FIRE SALE by Sara Paretsky
Kirkus Star


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Corruption and deception are never far behind as V.I. Warshawski (Blacklist, 2003, etc.) goes back to her South Chicago roots.

Basketball players aren’t what they were when Warshawski played for Bertha Palmer High. Center Sancia’s got two kids, and Celina Jackman and Theresa Diaz are gang members who constantly fight with April Czernin. Still, when her cancer-stricken former coach Mary Ann McFarlane asks Vic to take over, she can hardly say no, and soon she’s in way over her head, practicing the fast break while keeping the girls from rumbling and helping guard Josie Dorrado’s mother Rose find out why someone is sabotaging the Fly the Flag factory, where she earns barely enough to feed her family of six. Trying to promote enough cash to pay a real coach, Vic visits the corporate headquarters of By-Smart, a discounter that employs most of her players’ families at minimum wage. And though her plea is briskly rebuffed by the Bysen family, richer than the God they invoke at every turn, they eventually hire her to find their youngest son Billy, missing after a dustup between his grandfather and community activist Pastor Andres. Once she has the bit between her teeth, nobody—not her current lover Morrell, her former lover Con Rawlings, her stubborn neighbor Mr. Contreras, or golden retrievers Peppy and Mitch—can stop Vic from seeing justice done.

Warshawski’s tense, sharp 11th shows that you really can go home again.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-15279-2
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2005


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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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