Fire Sale (V. I. Warshawski Series #12)

Fire Sale (V. I. Warshawski Series #12)

4.0 19
by Sara Paretsky

View All Available Formats & Editions

A conscience can weigh a PI down more than the heaviest firearm—and get her into more trouble too. It’s that nagging conscience that makes V. I. Warshawski agree to fill in as coach for the girls’ basketball team at her South Chicago alma mater—which in turn leads her to the headquarters of By-Smart, the global retail empire where V. I.


A conscience can weigh a PI down more than the heaviest firearm—and get her into more trouble too. It’s that nagging conscience that makes V. I. Warshawski agree to fill in as coach for the girls’ basketball team at her South Chicago alma mater—which in turn leads her to the headquarters of By-Smart, the global retail empire where V. I. hopes to get some desperately needed funds for the struggling squad. But conscience seems to be in short supply at By-Smart… with the exception of Billy Bysen, the earnest teenage grandson of the chain’s gruff, tightfisted founder. And when Billy disappears—along with a mysterious document much desired by By-Smart’s management team—V. I. is hurled onto a twisted, body-strewn path that runs through Chicago’s dirtiest places and reveals some of its dirtiest secrets.…

Editorial Reviews

When V. I. Warshawski becomes the girls' basketball coach at her old high school, she quickly learns that the job involves more than fast breaks and foul-shooting practice. Befriending the working mother of one of her players, she learns about a pattern of sabotage at small South Side factory. The allegations become personal when the plant explodes and V.I. is injured. Her suspicions lead her to the Bysen family, the fractious owners of the giant discount chain By-Smart. With an eccentric octogenarian founder and four quarrelsome sons, this mean-spirited brood provides more suspects than even V.I. can handle.
Publishers Weekly
Nobody does physical danger and personal pain better than Paretsky, and in many ways the audio version of her 12th V.I. Warshawski mystery captures those qualities more effectively than the book. It helps considerably that Burr makes us believe almost instantly that she is the thorny Chicago private eye who has never really escaped her rough South Side roots even though she now usually works in more upscale neighborhoods. Burr catches all the vocal nuances-the tough and touching young female basketball players from V.I.'s old high school; the black cop ex-lover and the foreign correspondent seriously wounded in Afghanistan who has taken his place; and V.I.'s crotchety, well-meaning old neighbor. As Warshawski looks for a corporate sponsor for the basketball team she has agreed to coach, a flag factory explodes and its owner is killed, a young man from a giant discount store family disappears with one of the basketball players-and once again life for V.I. becomes extremely complicated, not to mention painful. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, May 16). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Paretsky's latest draws V.I. back to her South Chicago roots when she reluctantly agrees to coach the girls basketball team at her former high school, which is struggling with poverty, teen pregnancy, a lack of equipment, and gang influence. The old neighborhood has declined, too, and when a small local factory is sabotaged, V.I. is persuaded to investigate. Meanwhile, she hopes to gain financial support for the basketball team from By-Smart, a megadiscount chain whose founder also grew up in South Chicago. In a series of events that includes an explosion at the local factory, a horrifying murder, and the disappearance of a basketball player, V.I. is drawn into a deadly conflict between By-Smart and South Chicago's residents. Fast-paced and as entertaining as any entry in the series, this installment will please fans. Recommended for public libraries and popular reading collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 2/1/05.]-Leslie Madden, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Corruption and deception are never far behind as V.I. Warshawski (Blacklist, 2003, etc.) goes back to her South Chicago roots. Basketball players aren't what they were when Warshawski played for Bertha Palmer High. Center Sancia's got two kids, and Celina Jackman and Theresa Diaz are gang members who constantly fight with April Czernin. Still, when her cancer-stricken former coach Mary Ann McFarlane asks Vic to take over, she can hardly say no, and soon she's in way over her head, practicing the fast break while keeping the girls from rumbling and helping guard Josie Dorrado's mother Rose find out why someone is sabotaging the Fly the Flag factory, where she earns barely enough to feed her family of six. Trying to promote enough cash to pay a real coach, Vic visits the corporate headquarters of By-Smart, a discounter that employs most of her players' families at minimum wage. And though her plea is briskly rebuffed by the Bysen family, richer than the God they invoke at every turn, they eventually hire her to find their youngest son Billy, missing after a dustup between his grandfather and community activist Pastor Andres. Once she has the bit between her teeth, nobody-not her current lover Morrell, her former lover Con Rawlings, her stubborn neighbor Mr. Contreras, or golden retrievers Peppy and Mitch-can stop Vic from seeing justice done. Warshawski's tense, sharp 11th shows that you really can go home again.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
V. I. Warshawski Series, #12
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 7.58(h) x 1.32(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Sara Paretsky is the author of sixteen books, including her renowned V. I. Warshawski novels. Her many awards include the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers' Association. She lives in Chicago.

