I have been reading Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski novels since I was in high school. I have always loved the books. V.I. is a detective. She’s also an attorney. She’s smart and tough and in may ways, I wished I was her. In her latest novel, Brush Back, she goes back to her childhood roots in South Chicago.
Part of my draw to Warshawski is her family roots. Her mother was an Italian immigrant and her dad’s family was from Poland. I was drawn to her because my grandfather grew up in Chicago, the son of German immigrants. In fact, my great-grandmother did not speak English when she arrived in Chicago. My grandfather was a life-long die hard Cubs fan (like V.I.) and played for his hometown Bears.
I have never been to Chicago, but I feel through Paretsky’s descriptions of the city and it’s assorted neighborhoods, that I can see it all clearly. Her descriptions of the City remind me of my Grandfather. But that is not the only reason I love Paretsky’s books. They are good mysteries. In her latest, events of the present mingle with the long-lost past.
Stella Guzzo is paroled after serving many years in prison for killing her daughter, Annie. Guzzo’s son, Frank, (an ex high school boyfriend of Warshawski’s) comes to her asking her to help exonerate his mother. Warshawski is torn. She wants to help Frank because she has fond feelings for him. She doesn’t want to help Frank because Stella hated V.I.’s mother and said vile things about her family. Reluctantly, V.I. agrees to look into it.
When her cousin Boom-Boom’s reputation is posthumously slandered by Stella and she takes a restraining order out on V.I., things get complicated. They are complicated further by Bernie, V.I.’s goddaughter and is staying with her. Bernie eventually is kidnapped and V.I. tries to get her back.
The plot twists and turns and involves local politicians, mobsters and the Cubs. The book was riveting and I did not want to put it down. I highly recommend it. It’s Sara Paretsky at her very best. I look forward to V.I.’s next adventure.
I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book from Goodreads. I received no other compensation for this review and the opinions contained herein are mine alone.