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.