some more. He couldn’t have tried to blow me up. We’d never been in love, but we’d been lovers for a brief sweet time. Can you want to think of a body you’ve caressed torn into ragged chunks of bleeding bones? Or did my rebuff make him want to see me so? Dum-da-dum-dum, dum-da-dum-dum-DAAASara Paretsky continues to put out a series that I want to keep reading. It is tamer at times than a lot of mystery thrillers you will find. But it definitely has sections of high drama and intensity as it builds toward a conclusion. I like Warshawski’s feminist, left leaning politics that come out occasionally. I look forward to watching our wonder woman gradually age as the series advances from year to year. And of course she defies death – she is the lead character in a series. She can’t die!Small bits of humor throughout and a few allusions to sex: Robin agreed, somewhat unwillingly. It was perhaps the hope of dinner – et cetera – with me that made him agree at all. I was going to have to build up my strength and get over a lot of wounds before I was in the humor for much et cetera. Four stars for a fun and enjoyable read. A little out of date, but what the heck. As Murray, the newspaper reporter said, “You go back to bed, kid. Once more Wonder Woman saves the city. Go to sleep.” V.I. has two years to rest up for her next big adventure in book #7 with her golden retriever and her 78 year old downstairs neighbor.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-02-10 16:33

    Ok, the truth is I gave this an extra star because V.I. Warshawski has a 'wacky' aunt and this book is all about her. I'm an aunt, and I'm getting wackier by the day, so I'm supporting the troops. VI's aunt, Elena, is a drunk now, but before, when she was a teenager, Elena could not settle down into the path mapped out for her - high school graduation, marriage, kids and housework. Instead she runs away from home at age 16. Unlike myself, so far, she is a rebel without a cause, living off of an inherited pension in SRO hotels and some money given to her by a brother, VI's uncle, to stay out of his life, as well as occasional earnings of rather dubious sources. When she shows up at VI's condo in the middle of the night, she is stinking of sour beer with a story of woe. The cheap hotel she was living in has burned down, set on fire by an arsonist. VI is not feeling a bit sympathetic, but she reluctantly allows the woman one night to stay, mostly because her aunt has aroused the neighbors from sound sleeps, particularly a new neighbor, a tight-assed banker, Vinnie, who cannot contain his outrage. Adding to the pressure is Mr, Contreras, self-appointed grandfather, who is in reality a 77-year-old neighbor, living vicariously through VI's romances and cases, is standing in the hallway as well adding to the confusion. The chaos is only beginning. After a great deal of leg work, phone calls and mostly a fruitless investigation, begun after a chance meeting with an official arson insurance investigator, Robin Bessinger, at the hotel, VI has many many many many many people mad at her, the police, her lovers old and new, her neighbors, her closest friends, even the janitor of the building where she has her office. Despite all of that, she turns up enough odd behaviors that her instincts tell her something is deadly wrong, and her aunt is right in the center of the arson. While pondering what it could all be about, a peculiar invitation to a political fundraiser by a candidate's running mate, a childhood friend, Marissa Duncan, that VI hasn't heard from in a long time, turns out to be an opportunity for her friend to give her an unusually ugly warning to let childhood secrets stay secret - but what secret? VI could not be more in the dark than if she had been lost in a cave! Adding insult to injury, her car is literally grinding to a halt.Stir in the aunt's disappearing again, the murder of a friend of Elena's, a mugging, a beating, and several slaps - and that's from the cops! - and even another arson - this one is designed to make 'Burn Marks' possibly VI's last case! Talk about being the walking wounded! No part of VI's body and heart is unbruised, no part of her psyche can be calmed. Her troubles cause her to lose ten pounds and me to lose two days of sleep reading. Omg. Again.

  • Amy
    2019-01-27 12:51

    I just couldn't connect with the main character. It was dragging me down, took me days to finish this one. The fact that I finished it is not because it was good but because I just can't keep a book unfinished.Thank God it's done. The phrase that came to my mind for Victoria warshawski, the private detective is " Bull in a china shop".She has no skill and while she goes around burned out and knocked out and everything she expectsto be treated with courtesy and patience, which is good, but she herself doesn't treat anyone like that. To be frank the only saving grace this character had was how she was concerned for Elena.W hile I enjoyed some parts, most of it was Vick being a colossal pain and a fool. Awful read.

