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Deadlock by Sara Paretsky
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Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.

Set in the 1990s in Chicago, Vick Warshawski is a private detective. The story opens with a funeral for her cousin Boom-Boom Warshawski, an ex-hockey player. He was working for a Great Lakes shipping company and apparently slipped on an icy pier and died in the water. Vick is Boom-Boom’s executor of his will; dealing with his estate and papers leads her to wonder if his death was an accident after all. As she digs into Boom-Boom’s death, her own life is threatened.

I like that Vick likes sports and pays attention to the local games and teams. I don’t care for sports at all, but I like having a main female character that does have a passing interest in professional sports. Vick has a practical kind of toughness that I find irresistible. She’s not tough because she’ll argue back or because she insists on doing things on her own terms. She’s simply a strong personality and would be no matter what gender she was born into. Her practical nature (letting trusted friends know where she’s off too – sometimes, carrying a weapon that she’s proficient in, wearing sensible clothing and shoes, etc.) is what keeps the character grounded for me.

The main subject of this book, the Great Lakes shipping industry, involves the great locks of the lakes. I find locks fascinating and I was pretty excited to see Vick traveling through a major lock or two in this novel. Vick spends a chunk of the book trying to understand the shipping manifests for the company Boom-Boom was working for. As such, she enlists someone in the business to explain the finer details. Here is where my one little quibble with the story lies. In Book 1, Indemnity Only, Vick becomes romantically involved with a man who works at the insurance company that Vick is kinda sorta looking into. Now, here, in this book she becomes romantically interested in a man who is hired by the shipping company she’s looking into. I felt this plot mechanism was a little overused in the series.

Now, back to the good stuff. Paige is a beautiful dancer that was having a secret romance with Boom-Boom. Vick meets her at Boom-Boom’s funeral and Paige asks a small favor – she would like access to Boom-Boom’s apartment so that she could collect her things. While they hadn’t reached the point of exchanging keys yet, she did have a few bits of clothing and makeup at his place. The plot deepens when Vick finds her there going through Boom-Boom’s papers. Paige fesses up to looking for some personal letters the two exchanged while she was on tour. I, like Vick, think she’s hiding something. I really wasn’t sure what until the last bit of the book. Vick figured it out before I did.

Finally, there’s this major accident in the book that I totally didn’t see coming. It slid right in there under my radar and it was well written. Vick got to experience it all first hand and I was worried she would be injured enough for a hospital! I was a little surprised at the body count for this book, but that just keeps me on my toes. I do enjoy a mystery series that can keep me guessing and surprised.

Narration: Once again, Susan Ericksen makes a really good VI Warshawski. She does the Chicago accent quite well. Her male voices are believable. With Book 1, I noted that sometimes I had to turn down the volume during the shouting scenes. That was not an issue with this book. The characters sounded like they were shouting but I didn’t have to adjust my volume control. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Jan 20, 2017 |
V.I. Watshawski's cousin, Boom Boom, a well lacked former hockey player, slips off a wharf and is drowned. The police believe it is just an unfortunate accident. V.I. decides to look closer and then a security guard in Boom Boom's building is killed by an intruder in his apartment. Boom Boom worked for a shipping company and she starts to find out about the shipping companies and how they do business. Attempts are made on her life and her car is tampered with creating a terrible accident. She is injured and at least one person is killed. Vic is now involved with grain elevators and thousand ton freighters. She is on board a 1000 foot freighter when it is blown up. She uncovers a plot to ruin a new shipping company. This is the second in the V.I. Warshawski series and I liked it very much.
  taurus27 | Oct 15, 2016 |
I was a little under-the-weather this weekend, so I was glad to be distracted by this second book in the V. I. Warshawski series. I started this series when Sara Paretsky came to the Iowa City Book Festival. I read the first book before she came and enjoyed it. But after hearing her talk about creating the character of V. I. Warshawski and the growth of this character over the course of the series, I was excited to read more.

This is another fast paced mystery, but this time, V. I. is personally involved with the death. Her cousin, former hockey star Boom Boom Warshawski, slips off a deck at Chicago's lakefront and dies. But V. I. senses that his death is not an accident. Boom Boom has been working in the shipping industry, and V. I. must learn the ins and outs of the big ships that transport cargo across the Great Lakes. As more deaths occur, the urgency builds, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. This is a strong and enjoyable series! ( )
  porch_reader | Dec 2, 2015 |
This is my first Sara Paretsky but definitely not my last. Everything I look for in a mystery was here: solid characters, an interesting plot and good writing. I know nothing about the shipping industry or about the Great Lakes. I enjoyed delving into something new.

Recommended. ( )
  enemyanniemae | Sep 20, 2015 |
Written 30 years ago, this is a look back into past that even those who lived through it would find almost impossible to recall. The story itself, though, is rather fun as Vic deploys all her considrable charms in pursuit of the murderer of her cousin and we get a look into the economy of the shipping magnates of the Great Lakes region of North America. ( )
  JohnFair | Oct 5, 2014 |
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Sara Paretskyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rowena Akinyemimain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Lucella Wieser,
a lady who sailed these seas
with wit and great courage
for over a hundred and six years
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More than a thousand people attended Boom Boom's funeral.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440213320, Mass Market Paperback)

When her cousin, Boom Boom, is murdered, V.I. begins an investigation and is caught up in a game of lies, extortion, blackmail, sabotage, and murder in Chicago's shipping industry. Reprint.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:59 -0400)

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Murder mystery features female private investigator.

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