YA-The world seems to be caving in on V.I. Warshawski-the building that houses her office is dilapidated; her bills are mounting rapidly; and the one client who is saving her from financial collapse insists that she find his computer-hacking son a community service job to keep him out of jail. Added to this is her concern about a homeless family living in her soon-to-be condemned building. The family takes on greater significance when an acquaintance of Warshawski's is murdered in her office. She strongly suspects the victim's spouse, but on her way to proving his guilt more obstacles arise that jeopardize her investigation. While certainly a fine mystery, this book also addresses the social issues of child abuse and homelessness, illegal aliens, political power, and payoffs. Paretsky has again woven a tale of intrigue that's sure to keep readers engrossed.-Diane Goheen, Topeka West High School, KS
V. I. Warshawski, perhaps the most popular of the "new breed" of female private investigators, is back in what is without a doubt her best adventure yet, a complex, authentic, and gripping story that shows our heroine at both her bravest and most vulnerable. V. I. is not afraid to take on controversial subjects--spouse and child abuse, the homeless, incest, interracial couples, self-help groups, and alternative lifestyles. Nor is she afraid of taking pot shots at corrupt politicians, big government, political coverups, and the idle rich. This time out, she's up against all of the above and more as part of a group of community activists helping the homeless, the helpless, and the heartbroken. Trouble is, for every do-gooder, there's a crooked politician or corrupt official who's using the system to get rich quick. When one of V. I.'s do-gooder friends is murdered, V. I. is convinced the victim's law-prof husband is the killer. But the more she digs, the more confusing and convoluted the case becomes. Before it's over, V. I. is mugged, shot, burned, battered, and bruised; the whole of the Chicago police force is mad at her; she's offended at least one influential senator; and a giant agricultural conglomerate is ready to sue her. Good thing V. I. is brave, brash, tough, resilient, good-hearted, and so darn bent on stamping out injustice that she survives it all. A whopping good story that will have Paretsky's millions of fans screaming for more.