BITTER MEDICINE by Sara Paretsky
Kirkus Star


A V.i. Warshawski Novel
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Another bumpy trip for Chicago's tough, gruff super P.I.-lawyer V.I. Warshawski (Deadlock, etc.). There's a heart of gold under her wisecracking rap, and this time it leads V.I. (less pretentiously, Vic for Victoria) into investigating the murder of Dr. Malcolm Tregiere. The doctor was allied with Vic's longtime friend Dr. Lotty Herschel in a low-income area clinic for women. Pregnant, unmarried teen-ager Consuelo Alvarado was his patient. Vic's charitable attempt to help get a job in the suburbs for the girl's worthless boyfriend Fabiano led to an emergency dash for the nearest hospital (Friendship) when Consuelo went into early labor. A short time later, Consuelo and baby were dead; Dr. Tregiere, who'd visited the girl in the hospital, is then found murdered; Lotty's clinic is besieged by anti-abortionists, the files ravaged; Vic is being courted by the hospital's obstetrics head, Dr. Peter Burgoyne, and wondering why her very expensive lawyer ex-husband is representing Dieter Monkfish, scruffy leader of the anti-abortionists. Something's not kosher at the very-much-for-profit hospital with its slick brochures and designer-groomed director Alan Humphries. Add to this Fabiano's gang leader Sergio, who holds a grudge against our girl from her lawyering days, and a raft of colorful subsidiary characters. Paretsky makes the most of it all with a dense, convincing, fast-moving plot, a dauntless but vulnerable heroine, a fine-tuned ear for real-life dialogue and a sharp eye for the Chicago scene. Superior stuff.
Pub Date: May 15th, 1987
ISBN: 0451230272
Page count: 206pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1987


FictionFIRE SALE by Sara Paretsky
by Sara Paretsky
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

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 in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. 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 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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