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review 2017-07-28 00:50
Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky
Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky

Pretty early on in this book, my husband remarked that Kathleen Turner played the role of V.I. Warshawski in a movie of the same name. Even if I wasn't a fan of a couple of her film roles, anyone who's ever heard her voice will likely find it hard to forget. Needless to say, the voice in my head did its damnedest to replicate that distinctive husky allure with all of V.I.'s dialogue. I think that's why I liked the book a little more than maybe I should have.


V.I., let's call her Vic, her friends do, is a once-upon-a-time district attorney who became less than enchanted with the system. Putting her intelligence, wit and background to good use, she goes into private detecting - mostly insurance fraud and cheating spouses. That is, until a certain Union leader knocks at her door with a missing daughter. Vic gets into more than she bargained for (or is paid for) when her first interview turns out to be a dead man.


I'm no stranger to mysteries and detective stories and they tend to run along the same vein- a tough, smart, loner who gets in over their head with a doozy of a murder is usually what gives the story a pulse. In my experience, it's the side characters that give it heart. That's certainly the case here with Indemnity Only. From Vic's naive fling Ralph, to her resilient and steady clinic doctor and best pal, Lotty, and all friend and foe in between, Paretsky sketches characters that are interesting and realistic, veering mostly away from caricature. I say, if you can write a fourteen year old girl and not resort to annoying teenage stereotypes, you're doing pretty good. Then again, this book is from 1982. Maybe teenagers had more substance then. I kid, I kid.


Speaking of 1982. Though the story is old, I wasn't terribly hung up on how dated it was - about everything technologically has changed in the world around us, yet people somehow stay the same and the motivations of greed and guilt are still, unfortunately, ever present. Nothing really suffers on the age front though I can see how some references might fly over heads. I'm not going to say how many flew over mine, but I will proudly state that I was tickled to see Kolchak mentioned.


I see now that this series is in the double digits. I'm not running out finding the next book or anything, but I wouldn't pass it up if I came across it.

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review 2017-06-15 21:06
Breakdown - Sara Paretsky

Not going to write a long review. This was not a good book. Seriously just skip it and if you really do want to read it, borrow it from the library.


Once again we have VI investigating something no one asked her to and I had a really hard time with most of the characters in this one. They all felt way too cartoonish to me.

And VI's love life is limping along with a guy who does not seem up to her level.

I should have put this down once I saw that Petra was littered all over this one.


Paretsky could have shined a light more on the problem with the 24 hour news cycle and some far left and far left personalities attacking each other via the media to score points with their followers. However, this book seemed to have everyone who did not agree with VI as the enemy. We eventually have people sitting around listening to a Holocaust victim's memories and the whole thing made me uncomfortable. Not because of the subject, but because we had VI demanding that she somehow be told about what was a painful period in his life. At that point, I was 100 percent done with this character. I will probably pick up the remaining books in this series some other time. But as of now, I need a break from VI.

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review 2017-06-15 20:57
Body Work - Sara Paretsky

This was terrible. I am so mad that I even wasted my time finishing this book. I really should have DNF it at 25 percent, but I am a perverse reader sometimes and finished the book.


Nothing makes sense.


Petra (VI's cousin from Hardball) is back in this one and still the most annoying character ever. She and Mr. Contreras are awful. I think at one point VI says that he (Mr. Contreras) is in his 90s and I hope we have a book soon with him dying. I am just over him. He's worthless.


And at this point, VI is 50 or almost 50 and her picking a fight with the police or anyone in authority is getting old. In fact, it is old at this point.


The main plot is convoluted and there's a whole lot of coincidences to even have things make sense. I think the worst part for me was the ending though. I just rolled my times about a million times. It was crap and I have to say it was really stupid how VI brings all the parties together a la Poirot to get someone to spontaneously confess. The next book does this mess too and it just seems a lazy way to end a book.


There is a lot of people telling VI things and her telling people things and I think a couple hundred pages could have been cut and it would not have affected this book one way or the other.

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review 2017-06-15 20:50
Hardball - Sara Paretsky

This was a frustrating read to me. And honestly this and the next few books in the series started a slow slide of quality IMHO with this series. "Hardball" is way too unbelievable to be believed. And I really hated the introduction of VI's cousin Petra (called Petey) that everyone including Mr. Contreras is infatuated with. I had a hard time that VI's dogs would not have been impounded at this point with her dragging them along when she's investigating and or when people come to her apartment to be shouted at by her and her annoying downstairs neighbor. There were so many scenes like this in this book that took me entirely out of the book.


We have VI going asking questions that somehow according to her partially estranged Uncle Peter has caused her cousin Petra to be kidnapped. The book then jumps back in time to what exactly was VI up to that would have caused Petra to be kidnapped and what does it have to do with a murder that occurred during the Civil Rights Era.


I think the whole story was terrible. Not that I don't believe that something like this could have happened back then (hello look at news headlines now) but because I think VI tried to force fit too many things in this one dealing with her family, her dead parents, her investigation that turned into something else, that turned into something else. I mean at one point we have nuns in this one and there's a fire and someone is dead and VI who at this point should be in the hospital is still running around. It's just unbelievable at this point that she's not suffering from some long term medical issues due to her always being beat up, shot, or something is blowing up near her in every book.

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review 2017-06-15 20:44
Fire Sale
Fire Sale - Sara Paretsky

This one was pretty enjoyable.


We have VI dealing with being forced to volunteer (voluntold) as a basketball coach at her old high school.


Not only does she have to deal with girls who are in gangs and others who are trying to raise kids, she gets pulled into a family dispute among the rich when she goes looking for donations to help with equipment, uniforms, and other essentials for the team.


I also like how Paretsky works in VI's long term romance with her boyfriend Morello at this point. I liked we get to see VI making it work with someone and also becoming jealous when a colleague (female) from his times overseas comes to stay. We have a lot of interesting characters in this one and though I found some of the things that happened implausible (hence the 4 stars) I really did enjoy this one.

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