Brief Biography

Chicago, Illinois
Date of Birth:
June 8, 1947
Place of Birth:
Ames, Iowa
B.A., Political Science, University of Kansas; Ph.D. and M.B.A., University of Chicago

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Able voice performer Sandra Burr gives another aces reading as she takes on the persona of dauntless private detective V. I. Warshawski. There's humor, suspense, drama and, perhaps best of all, V.I. on her old stomping grounds, the South side of Chicago. She's returned there on a kind of errand of mercy - filling in for the coach of the girl's basketball team at her old high school. Such girls V.I. didn't see when she was in high school - high-strung, unmarried moms, a bit of a motley bunch. Nonetheless, V.I. digs in with her usual vigor and sets out to get some corporate backing for the team. First stop is By-Smart, a hugely successful discount store owned by one of her former classmates, Buffalo Bill Bysen. Seems that helping the team isn't high on Buffalo Bill's agenda. Nor, in actuality, is seeing V.I. again. That is until his son disappears. The vanished young Bysen isn't V.I.'s only challenge - a mother of one of her team members suggests there's foul play at the factory where she works. That's an understatement because the factory soon explodes injuring V.I. and killing the owner. As V.I.'s investigation continues she also finds an updated West Side Story only from the South Side of Chicago - Bysen's son has run away with a young Latina. Although this is Paretsky's 12th time out with a Warshawski novel, V.I. is as fresh and appealing as ever. Good listening for detective story fans. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
Paretsky really knows how to mix social issues in with the adventures of a well-loved heroine. Since I agree with her political views, I relished hearing Vic trying to protect the teenage girls of South Chicago from having babies. I also enjoyed seeing the moralistic, holier than thou Bysen family get taken down a bit. The only criticism that I have is that I wish there were more interactions between Vic and Lotty. Have always enjoyed their relationship. VI fans will not be disappointed.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Private Investigator V.I. Warshawski says no when her former basketball coach at Bertha Palmer High School Ms. McFarlane asks her to take over the girl¿s team until she can come back to work or another volunteer surfaces. The coach reminds Victoria that basketball enabled her to get a scholarship to the U of Chicago. That fails to move Victoria, but when Coach mentions she is having cancer surgery implying she will never return Vic reluctantly takes over the sixteen girl squad that includes gang members and a center with two kids................ One of the team¿s stars Josie Dorrado asks Ms. Warshawski to talk with her mother who is concerned with rumors she overheard that someone is going to blow up By Smart¿s nearby manufacturing plant. If this happens many people including the older Dorrado will be out of work as By Smart is the biggest employee besides maybe the gangs in the depressed South Chicago. In spite of expecting nothing, Vic. goes to check out the tip when the explosion occurs. At about the same time, Josie and Billy Young, grandson of the By-Smart owner, run away. Vic hopes to find the teens before they get into trouble and also uncover who blew up the plant killing someone she knows while recovering from injuries and finally coaching teen basketball..................... The who-done-it starts late, as Sara Paretsky provides her fans with an absorbing tour of Warshawski¿s old neighborhood. The team is delightful to follow with their fights, clichés, and camaraderie with several having unique personalities. More personal than usual, FIRE SALE is a fabulous South Chicago mystery that provides an interesting new side to V.I. that of mentoring coach. Sara Paretsky talent shines through with each book she writes.............. Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story would have been more interesting if it had ended 100 pages earlier. I found myself scanning paragraphs so I could get to the climax and get on to reading another mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish Sara Paretsy could find something more original to write about - her last 7 books are so filled with her social agenda (pro-choice, now, this one, banging fundamentalists and Christians) it's getting way too predictable and boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is a good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago