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Breakdown by Sara Paretsky
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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 |
I felt that "Body Work" wasn't quite up to the usual standard, but "Breakdown" is bang on form, and back to the verve of the earliest V I stories. I do worry though that the much-loved Mr Contreras, Lotty and Max are really getting on, and if they remain in the stories credulity will be stretched to its limit (how long can Lotty go on practising surgery?), but the alternative is to kill them off, which would be unthinkable!
  PollyMoore3 | Nov 14, 2013 |
I've followed Sara Paretsky since V.I.'s debut; it is one of my favorite series in the genre. I do have to say, though, that this was not the strongest entry in the series. It isn't that I think she's wrong about the nastiness and sensationalism of political discourse (and much as it pains me, liberal commentators and entertainers seem as guilty as conservatives in this regard). It's just that this was fairly heavy-handed; a commentary without much nuance. Combine this with a painfully obvious mystery, and I ended up with a mystery that didn't have at all the usual suspense of a usual outing with V.I. Warshawski. Nor did I think the story did a good job of wrapping up all the loose ends or unifying the varous stories particularly well.

Although this was something of a disappointment it won't stop me from picking up the next in a generally entertaining series. ( )
  leduck | Oct 19, 2013 |
Quite disappointing. Seemed formulaic and a bit incoherent. The ending was dire and pretty implausible. ( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (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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Rain had turned the streets a shiny black.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:04 -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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