Breakdown (V. I. Warshawski Series #15)

Breakdown (V. I. Warshawski Series #15)

3.9 30
by Sara Paretsky
     
 

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When a group of Chicago tweens holds a ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse—stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying. V.I. Warshawski arrives on the scene to escort the girls home–but protecting them places her at the tangled center of the investigation. And the girls include daughters of some of Chicago’s

Overview

When a group of Chicago tweens holds a ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse—stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying. V.I. Warshawski arrives on the scene to escort the girls home–but protecting them places her at the tangled center of the investigation. And 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 running for the United States Senate. For V.I., the questions multiply faster than the answers. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Durango—or to Salanter’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? As V.I. struggles to find an answer, she finds herself fighting enemies who are no less terrifying for being all too human.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With a satisfying array of baddies and the same comfortable heroes, Sara Paretsky gives her fans all they could ask for and everything they should expect."—Chicago Sun-Times

“One of the many pleasures of Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels is that the sharp-tongued, short-tempered detective often seems to be following clues that lead not just to the heart of whatever mystery is at hand, but also into the red-hot center of the zeitgeist itself."—Los Angeles Times

"Breakdown's riveting plot mixes the mania for vampire and supernatural novels, especially among tweens, virulent TV broadcasters, tabloid journalism, xenophobia and dirty politics.” —Sun Sentinel (South Florida)

Publishers Weekly
At the start of MWA Grand Master Paretsky’s riveting 15th novel featuring Chicago PI V.I. Warshawski (after 2010’s Body Work), Warshawski goes in search of several 12- and 13-year-old girls, members of her cousin Petra’s book club, who are out after curfew. Warshawski finds the girls in a cemetery, steps away from a recently deceased man, Miles Wuchnik, who she later learns was an unscrupulous PI. Media attention on two of the girls—the daughter of Sophy Durango, a liberal U.S. Senate candidate, and the granddaughter of Chaim Salanter, a wealthy Jewish businessman linked to Durango’s campaign—intensifies an already mudslinging political race, particularly when it’s revealed that the girls were trying to perform a “vampire” ritual from their favorite supernatural novel. Meanwhile, bigoted TV host Wade Lawlor attempts to derail Durango’s campaign and slander Salanter with unfounded accusations about Salanter’s treatment under the Nazis. Amid all the ugly politics, Warshawski once again proves a dogged champion for the truth at any cost. Agent: Dominick Abel. (Jan.)
Booklist
Both Paretsky and her sharp-tongued justice-seeker, V. I. Warshawski, remain formidable in the masterfully suspenseful fifteenth novel in this superb and adored Chicago-set series. Smart and pugnacious PI V. I. continues to follow leads no matter how many cherished outfits get ruined by mud, blood, sweat, and puke, including the evening gown she wears to a glitzy gala for Wade Lawlor, the star rabble-rouser and slanderer on GEN, a shrill right-wing network. V. I. is called away by Petra, her young cousin, now a regular in the series, to look for the teenage girls Petra works with in a program that brings together daughters of penniless immigrants with daughters of privilege. V. I. finds them in a cemetery, performing a ritual inspired by their ardor for a series of vampire novels. She also finds a dead man with a metal rod driven through his heart. The ensuing morally reprehensible case, which V. I. compares to a Rubik's Cube, involves class divides, a state mental hospital, warped brother-sister relationships, a tricked-out Camaro, a Holocaust survivor's tale, a wrongful murder conviction, and the politics of hate. V. I. reigns as crime fiction's spiky, headstrong warrior woman of conscience, and Paretsky, classy champion of the powerless, has never been more imaginative, rueful, transfixing, and righteous. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, bestselling crime writer Paretsky always draws readers en masse. — Donna Seaman
