Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Dead Land by Sara Paretsky
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Series: V.I. Warshawski #20
Published by HarperAudio on April 21, 2020
Length: 15 hours, 32 minutes
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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.
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