The enigmatic performer known as the Body Artist takes the stage at Chicago's Club Gouge and allows her audience to use her naked body as a canvas for their impromptu illustrations. V. I. Warshawski watches as people step forward, some meek, some bold, to make their mark. The evening takes a strange turn when one woman's sketch triggers a violent outburst from a man at a nearby table. Quickly subdued, the man – an Iraqi war vet – leaves the club. Days later, the woman is shot outside the club. She dies in V.I.'s arms, and the police move quickly to arrest the angry vet. A shooting in Chicago is nothing new, certainly not to V.I., who is hired by the vet's family to clear his name. As V.I. seeks answers, her investigation will take her from the North Side of Chicago to the far reaches of the Gulf War.
The vice-president of a Chicago bank hires V.I. Warshawski to find his son. She's pleased. The head of the International Brotherhood of Knifegrinders hires her to find his daughter. She's not so pleased. Who's the boss in this dangerous game of insurance fraud, murder contracts and gunmen?
When her seedy and importunate Aunt Elena turns up on her doorstep at midnight having been burned out of her old people's home, V.I. Warshawski is exasperated rather than curious. Her interest is aroused however, when an old friend, now a politician, puts pressure on her to investigate.
Eager for physical action in the spirit-numbing wake of 9/11, VI Warshawski is glad to take on a routine stake-out for her most important client, Darraugh Graham. His ninety-one year-old mother has sold the family estate, but Geraldine Graham keeps a fretful eye on it from her retirement apartment across the road. When Geraldine sees lights there in the middle of the night, Darraugh sends V I out to investigate-and the detective finds a dead journalist in the ornamental pond. The man is an African-American; when the suburban cops seem to be treating him as a criminal who stumbled to a drunken death, his family hires V I to investigate.
As she retraces the dead reporter’s tracks, V I finds herself in the middle of a Gothic tale of sex, money, and power. The trail leads her back to the McCarthy era blacklists, and forward to the ominous police powers the American government has assumed today. V I finds herself penned into a smaller and smaller space by an array of business and political leaders who can call on the power of the Patriot Act to shut her up. Only her wits, and an unusual alliance she forges with Geraldine Graham and a sixteen year old girl save her.
An anthology of stories edited by Sara Paretsky
This eclectic anthology from a variety of female mystery writers has something to please every fan. Editor and contributor Paretsky (V.I. Warshawski series) introduces the anthology with a brief history of Sisters in Crime, an organization formed by Paretsky in 1987 to help boost the profiles of women crime writers. The stories range in tone from Sue Henry's (Jessie Arnold series) haunting, lyrical "Sister Death" to "Murder for Lunch," Carolyn Hart's (Death on Demand series) tale of misunderstandings and murder. Libby Fischer Hellmann (Ellie Foreman series) and Susan Dunlap (Jill Smith series) both tackle the turbulent world of 1960s radicals from different perspectives, with tales of a captured fugitive and violent conflicts with the police. The collection also includes an early story from the late Charlotte MacLeod's impressive body of work, as well as a new story from Dorothy Salisbury Davis, a pioneer in the genre since the 1950s. Mystery fans will delight in reading new pieces from old favorites, as well as discovering new voices from every corner of this diverse genre.
The teenage tennis star had a frighteningly brutal trainer-her father. So nobody cried when he got strangled in the women's locker room. Now V.I. Warshawski wants to clear the number one suspect-who was showering alone at the time in "Strung Out". And in "Skin Deep", after his trip to the salon the stranger wasn't looking so good. Maybe it was the poison facial. V.I. Warshawski tries a few new creams herself while she looks for somebody, anybody connected to this guy.
The astonishing new V. I. Warshawski novel from one of America 's foremost writers of crime fiction.
V.I. Warshawski may have left her old South Chicago neighborhood, but she learns that she cannot escape it. When V.I. takes over coaching duties of the girls' basketball team at her former high school, she faces an ill-equipped, ragtag group of gangbangers, fundamentalists, and teenage moms who inevitably draw the detective into their family woes.
Through young Josie Dorrado, V.I. meets the girl's mother, who voices her worries about sabotage in the little flag manufacturing plant where she works. The biggest employer on the South Side, discount-store behemoth By-Smart, pays even less, and Ms. Dorrado doesn't know how she'll support her four children if the flag plant shuts down.
The elder Dorrado's fears are realized when the plant explodes; V.I. is injured and the owner is killed. As V.I. begins to investigate, she finds herself onfronting the Bysen family, who own the By-Smart company. Founder William "Buffalo Bill" Bysen, now in his eighties, has four sons who quarrel with each other and with him; the oldest, "Young Mr. William," is close to sixty and furious that his father doesn't cede more power to him. And then there's "Billy the Kid," Young Mr. William's nineteen-year-old son, whose Christian idealism puts him on a collision course with his father, his grandfather, and the company as a whole.
When Billy runs away with Josie Dorrado, V.I. is squeezed between the needs of two very different families. As she tries to find the errant teenagers, and to track down a particularly cruel murderer, her own life is almost forfeit in the swamps that lie under the city of Chicago.