Library Journal
Fans of V.I. Warshawski will breathe a sigh of relief as she returns in another novel filled with action, plot twists, and political maneuverings sure to set the brain and heart on edge. V.I. is called to round up teenage girls who are out in a cemetery past curfew. The girls are initiating a new member into their secret club celebrating a beloved author, and they believe they will become shape-shifters just like their favorite fictional character. Their ritual, however, is ruined when they stumble upon a very real murder victim, killed with a stake through the heart. As the investigation plays out, bodies pile up, and V.I. unravels the strings that lead from the girls and their powerful families through competing political campaigns, growing anti-immigrant sentiment, historical involvement through generations, and resurfacing stories from German-occupied Lithuania. VERDICT The 14th V.I. Warshawski title (after Body Work) is nothing less than riveting, which is what Paretsky fans expect. Lots of topical moments and references to the current sociopolitical atmosphere keep this book charged and moving. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 7/5/11.]—Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews
V.I. Warshawski's 14th case entangles everyone in Chicago from a murdered private eye to a pair of Senate candidates and the world's 21st-richest man. Little do the seven tween girls invoking the spirit of that famous fictional vampire Carmilla, Queen of the Night, at a secret ceremony in Mount Moriah Cemetery know that only a few yards away lies the fresh corpse of one Miles Wuchnik, very recently added to the rolls of the dead. V.I., leaving a high-rolling party for right-wing media darling Wade Lawlor to respond to her cousin Petra's plea to find Kira Dudek, one of the tweens, wakes up the next morning to learn that although she succeeded in getting the girls away from the murder scene before the police arrived, Lawlor and all his dittoheads are implicating her in the murder of the colleague she never met. It's entirely plausible that V.I. might be taking money from billionaire Chaim Salanter to protect his granddaughter Arielle Zitter, another of the tweens. And since Salanter is a prominent contributor to the senatorial campaign of University of Illinois president Sophy Durango, it figures that Lawlor, a big booster of Sophy's opponent, creationist Helen Kendrick, would go after both Salanter and V.I. But the sad fact is that Salanter hasn't hired Warshawski (Body Work, 2010, etc.); in fact, he meets with her repeatedly only to warn her to stay off the case. Not that she's not distracted all on her own, since her old law school friend, bipolar attorney Leydon Ashford, has just been thrown from a height at Rockefeller Chapel and lies near death. Leydon's last cryptic message--"I saw him on the catafalque"--seems to connect the attack on her to Wuchnik's murder. Can V.I. put together the pieces in time to save the young witnesses from the killer? Plotted with all Paretsky's customary generosity, this standout entry harnesses her heroine's righteous anger to some richly deserving targets, all linked together in a truly amazing finale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451238801
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Series:
V. I. Warshawski Series, #15
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
417,050
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"With a satisfying array of baddies and the same comfortable heroes, Sara Paretsky gives her fans all they could ask for and everything they should expect."—Chicago Sun-Times

