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Publisher's Summary

Chicago's V. I. Warshawski confronts crooked politicians and buried family secrets in the gritty new novel from New York Times - bestselling author Sara Paretsky.

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she'd be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that's precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo's plea for help.

For six stormy weeks back in high school, V. I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full twenty-five years for her daughter's murder.

Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V. I. for help. V. I. doesn't want to get involved. Stella hated the Warshawskis, in particular V. I.'s adored mother, Gabriella.

But life has been hard on Frank and on V. I.'s other childhood friends, still stuck on the hardscrabble streets around the dead steel mills, and V. I. agrees to ask a few questions. Those questions lead her straight into the vipers' nest of Illinois politics she's wanted to avoid. When V. I. takes a beating at a youth meeting in her old hood, her main question becomes whether she will live long enough to find answers.

©2015 Sara Paretsky (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, Inc. Recorded by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Narrator

I tried to finish the book - each time I fell asleep. This is the only V.I. book I'm really disappointed with.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story, lousy narrator, can't speak Chicagoan

It was very difficult to get past the voice of the new narrator. She doesn't sound like a Chicagoan. I only continued because I like Paretsky's style.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another great V.I. Warshawski book...

At first I found the narrator to be quite boring, but as I continued listening, I discovered that Karen Peakes did a beautiful job of bringing the characters to life. And yes, even V.I. herself, I had almost let the fact that I believed that Susan Ericksen was the voice of V.I. interfere with my enjoyment of this story. In the end I'm willing to admit that Ms Peakes did an excellent job.
Sara Paretsky wrote another winner as usual! I highly recommend this book to anybody that is interested in mysteries.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book!!

Just use to "V I" voice being Jean Smart or Susan Ericson but it is a good story well worth the wait - can't wait for the next book!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story, well narrated

A lot of characters to keep track of, but the story moves along well. generally excellent job with multiple characters ' voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lee
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • 09-21-15

Warshawski continues

Another good story, with VI battling those who seek power for their own purposes. narrator does an excellent job with different voices for the characters, both male and female.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sylvia
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 09-11-15

V.I. as castrato

How could the performance have been better?

Why or why would someone choose a narrator with a high, thin, preppy voice for a character like V.I.? No one could believe this prom queen could be from South Chicago, much less haul back and slug someone. Storyline was typical V.I. operating in her gritty home ground with a slew of working class characters, sleazy pols, and of course a few classy characters who are always bad guys. Love them all! Just not the narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The narrator of this story was very grating and I believe made the novel even choppier. Not a narrator I could listen to againn

Poor narration made this book disappointing. Lots of similar storylines to previous novels. I was hoping for more.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 08-07-15

V. I. the perfect Private eye

This book is number 17 in the V.I. Warshawski series. One of the things I like about Paretsky’s writing is she includes information about Chicago both past and present. In this story Vic reluctantly returns to the South Chicago neighborhood she grew up in. Vic’s high school friend Frank Garro asked Vic to look into his mother Stella’s long ago conviction for beating his sister Annie to death. She has served the time but continues to say she was framed.

We learn more about Vic’s cousin Boom Boom, a star player with the Blackhawks years ago. Boom Boom’s god-daughter hockey player Bernadine Fouchard is visiting Vic while checking out colleges. Paretsky points out how important sports are in South Chicago’s poor side enabling the excellent players a chance for a college education.

The story is rich and aromatic, entertaining with lots of baseball references. I noted the punning chapter titles. Paretsky has included information about Wrigley Field; I now know about the history of the field. The book is well written and as usual Paretsky plots dig deeper and deeper into the past and present until all is revealed. Karen Peakes narrated the book. I wish this series had the same narrator all the time instead of changing with each book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • pigletbunny
  • Surrey, BC, where we get LESS snow than Seattle
  • 01-15-18

Great story; wrong French accents, again

Sigh. The French accents which the actor adopts are the wrong ones. Although more accurate than the accent acted in the audio performance of the second V.I. Warshawski novel (“Deadlock”, aka, the book in which a French Canadian character is fairly prominent), the accents used to speak the French Canadian characters in “Brush Back” are, again, incorrect.

The characters are Quebecois. The accents performed are not; they sound MUCH closer to France-French accents. I find this error to be very weird, since it’s incredibly easy to access Quebecois audio and video footage (radio and tv programs, movies, and recordings of live events), and thus learn what actual Quebecois accents sound like.

As well, oddly, the French accents in this audio performance of “Brush Back” are all different from each other. At the very least, one of the parents and their live-at-home child should share an accent. (All 3 of the Quebecois characters who speak in “Brush Back” are native to Quebec.)

Other than the accent fails, this audio performance of “Brush Back” is enjoyable, and the story is, as per usual for Sara Paretsky, timely and excellent :-)