Sara Paretsky is the author of eleven other VI Warshawski titles including HARD TIME, TUNNEL VISION, GUARDIAN ANGEL and BITTER MEDICINE.
Already having established herself as an inventor of the female private eye and a master of the mystery format, Paretsky skillfully expands the form to tackle several convergent themes in a moving novel of discovery and redemption. V.I. "Vic" Warshawski has a traditional mystery to solve: the life insurance policy of black factory worker Aaron Sommers had been faithfully maintained, paid for weekly even when other demands surely seemed of greater urgency. But when Aaron's widow needed to collect, the company denied the claim, saying the policy had been cashed a decade earlier. That leads Vic to Ajax Life Insurance Co. and Ralph Devereux, whom she encountered in her very first case, Indemnity Only (1982). Her investigation is subtly intertwined with another much more personal and wrenching inquiry into the appearance of a man calling himself Paul Radbuka, whose recovered memory as a child survivor of the Holocaust leads him to claim a kinship with Vic's friend Max Loewenthal. Radbuka's claim has an unexpected and drastic affect on Lotty Herschel, Vic's friend and mentor. The twin investigations allow the author to explore simultaneously the issues raised by the Illinois Holocaust Asset Recovery Act and the issue of reparations for the descendants of slaves. Dark, absorbing, probing Paretsky's novel explores the complex web of degrees of guilt and complicity surrounding the fate of Holocaust victims and survivors, with Lotty's story emerging with compelling, terrible clarity and inevitability. (Sept. 11) Forecast: With a six-figure marketing campaign and a subject of universal interest, this novel should bring in lots of new readers who will ensure a healthy run on bestseller lists. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
At a Chicago conference on Jews and Christians, an unassuming man calling himself Paul Radbuka makes some startling assertions. Claiming that a recovered-memory therapist has recently helped him to regain memories of a childhood destroyed by the Holocaust, he seeks to find his true family. Before she knows it, private detective V.I. Warshawski is drawn into the turmoil unleashed by these claims and watches helplessly as her dearest friend and mentor, Lotty Hershel, is consumed by a past she wishes to forget. This is Paretsky's tenth V.I. Warshawski novel, and V.I. is as strong-willed as ever, risking herself at every turn to find the truth. Readers not familiar with this series may find the complex plot and large cast of characters confusing, but fans will want to read this one. Recommended for public libraries and popular reading collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/01.]Leslie Madden, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.