The bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels have dazzled readers and earned the acclaim of critics everywhere. “V.I. Warshawski rules,” writes Newsweek, crowning her “the most engaging woman in detective fiction.” Of V.I.’s creator, the Chicago Tribune says “Sara Paretsky has no peer.”
Now Paretsky brings her incomparable storytelling brilliance to her most powerful Warshawski novel yet. Total Recall follows the Chicago P.I. on a road that winds back more than fifty years — and into an intricate maze of wartime lies, heartbreaking secrets, and harrowing retribution.
For V.I., the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. Replayed on the evening news is the scene of a slight man who has stood up at the conference to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust — a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.’s cherished friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel.
Lotty was a girl of nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children wrenched from their parents and saved from the Nazi terror just before the war broke out. Now stunningly — impossibly — it appears that someone from that long-lost past may have returned.
With the help of a recovered-memory therapist, Paul Radbuka has recently learned his true identity. But is he who he claims to be? Or is he a cunning impostor who has usurped someone else’s history … a history Lotty has tried to forget for over fifty years?
As a frightened V.I. watches her friend unravel, she sets out to help in the only way she can: by investigating Radbuka’s past. Already working on a difficult case for a poor family cheated of their life insurance, she tries to balance Lotty’s needs with her client’s, only to find that both are spiraling into a whirlpool of international crime that stretches from Switzerland and Germany to Chicago’s South Side.
As the atrocities of the past reach out to engulf the living, V.I. struggles to decide whose memories of a terrible war she can trust, and moves closer to a chilling realization of the truth — a truth that almost destroys her oldest friend.
With fierce emotional power, Sara Paretsky has woven a gripping and morally complex novel of crime and punishment, memory and illusion. Destined to become a suspense classic, Total Recall proves once again the daring and compelling genius of Sara Paretsky.
Among the first, and perhaps the most compelling, female private investigators of contemporary fiction, Sara Paretsky’s incomparable character V. I. Warshawski at last returns to the page in her first full-length appearance since 1994’s Tunnel Vision. Hard Time is the work of a master–a riveting novel of suspense that is indisputably Paretsky’s best V.I. Warshawski novel yet. Multimedia conglomerate Global Entertainment has purchased the Chicago Herald-Star, forcing the paper’s staff to scramble to stay employed. Reporter Murray Ryerson, V.I.’s longtime friend and sometime rival, manages to reinvent himself as the host of a television show on Global’s network.
On her way home from a party celebrating Murray’s debut, V.I. almost runs over a woman lying in the street. Stopping to help, V.I. soon learns that her Good Samaritan act will drop her squarely in a boiling intrigue. In a case that forces her to go head-to-head with one of the world’s largest providers of private security and prison services, a case that exposes dark hidden truths behind the razzle-dazzle of the entertainment industry, V.I. will be ahead of the game if she gets out alive.
Stubbornness has landed private eye V.I. Warshawski in big trouble at her Chicago office. With her grand old Loop building set to be razed, she’s become a hold-out tenant amid frayed wiring and scary, empty corridors. Then she finds a homeless woman with three kids in the basement, and before she can rescue them, they disappear. Worst of all, she’s been implicated in a murder–after the body of Deirdre Messenger, a prominent lawyer’s wife, turns up sprawled across her desk.
V.I., who had volunteered with Deirdre at a women’s shelter, suspects her death is linked to a case of upper-class domestic abuse so slickly concealed that the police refuse to believe it. Increasingly at odds with the cops, V.I. is blindly plunging ahead after the truth. And her path may lead to corruption at the highest levels.or deep into the abandoned tunnels beneath Chicago’s streets, where secrets are hiding in the dark like a child’s–or V.I.’s–worst nightmare.
Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.’s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist – and the secrets hidden behind Elena’s boozy smile — will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago’s homeless… into the Windy City’s backroom deals and bedroom politics, where new schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I. off the case — by hook, by crook, or by homocide.
V.I. Warshawski isn’t crazy about going back to her old south Chicago neighborhood, but a promise is something she always keeps. Caroline, a childhood friend, has a dying mother and a problem – after twenty-five years she wants V.I. to find the father she never knew. But when V.I. starts probing into the past, she not only finds out where all the bodies are buried — she stumbles onto a very new corpse. Now she’s stirring up a deadly mix of big business and chemical corruption that may become a toxic shock to a snooper who knows too much.
When Chicago Black Hawks hockey legend Boom Boom Warshawski slips off a wharf and drowns in Lake Michigan, his private-eye cousin questions the accidental death report and rumors of suicide. Armed with a bottle of Black Label and a Smith & Weson, V.I. follows a trail of violence and corruption to the center of the Windy City’s powerful shipping industry. Dodging elaborate attempts on her life with characteristic grit and humor, the one-of-a-kind detective wends her way through a maze of grain elevators and thousand-ton freighters, ruthless businessmen and gorgeous ballerinas, to ferret out Boom Boom’s killers before they phase her out of the picture—permanently.
Praise for Deadlock
“V.I. Warshawski is one of the best . . . smart, tough, sexy.”—Daily News (New York)
“Sara Paretsky makes excellent use of local backgrounds in a carefully plotted tale of murder and great misdeeds in the world of Great Lakes cargo shipping.”—Chicago Tribune
“Hard-boiled detective fiction . . . a swift-paced and engrossing read.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Meeting an anonymous client late on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. But trouble is Chicago private eye V.I. Warshwski’s specialty. Her client says he’s the prominent banker, John Thayer. Turns out he’s not. He says his son’s girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. Turns out that’s not her real name. V.I.’s search turns up someone soon enough — the real John Thayer’s son, and he’s dead. Who’s V.I.’s client? Why has she been set up and sent out on a wild-goose chase? By the time she’s got it figured, things are hotter – and deadlier — than Chicago in July. V.I.’s in a desperate race against time. At stake: a young woman’s life.