Audio: Dead Land by Sara Paretsky @SaraParetsky #SusanEriksen @HarperAudio ‏#LoveAudiobooks

Posted April 14, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 20 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio:  Dead Land by Sara Paretsky @SaraParetsky #SusanEriksen @HarperAudio ‏#LoveAudiobooks Dead Land by Sara Paretsky
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Series: V.I. Warshawski #20
Published by HarperAudio on April 21, 2020
Genres: Mystery
Length: 15 hours, 32 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Chicago may be the city of broad shoulders, but its political law is “Pay to Play.” Money changes hands in the middle of the night, and by morning, buildings and parks are replaced by billion-dollar projects.

Chicago PI V.I. Warshawski gets pulled into one of these clandestine deals through her impetuous goddaughter, Bernie Fouchard. Bernie tries to rescue Lydia Zamir, a famed singer-songwriter now living on the streets; Zamir’s life fell apart when her lover was murdered next to her in a mass shooting at an outdoor concert. Not only does Bernie plunge her and V.I. headlong into the path of some ruthless developers, they lead to the murder of the young man Bernie is dating. He’s a computer geek working for a community group called SLICK.

V.I. is desperate to find a mysterious man named Coop, who roams the lakefront in the middle of the night with his dog. She’s sure he holds the key to the mounting body count within SLICK. Coop may even know why an international law firm is representing the mass murderer responsible for Lydia’s lover’s death. Instead, the detective finds a terrifying conspiracy stretching from Chicago’s parks to a cover-up of the dark chapters in America’s meddling in South American politics. Before she finds answers, this electrifying novel pushes V.I. close to the breaking point: People who pay to play take no prisoners.

I have read and loved the V.I. Warshawski series for a looooong time, since it started in 1982!  I’ve read and loved them all and Dead Land is number 20.  I was happy to get this on audio for review.  I think it would be difficult to jump into the middle of the series because of all the characters developed and their relationships. But each book is its own case, so they could be read as standalone. If you know me, it’s something I try not to do.

There are things which are part of every book, familiar and comfortable. The characters like Mr. Contreras, some of Vic’s regular clients, her lawyer, and many of her friends are often part of her days and support system. Mitch and Peppy are also welcome breaks in long days.  The newsman, Murray, is more involved with this “case” than she would prefer.

But the real instigator here was her goddaughter, Bernie.  Bernie is quite dramatic and impetuous for her age.  I’m a little tired of her antics and the trouble they cause.  Vic has recently been dragged into situations for personal connections, rather than her paying clients’ cases bringing difficulty.

Vic gets into extreme danger, following a trail of murders, with the killers after her, also.  Until they have been exposed and caught, Vic and Bernie may not ever be safe.  Vic takes some hits but fortunately is saavy enough to stay alive.  The action is suspenseful.


Susan Ericksen is the voice of the series for me, providing a very enjoyable performance.  We get a lot of Vic’s thoughts in a stream of consciousness.  There is some dialogue but less than average.  I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip:

About Susan Ericksen

Susan Ericksen is a Renaissance woman. In addition to being an Earphones-winning audiobook narrator and director–she’s a writer, an amateur linguist, an actress, a mother, and a wife. In the 1980s she joined former classmate David Colacci in western Michigan, where he was artistic director for the Hope Summer Repertory Theater. Twenty miles away, a fledgling audiobook publisher called Brilliance was looking for narrators.

Susan has recorded around two hundred audiobooks for Brilliance, BBC Audiobooks, Tantor, and Hachette. “It was a natural step. As repertory theater actors, the whole point is to be able to do Shakespeare one night, a musical the next night, and Noel Coward the next. So you have multiple personalities and multiple character voices and physicalities. These are such valuable skills for doing audiobooks.”

About Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky is a modern American author of detective fiction. Paretsky was raised in Kansas, and graduated from the state university with a degree in political science. She did community service work on the south side of Chicago in 1966 and returned in 1968 to work there. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago, entitled The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New England Before the Civil War, and finally earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Married to a professor of physics at the University of Chicago, she has lived in Chicago since 1968.

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER-20

Posted April 14, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 20 Comments

20 responses to “Audio: Dead Land by Sara Paretsky

  1. Oh, wow! 20 books – what a series. I’m like you – I’m almost fanatical about reading in order.

    I’m glad to see you’re still enjoying the series, even if Bernie is a little annoying. LOL

    Great review!

    • There are a HUGE number of mystery series I read where the authors are now getting less prolific or have died. So many I love. Many have 20 or more books. Elizabeth George, Deborah Crombie, Martha Grimes, Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton, Elizabeth Peters, I can go on and on. I only read this genre for about 20 years so I have read many of them.

      Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: Series on Saturday: Young Adult Fantasty