“One of the many pleasures of Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels is that the sharp-tongued, short-tempered detective often seems to be following clues that lead not just to the heart of whatever mystery is at hand, but also into the red-hot center of the zeitgeist itself."—Los Angeles Times


"Breakdown's riveting plot mixes the mania for vampire and supernatural novels, especially among tweens, virulent TV broadcasters, tabloid journalism, xenophobia and dirty politics.” —Sun Sentinel (South Florida)

Meet the Author

Sara Paretsky is the author of eighteen books, including her renowned V. I. Warshawski novels. She was named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and is also the recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award given by the British Crime Writers’ Association.  She lives in Chicago.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Chicago, Illinois
Date of Birth:
June 8, 1947
Place of Birth:
Ames, Iowa
Education:
B.A., Political Science, University of Kansas; Ph.D. and M.B.A., University of Chicago
Website:
http://saraparetsky.com/

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Breakdown 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She needs to get off her soap box and write a true mystery. This books reads like a lecture on all the injustices in this Country. Can not recommend just could not past the negative tone of her writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been following the exploits of V.I. since her first case and was a huge fan from the beginning. Although I felt that this case bogged down in a few spots, it did not disappoint...I finished it in a day. I have to admit that around page 375 I got very nervous and was about to be really, really mad! Can't wait for the next Paretsky offering. If you like V.I. stories, check out "Cold Case" and "Cold Shoulder" by Lynda LaPlante.
DenisePW More than 1 year ago
The author should get off her soapbox & get back to writing good mystery fiction. I was a great fan of this series, but this most recent work reads like one long left wing rant. The plot is lost among her whining litany & the character has lost her appeal. Too bad Ms. Paretsky has made so much money on her past sales that she no longer cares about producing a quality novel & instead uses this book to instruct the ignorant masses just how she could make everything right. Maybe she should give away her profits to the those she views as the evil Right's victims. Sorry, my time is too valuable to spend it on this type of diatribe. Done with this author.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
One thing we have learned in the previous 14 novels in the series: V.I. Warshawski is brash, rash and opinionated. So it should be no surprise that those characteristics continue in this, the 15th entry in the series. Unfortunately these traits also carry over to the plot, and that is unfortunate because otherwise it might have been an interesting novel. However, the book never seems to make up its mind whether it is a political tract, murder mystery or something else. In fact this reader, at least, is hard put to try, even in a minimal way, to summarize the plot. It begins with a few young girls in an improbable setting (a cemetery) performing some sort of ritual, during which a murder takes place. Long diatribes against a Fox-like cable network and its right wing lead commentator, a couple of more murders or attempted assassinations, a senatorial campaign pitting a conservative against a liberal, and who knows what else. Enough? There’s probably more. Just as an aside, detracting from the novel, in a finished copy, displays some very poor (or lack of) proofreading along the way. Needless to say, the novel gets off to a slow plodding pace, and only picks up speed at times beyond the middle and before the conclusion, which seems perfunctory at best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me really engaged with all of its twists and turns. I gave it four stars because it also kept me confused for a while because there are so many characters its hard to keep them straight. Also, I was a little put off by V.I.'s attitude that its ok to barge into people's homes and butt into their business and ask questions, but when someone show up on her doorstep she gets all huffy. But that's a minor point. Also, the book became a little preachy in places regarding left-wing/right-wing political policies behind a thin veil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it and to those calling it preachy and slow, i personally felt it fit right into the story line and did not read like a soap box rant .if your a paretsky fan you will love this book if you've never read her be prepared to buy more books by her as you'll love v.i warshawski if you like strong women
pegvg More than 1 year ago
Funny, entertaining as always.
tmaster1997 More than 1 year ago
Always enjoyed Sara's books, they just keep getting better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of this series and this one has a very weak and confusing beginning. It was tough to get engaged. Better luck next time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of V.I. Warshawski for 30 years and I like this book. That said, I'm concerned about a few details. When will Lotty retire? Are her hands still steady enough to do surgery? She must be at least 80. And what in the world does Vic feed Mitch & Peppy? Those dogs have lived longer than any of my cats! I could argue that a few of the villainous characters are way over the top, except that I experience their "real life" counterparts daily in the media. I'd name names, but I don't want anyone to sue... --catwak
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love V. I. Warshawski. I have read all her books. So when I saw she had a new book out, I had to read it.I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super book, super author.
Slim20 More than 1 year ago
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 one of the world's wealthiest men; the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is the Illinois Democratic candidate for 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 all too human. I have loved this series from the first book. It's a great book and stays very true to the Warshawski series. It had me from the first chapter and I couldn't put it down.
kturner4 More than 1 year ago
This is a review of an uncorrected manuscript won through a giveaway program. I felt some of the beginning and ending chapters were both very strong, with some of the middle chapters maybe needing a little more editing that would only help stengthen the story. All in all a very nice story and one that I enjoyed :) Thank you for having this in a giveaway again and giving me a chance to win and read this book! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Painful read". Only if you have a very thin skin for the antics of a detective whose strengths are her strongly held views and dogged determination. Got to love an opinionated, strong woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the warshawsky series by Paretsky. I have enjoyed mosy of them but I am getting fed upwith per liberal rants and constant poryeayal of anyone conservative as the bad guy. There are both good and bad people on both sides of the issues but Paretsky refuses to recognize it and is alienating a large portion of her readers. I read to enjoy good stories, not to have someone else's political views foisted upon me. It is way past time for Paretsky to return to writing for entertainment rather than a political agenda. Without the constant liberal spin, this could have been a really enjoyable book. As it is, it is just more crap. Stephanie Clanahan
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LiberalDem More than 1 year ago
If you like V.I. you will enjoy this book.
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Pippen More than 1 year ago
Great to get back to V.I. and all her 'family'. It kept me guessing to the end
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