  • David
    2019-01-31 15:42

    The writing and the characters of this novel are decent, but I just couldn't get very excited over it. I don't know who is imitating who, and it doesn't matter, because it just seems like the same old stuff.The plot is decent enough and offers some good suspense. V.I.'s alcoholic aunt shows up in the middle of the night declaring that her building has burned down. Soon, V.I. is in the middle of an arson investigation and it seems everyone wants her to butt out. However, what annoys me is the similarities between this series and Sue Grafton's alphabetical mystery series.Both are strong independent women.Both have a gentle, good natured, older male neighbor that looks after them.Both drive crappy old cars.Both get mixed up romanticly with the bad guys from time to time.Both have trouble making ends meet.Both eat odd things from their kitchen cabinet to keep going.I'm not saying that either author realy emulates the other.. but they are similar enough that after awhile I have to ask myself what letter of the alphabet I'm on. So for me, it was like reading a familiar western novel where you know a range war is going to break out, or you know that some rustling is going on, or something else that just seems so familiar that it just doesn't seet to tread new ground.Chicago-ites might enjoy this story more than I did.. It suggests that Chicago politics are full of crooks and double-dealers (gasp!) and further the streets and highways might be familiar enough to be more, I didn't partticular hate this one.. just didn't get very excited over it.

  • Eric Plume
    2019-02-06 18:38

    Much as I hate to do it I've gotta give up on Sara Paretsky. Just as with her last few novels, I ended up defeated by the confused beginning and had to put it down before the mystery even got rolling. Paretsky spends too much time setting the scene before she gives the reader any clue what the book is about, a flaw I as a reader just can't get over. Which is a shame, as V.I. Warshawski is a compelling protagonist once the story finally gets rolling, at least in Hard Time (The one Paretsky novel I've been able to actually finish). 'Tis a shame.

  • Don
    2019-01-29 14:53

    V.I. (Vic) Warshawski's alcoholic aunt shows up on her doorstep after Her aunt's hotel has burned down. Her aunt, a senior citizen who is not above turning a trick to buy a bottle and other legally questionable activities, wants to crash at Vic's apartment. More problems pop up when her aunt brings a junkie who also lived at the burned hotel. The junkie is soon found dead at a constructions site. How is this related to the political fundraiser Vic was invited to? A Paretsky book is always worth a read.

  • le-trombone
    2019-02-16 13:55

    This is an older V. I. Warshawski novel (for reasons that I have yet to pin down, I tend to divide the V. I. books between pre- and post-Tunnel Vision). The mystery is not complex - V. I. is investigating whether a fire at an SRO hotel was arson, and she has to investigate and deal with very sleazy real estate speculators and developers.Complicating the case is her alcoholic aunt Elena, who lived in the hotel, now has to stay with someone, and makes V. I. the obvious choice.Much of the book is taken up with V. I.'s interactions with her neighbors, her relatives, and friends of her parents. Nearly all of them don't approve of her life, and while this does lay the ground work for later books, a lot of it just felt like an authorial excuse to delay V. I. from asking the potentially case-solving questions.It's enjoyable enough, but it's not getting a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-05 13:37

    This book centers around political and police corruption in Chicago. In that context, there is nothing particularly surprising or mysterious about the mystery. Still a routine story can be good if the characters are interesting and you care about them. I found I didn't much care about the detective, V. I. Warshawski. She seemed like a flake repeatedly putting going into obviously dangerous places alone and not checking for her messages. These lapses were need to move the plot along, but there were so many it put me off.

  • Ferne
    2019-02-15 12:27

    As I've previously read some of the series after viewing the movie with Kathleen Turner as Victoria 'V.I.' Warshawski, also known as Vic, reading another novel in the series is returning to spend time with a favorite character as created by Sara Paretsky. In fact, after reading "Blood Shot" I was ready to read another and I picked up the next one in the series. I haven't read them all in order and the novels can be read as "stand alone" titles but as with any series, it's interesting to read the character development in the progression written by the author and see how the series unfolds.In this novel, the reader meets Vic's Aunt Elena and also learns more of the background for the relationship between Vic and Sergeant Bobby Mallory.

  • Kip
    2019-01-30 13:48

    This is the 6th V.I. Warshawski book and it is my favorite so far. What I love about the series is that the mysteries are complex and intelligent. A lot of modern mystery novels take short cuts relying on crimes of passion and drug lords and common tropes and archetypes to stitch together their stories (which can still be very engaging and entertaining). But in V.I.'s world, motives are often tied up in business kick backs and insurance fraud. Sara Paretsky is a writer who does her research and understands the complexities of the laws and businesses she writes about. But it's never boring. For all the time V.I. is trying to figure out what an archaic business document means, she's spending even more time dodging thugs and barely escaping being killed.So I've loved the first 5 books in the series. Why do I love this one more? Because in the previous books we've seen V.I. strain many of the most important relationships in her life (including relationships she might not admit are that important) and in this book I felt that many of the relationships took a step in the right direction. That doesn't mean things are fine or are going to be easy, but V.I. and her friends seem to be coming to understand one another's needs better. There's still a lot of anger and harsh words, but also a bit more acceptance. Read it. It's great!

