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Hardball | [Sara Paretsky]

Hardball

When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find Lamont Gadsden, a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets - her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her - rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance. To complicate matters, Petra, a young cousin whom V.I. has never met, arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign.
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Publisher's Summary

Chicago's unique brand of ball is 16-inch slow pitch, played in leagues all over the city for more than a century. But in politics, in business, and in law enforcement, the game is hardball.

When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find Lamont Gadsden, a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets - her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her - rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance.

To complicate matters, Petra, a young cousin whom V.I. has never met, arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign. It does not take long for the high-spirited yet likable Petra to win over V.I.'s affections. When Petra goes missing after a break-in at the office, V.I. is determined to find her beloved cousin.

As the search to locate Petra becomes more desperate, V.I. is also having difficulties tracking down Lamont Gadsden. Unable to catch a break, she learns that a nun who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., has died before she can reveal crucial evidence. V.I. herself almost dies in a blazing fire, and new information has emerged about her father's role in a politically and racially charged trial almost 40 years ago. Afraid to discover that her adored father might have been a bent cop, V.I. takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end.

©2009 Sara Paretsky; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (193 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (94 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (92 )
5 star
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4 star
 (32)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 02-05-10
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 02-05-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    514
    ratings
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    335
    89
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    40
    5
    Overall
    "Weak Start, Strong End"

    The first five hours of this audiobook find VI mawkishly wallowing in her memories. It's so boring I almost stopped listening. I'm glad I didn't. The book picks up steam in the sixth hour and Part Two speeds along in a satisfying manner. The ending was so good I even shed a tear, so I'm glad I persisted. But those five hours are just about half the book, and that's why, despite the stellar second part, I gave it three stars.

    Perhaps more ardent fans of VI than I, won't find the first part as boring as I did.

    The narrator is just OK. She uses the same voices for several characters, making it hard to understand who is saying what. Her voicing of Uncle Peter's temper tantrums grates on the ears.

    I don't recommend this as a first read in the VI Warshawsky series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babs Ottawa, ON, Canada 09-30-09
    Babs Ottawa, ON, Canada 09-30-09 Member Since 2004

    the Gadget Queen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So-so narrator and one AWFUL new character"

    I think there are two books here -- the one that includes Vic's obnoxious, terminally perky, lying cousin Petra, whom everyone else adores (shades of All About Eve?) and the blissful portions of the book when Petra has disappeared (we hope never to return). I found the first part of the book so tedious, and then when Petra disappeared and Vic actually got to do some great investigating, I remembered why I love this writer and this series. The narrator only accentuates the novel's flaws -- her Vic is either calm or shrilly furious, with no nuances. Petra is a whiny Valley Girl, her father roars all the time (that may be how the character is written, but it's like being screamed at) and Lottie -- who must be in her 70s or 80s and is European -- sounds as young as Vic with an American accent. Bizarre that the reader is quite good at other accents and characterizations but doesn't bother to bring Lottie to life and makes the main characters maddeningly two-dimensional.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Santa Cruz, US, Canada 07-18-12
    Jennifer Santa Cruz, US, Canada 07-18-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
    Story
    "Tremendous characters and performance"
    Where does Hardball rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is near the top. The quality of the performance and the depth of the characters absorbed me. I tend to listen as I am falling asleep and then have to back track when I wake up, so sometimes, I hear one part many times and never hear some parts. However, in spite of that issue, this was just tremendous. I recommend it for its depiction of Chicago, the South Side of Chicago, VI's mother, the family in general -- all of it. The story seemed a bit of a stretch, and that's my only slight negative.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes, the plot had me listening, but in the end I feel like it was a stretch.


    What does Susan Ericksen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The characterizations are intensified when presented in audio form.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Her upset over having her trunk torn through. I could really appreciate her feelings about her Mother and the dress.


    Any additional comments?

    The depiction of the homeless guy is wonderful also. Read this if you like in-depth characters. I think it helps to have read one or more others of her works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Colorado Springs, CO, United States 01-09-11
    Andrew Colorado Springs, CO, United States 01-09-11 Member Since 2004

    Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Not too exciting."

    While I can't say I was really bored listening to this book, I can say that I wasn't overly stimulated either. This is a mystery novel where the detective doesn't really solve mystery but more or less stumbles on the solution. The protagonist, VI Warshawski, isn't particularly likable either, so this wasn't a particularly satisfying listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loulou 06-24-12
    Loulou 06-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Performed by a pro"

    This is a good book made better by an excellent, excellent reading. The narrator has a very easy-to-listen-to voice, and gives a masterful performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 06-25-11
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 06-25-11 Member Since 2009

    Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
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    "Loved the story & the narrator enhances the story"

    I think I've read (listened to) all the VI Warshawski books and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The narrator does a super job of many different voices - and shows that narrating a book isn't just reading the book. Can't wait for the next one in the series (actually, I have already listened to the next one, but had missed this one somehow). So I'm looking forward to the one after that!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Buggs Wisconsin 07-16-10
    Susie Buggs Wisconsin 07-16-10 Member Since 2008

    Susie Buggs

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love Paretsky - not so much the narrator"

    It was classic V.I. Warshawsky - not the best but a good read. The narrator was questionable. I had difficulty distinguishing the difference between some characters, many seemed unnecessarily loud and what the heck happened to Lottie's and Max's accents? Weird.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Irving, TX, USA 06-11-10
    Jeffrey Irving, TX, USA 06-11-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    3
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    "Love it!"

    I'm currently addicted to all things VI! I absolutely love this book and am eagerly anticipating the next one. VI has never been shy about expressing her feelings (and I assume Ms. Paretsky's as well). In this novel she continues to give her beliefs on all things--healthcare, race relations, etc. I don't agree with all her beliefs but she's not me and I'm not her and to me all that matters is her unending search for the truth! VI doesn't care about what is PC or whose toes she might step on that are way up the food chain, she is David and the world is Goliath and she will stop at nothing to just get the simple truth with out all the BS! This novel also explores deeper into her own family history which I feel is normally cut out of many detective novels. Learning about her family is very interesting to me and listening to her inner conflicts concerning this case made me put myself in her situation and wonder how I would feel.
    If you are a true VI fan then this is another home run!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Shamrock, TX, United States 01-28-10
    Lee Shamrock, TX, United States 01-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    111
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    "Disappointed"

    I'm upset at how much time Sara Paretzky spent on her political beliefs. In this book she reveals she is Pro Obama, Pro universal healthcare, Pro socialist government, and anti white and thats just the first 30 minutes. I've always been a big fan of V.I.. I even have the Kathleen Turner movie and thought she was a great choice for the part. But for this book i'll have to rethink my choices next time. I'll probably still buy the book because V.I. is a lively protagonist.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Waters 02-04-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
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    29
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    8
    0
    Overall
    "V.I. Warshawski Still Writ Large"

    Sara Paretsky's hard-boiled lady p.i. keeps working on large scale social issues and Chicago is better off for it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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