43. – 556.) Body Work by Sara Paretsky – V.I. Warshawski is coping with another mean Chicago winter. This time the story comes from her cousin, Petra, working at a club where the Body Artist has been attacked. Never one to shy from a problem Vic heads to the club. The Body Artist is a woman whose performance involves sitting naked on a stage, covered with a heavy foundation makeup, and inviting audience members to paint on her body. (The image is more disturbing than erotic to me.) One of the regular audience members, Chad Vishinski, is a troubled Iraq vet. America now has troubled vets from WW II, the Korean War, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war. For some reason Chad is upset by the images painted by Nadia Guaman, another regular audience member. When Nadia is dramatically killed and the gun is found next to an unconscious Chad the establishment has an easy solution. Vic, on behalf of Chad’s family, digs into the circumstances. As she bluntly probes the story leads her to the Iraq war and the prominent role of private contractors in America’s 21st Century wars. The scent of big money has lured corporate America into participating in their nation’s conflicts. Mixed in is a storyline involving more classic Chicago gangsters. The secondary plot does not work as well in this book as it normally does in Paretsky’s complex plots. The Warshawksi books remain the only series of entertaining, well written, mysteries that expose the flaws of major American business. They continue to appeal to me as Vic ages (in her 50’s she is from my generation) and the consequences of her physical confrontations have a greater impact on her body. I was reminded of the older Spenser of Robert B. Parker’s novels accepting, but not conceding, that his body could not do what everything he wanted. V.I. is a lady I wish my wife Sharon and I could meet and share a drink with in downtown Chicago. Paretsky deserves the praise and recognition P.D. James gave her in Talking About Detective Fiction. Hardcover. (Nov. 20/10)
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.