  • Karla
    2019-02-04 12:48

    I completely forgot about writing this review lol ok ok first of all I don't know why I'm writing in english when I read this book in spanish, lemme switch my language settings on my brain real quickOk, ya.A ver, este libro en realidad me gustó bastante pero siento que algunas cositas se perdieron en la traducción. Es un libro claramente feminista, con una protagonista que no le teme ni a la muerte (y mucho menos a unos machitos con uniforme). Vic me ha parecido genial, aunque me hubiera gustado que muestre más sentimientos, que los reconozca, que se deje sentir. Sí, hay cositas que entran en los clichés y estereotipos de lo que es Ser Feminista™ y por ratos me fastidiaba un poquito, pero me parece que también corresponde a la época y a la ola de feminismo que había en ese entonces.Me he quedado con ganas de leer más de sobre Vic, quiero leerme toda la serie (que son como 15 libros) y verme la película que hicieron del primero. Pero (y es un gran pero) tengo que leerlos en inglés. Esta traducción no ha sido mucho de mi agrado.------------------------Don't think my 3 stars mean I didn't like it! I liked it very much! Will write a review later but know this is a really good book!

  • Dr T
    2019-02-14 16:29

    I've read the first 6 of the Warshawski books, so I think I've given them (and the author) a fair chance. I guess I've gotten a little tired of reading about VI making stupid decisions and running around like the Lone Ranger (without Tonto) for hundreds of pages only to come to the last 30-40 pages where things actually get going. Her disregard for obvious risks seems to contradict the good sense she displays in finally figuring out and solving crimes. Wonder Woman she's not. It'll probably be quite a while (if ever) before I read any others in this series.

  • Phyllis
    2019-02-16 18:45

    I like this author but this book was hard to finish. Did not keep my interest, too many loose ends to follow. Her Aunt was a jerk that almost got her killed and she treated her like the best of relatives? I felt like this was an Eastern book and it would help my Calif. brain if I were Eastern also

  • Aaron Bone
    2019-02-15 17:41

    My first Paretsky book, and I'm looking forward to more. Warshawski is gritty and entertaining, and I love how she thumbs at the pervasive corruption of Chicago politics, police and businesses. There eventually came a few too many notes tacked up on the wall and connected by strings to keep track of, but the ride was still fun.

  • alansplace
    2019-02-09 18:53

    A really compelling and exciting story!

  • Linda
    2019-01-31 17:55

    Private Eye Warshawski investigates arson and murder and deals with her alcoholic aunt and Chicago politicians and corrupt police. This story has greatly grown the character.

  • Annmarie
    2019-01-29 13:38


  • Donna Siebold
    2019-02-07 15:27

    V.I.'s drunken aunt Elena shows up in the middle of the night looking for help. Her SRO hotel has burned down and she is homeless. V.I. gives her a place to stay for the night and tells her she has to find other lodging ASAP.Instead, she finds herself devoting many hours of unavailable time to the search for low-priced housing for her aunt. She eventually finds something, calling in a favor for a friend, only to get back to her home and find Elena has flown the coop.In trying to help her aunt V.I. gets involved in underhanded construction workers, dirty cops and other assorted unpleasant characters. Ultimately the mystery is solved and Elena's life is saved - though her character is not!

