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Breakdown by Sara Paretsky
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One of Paretsky's best. Before I read her most recent book, Critical Mass, several weeks ago, I had forgotten why I like her writing so much. She's a skilled technician—not appreciated enough today—but what makes her books so appealing to me is that every one is different, and the recurring characters grow and change. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
One of Paretsky's best. Before I read her most recent book, Critical Mass, several weeks ago, I had forgotten why I like her writing so much. She's a skilled technician—not appreciated enough today—but what makes her books so appealing to me is that every one is different, and the recurring characters grow and change. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
This installment in the V.I Warshawski series is far from Paretsky's best effort. The plot is full of holes and many, many unlikely happenings. The characters are mostly caricatures and the political ranting is annoying and not relevant to the story. Diehard fans of the Warshawski series will find reasons to finish the book (as I did), but others are advised to skip Break Down and wait for the next installment. Readers who are new to the V.I. Warshawski series should start with one of Paretsky's earlier efforts. ( )
  echasc | Oct 26, 2014 |
It's been a while since I have read the Warshawski character novels. And I surprised myself by identifying the killer immediately, as soon as he was introduced/presented. If I say more, this review would have to be labelled a "Spoiler". However, having said that, I did need all the threads to come together, which was done in a somewhat complicated manner. There were a bit too many characters and several red herring-type side stories. What I related to most in the book was its finely tuned touch of the media- practically perfect. It's a good read, but not one that I hurried to grab at any available moment. ( )
  HugoReads | Jun 5, 2014 |
I love this series. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
With almost 75 pages to go in Breakdown, Sara Paretsky flashes her readers a metaphorical wink, smile and nudge in the ribs.

Like the majority of Paretsky’s 18 earlier novels, Breakdown features the feisty Chicago private eye V. I. (for Victoria Iphigenia) Warshawski. Also like the previous novels, Breakdown’s narrative is so tangled, involving enough suspects to populate a dozen less ambitious novels, that readers may feel tempted to give up and jump ship.

It’s at this point of potential reader abandonment in the new book that Paretsky sneaks in a sly scene that lets us know she feels our pain. In the scene, Warshawski reveals to a wise friend her analysis to date of the murder that has baffled all of Chicago. The wise friend replies to V. I. with a hopeless but justified cry of despair.

“It’s too complicated,” he wails. “X hires Y to murder Z, then Y blackmails X. This sounds like Agatha Christie, Victoria, which I can never follow when I’m wide awake, and I’m very nearly in a coma right now.”

In fact, compared to Paretsky’s Warshawski novels, Christie’s mysteries were models of logic and common sense. The Warshawski books fly far off the grid of normal sleuthing, threatening to sink in an excess of elusive clues, red herrings and false leads.

But two things keep the Paretsky books on the rails and just about guarantee that the readers will bend their heads over the pages. One is the force of Paretsky’s narrative. As an author, she remains forever bold and determined, willing the readers to stick to their guns. The other lasting appeal lies in the character of Warshawski.

Multi-faceted doesn’t begin to describe V. I. She holds a law degree, has a bawdy sense of humour and a blazing temper, can sing Stravinsky’s setting of “Psalm 39,” devotes her energies to liberal politics, is a natural born nosy parker and supplies enough personality to glue the Paretsky plots together.

Plenty of mucilage is needed — and supplied — in Breakdown. The dead body at the centre of the sleuthing belongs to a private eye of the less principled sort. Dozens of characters may be involved in the murder, and we meet them all. But those who most stick in the brain as authentic bad guys (and girls) belong to the politics of the far right. The odd thing is that no character Paretsky invents seems as nutty as the real thing. Should she have even tried to match Ron Paul’s creepy past or Michele Bachmann’s cheerfully dingbat personality? Probably not.
added by VivienneR | editThe Toronto Star, Jack Batten (Jan 6, 2012)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399157832, Hardcover)

V.I. Warshawski returns in the spectacular new novel from the New York Times bestselling author.

Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is a shape-shifting raven whose fictional exploits thrill girls all over the world. When tweens in Chicago's Carmilla Club hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse, a man stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying.

The girls include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families: the grandfather of one, Chaim Salanter, is among the world's wealthiest men; the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is the running for United States Senate.

For V. I. Warshawski, the questions multiply faster than the answers. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Sophy Durango? Or to Chaim Salanter's childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? As V.I. struggles for answers, she finds herself fighting enemies who are no less terrifying for being all to human.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:44 -0400)

When the teenage daughters of some of Chicago's most influential families discover the body of a ritually murdered victim, V.I. Warshawski explores theories that the killing is linked to a senatorial candidate or a wealthy patriarch's childhood in Lithuania.… (more)

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