  • Chris Gager
    2019-02-18 18:39

    My edition is paperback but with the same cover... It's time for my periodic diversion into mystery-land after the emotional murk of Joyce Carol Oates. We'll see how this author compares with Sayers, Hillerman, Kellerman, Connelly, Parker and Wambaugh. I've read at least one of each of them within the past few years. One category of my guilty pleasures. This one's pretty good so far. No big deal and not that much different from the same thing with a male protagonist. The demands of the genre prevail. In this book we get the usual geographic and cultural markers of place;in this case Chicago. I looked up "V.I." in my Maltin movie book. I recalled dimly a version with Kathleen Turner in the title role. Didn't go so well I guess; Maltin rated it a "Bomb".Stuck in the middle... a pretty solid story so far with one harrowing escape well described. I like that Vic seems to be getting nowhere fast in her investigation. Many tantalyzing threads hanging loose out there... I see that some GR reveiwers have found it boring and repetitive. I say that it's more "investigation realistic", as relevant as that term can be in this genre. About the ratings... this is a nice example of detective genre fiction. That means it's a 3*. PERIOD. A great example like "The Nine Tailors" gets a 4*. A transcendant effort at suspense/thriller like "Felicia's Journey" gets a 5*. Ms Paretsky ain't no William Trevor folks.And done last night. One nice thing about mystery/detective stories: they don't go on forever. The many threads of the story were brought together more or less credibly and coherently by the end and Vic proved herself a resourceful and gritty survivor. Burned, bruised, beaten, insulted, demeaned and really, really tired she emerges triumphant. Some of the "stuff" we're asked to swallow at the end are a bit indigestable but that almost always happens in these things. In this case it's the totally unforseen "hidden personality" emergence. Really??? Notes:- p.222... almost every flashlight I've ever encountered had at least two batteries unless in was a 9-volt lantern.- a Schliemann reference!- near the end Vic considers the possibility of hers and Elena's "tragic" end. Tragic? Traumatic and sad maybe...3.25 stars...

  • Andrea
    2019-02-17 18:47

    Victoria Iphigenia just can’t seem to stop herself from digging deeper into questionable situations, a tendency which many find infuriating, even when they can’t help admiring her determination and integrity. Vic’s stubborn relentlessness is well-known in her hometown of Chicago, which seems to be why her old friend Roz is warning her off, apparently fearful that Vic will try and sabotage her rising political career. Vic is baffled by Roz’s mistrust, since she’s always admired the savvy Latina activist – but of course, the harder Roz works to get Vic onside, the more Vic wonders what it is that Roz is trying to conceal.As if that baffling situation isn’t enough, Vic’s alcoholic aunt has been made homeless after a fire in the rooming house where she was living, and she wants to crash with Vic for a while – and drink all her whiskey. And Vic can’t seem to make a romantic relationship work with a young cop friend of her father’s great pal, Bobby Mallory, which means Bobby is displeased. Even Vic’s protective neighbour, Mr. Contreras, and her close friend, Lotty, are hurt, reproachful, and endlessly critical of Vic’s tendency to go straight toward trouble.There seemed to be kind of a McGuffin in this book, where an aspect of the plot turned out to be essentially meaningless, which I found a little bewildering. It didn’t matter much to me, though, since what I particularly love about this series is how real and detailed it is, with continuing settings and characters. Paretsky does a great job of making consistent personalities in not only V.I., but V.I.’s beloved, long-dead parents, and also in V.I.’s friends Lotty, Mr. Contreras, Murray, and Sal. If you could travel to fictional places, someplace I’d go right away would be Sal’s gorgeous-sounding bar, the Golden Glow, where I’d try the beer Sal gets brewed specially to serve under the Tiffany lights on the mahogany counter.

  • Red Heaven
    2019-02-11 17:42

    V.I.'s dentist's kids will never go hungry, what with all the teeth grinding she does in this book.I struggle with this character. She's supposed to be a tough P.I. but she has a weakness for letting people, particularly relatives, walk all over her. Not only does she take in her hapless alcoholic aunt but her friend, who is a complete stranger to V.I.Truth be told, after six books I'm tired of being told V.I. struggles to pay her bills, of the cutesy stuff with her downstairs neighbor, of her obligatory exercise run, pouring of whiskey, Cubs game and visit to Lotty Herschel - all of these must occur at least once per book. Come on, Sara, quit being so doggedly attached to formula.Lotty's appearance here was particularly forced, with V.I. dragging her aunt's sick friend to the clinic instead of the ER, which any normal person would do. It is ridiculous to suggest V.I. - who is supposed to be a smart woman - would think a clinic would be a better option than a fully equipped ER.Oh, and along the way there's arson, and something something business, something something political race. zzzzzzzzzz.I know that financial crime is Paretsky's forte, but again, no reason to stick so rigidly to formula. No wonder I have trouble remembering which of these books I've already read, the plots and events are so identical.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-23 14:43

    I enjoyed the book, and it was hard to put down. There are a couple of problems I had with the book that kept met from giving it higher marks. One, I found part of the solution to the mystery extremely obvious. It was so obvious that I felt as though V.I. was the worst detective on the planet for not putting the pieces together earlier. Two, I realize that V.I. is a strong feminist fighting to find a place in a role traditional occupied by a member of the all-boys club, but at times, her rhetoric goes from being a feminist champion, which I can admire, to an "I can do it all on my own, I'm right, and everyone else is wrong" attitude, which I find offputting. I hate how she sees herself as better than women who made different choices from her. Three, her contrariness, I feel as though she refuses to take advice, even if she knows its good advice just because if you say left, she'll go right. To me, this is getting into your own worst enemy territory. I know that V.I. has always had these qualities, but her annoying tendencies seemed to increase this book.As you can tell, I love the writing, I love this story and the series in general, and I'm just not sure that I really like the main character. Hopefully, her character will grow and evolve throughout the remainder of the series.

  • Nolan
    2019-02-07 18:28

    It’s best if you start this series with the first book; I didn’t, and it turned out ok because Paretsky gives you just enough information that you’re not feeling lost, but not so much that you’re bored if you’ve read books prior to this one.Some Chicago officials are on the take, (no news there), and the scam involves old buildings. V. I. Warshawski, a tough female detective who insists on embracing the city, grittiness and all, gets involved when her booze-saturated aunt shows up at her door one early morning, having been burned out of her shabby residential hotel.Why are buildings burning in the city? And why don’t the politicians and even the cops want Warshawski involved?Tension grows as Warshawski discovers the body of a drug addict friend of her aunt’s in a burned-out construction site. It’s up to her to figure out who’s on the take to such a degree that committing murder makes sense.As is true with all of these books, you get such a vivid portrait of Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s. I always expect Mike Royko to make a cameo appearance in these books so vivid is her description of the city. He never does, of course, but if he did, you wouldn’t be surprised or wonder why he’s in the book.

  • Richard
    2019-01-23 17:32

    I read the e-book version of this novel, which had pretty clearly been scanned from the hard copy. The editing is terrible! It is so bad, that it frequently interferes with the reading. Apparently, the publisher either doesn't know, or doesn't care, that the process of converting scanned images into text is an imperfect one, and that editing is almost always required. Most troublesome was the italicization of words and phrases that clearly should not have been italicized. This is the third V.I. Warshawsky novel that I have read, and I am beginning to notice a pattern. Loose ends are often left dangling at the end of the story. Ms. Warshawsky often seems to lose track of her Smith and Wesson pistol, and she makes the dumbest mistakes that a private investigator could ever make -- like leaving evidence behind at the scenes of her break-ins. She often behaves more like a space queen than a sharp-witted and crafty P.I. The more I read, the less I like the protagonist. Only 2 Stars for this one.Oh, did I mention that the editing is really bad . . .

  • Rugg Ruggedo
    2019-02-01 11:27

    I really do love V.I. Warshawsky. I read these books pretty close to the time they were written, the first time. I cant remember if at that time I was so disturbed by the way, just about every male treats her. I can tell,however, it really makes me crazy here in 2013. Just 23 years ago, and the sensibility was so different. The plot of this one depends on the male population discounting every thing Victoria does or says just on the basis that she is a woman, and the closely knit fabric of the old boys club they prefer to live with. What makes it great tho, is that the plot twists and turns so many ways that,even when you see the "big bad" early on there are so many other loose ends that you cant not stay with it right to the last word.I know there are some books in the series I havent read. I just wont know it until I get to them. I'm also pretty sure that Paretsky wrote several after I had moved on. The re-reads so far leave me really anticipating the new stuff(well it will be new to me)

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-02-21 13:33

    These really are fun to read. I must find her other novels in the library.When a seedy old SRO [I have no idea what that stands for – it’s what was once a fine old hotel but as the neighbourhood went down and down, so did the hotel until it has become a grotty low-cost boarding house] goes up in flames, V.I. finds herself saddled with a new roommate: her whacked-out, boozed-up Aunt Elena has no place to go. V.I. figures it’s got to be arson, just another insurance scam – until one of Aunt Elena’s friends winds up dead at a construction site. The deeper V.I. probes, the more dirt she turns up. V.I. just wants to get the facts, but as the puzzle pieces fall into place, she’ll be lucky to escape with her life.It actually starts with a curiously bothered politician, and involves cronyism and crooked cops. A good story!

  • Lauren
    2019-02-08 12:42

    I like finding detectives that work for me, and Warshawski certainly does. The thing is that I don't really find crime novels all that riveting, so while the ones I like are a step above OK, there's nothing to elevate them past that.And that's fine with me - I don't need to have srs bsns reasons for everything (or anything) I read. I do like being able to articulate what I like, though, and the most I can say for crime novels that work is that they're not especially gross (where especially gross varies according to my mood, but anyway).This is not especially gross! There's a dog who makes it through the book unscathed! I don't like everything about Warshawski, but I do like most of it! The racist bits are kept to a relative minimum!So, yeah. A step above OK.