KILLING ORDERS by Sara Paretsky

KILLING ORDERS

A V. I. Warshawski Novels

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sara Paretsky brings us her third mystery, Killing Orders, and with it, her tough-girl detective V.I. Warshawski, a kind of grownup Nancy Drew--smart, gutsy, and able to balance thinking with acting. In this novel, Vic responds to a cry for help from her aunt Rosa, a real Tartar who's been fired as treasurer from a local Dominican priory after the monks discover that several million dollars' worth of securities have been substituted with forgeries. Seemingly out of the blue, the truly awful Rosa then tries to fire Vic, but Vic's seen too much to quit (and, anyway, it's family). So Vic persists, and for her trouble a friend is killed, another friend's uncle is stabbed, and Vic herself becomes the target of terror tactics--acid thrown at her in a dark hallway, a mysterious fire in her apartment. It's not so surprising given her opponents: the Mafia, an international financial organization, and the Catholic church. Paretsky creates a believable, sympathetic, nicely developed character and gives us a detailed backdrop, so that we learn enough about Chicago and environs to know where to eat, what expressways to avoid, and which buildings have the finest outdoor art. She is as capable as her detective heroine, weaving in real-life scandals (Sindona and the Franklin National Bank, Roberto Calvi and the Banco Ambrosiano) to validate her plot. No mystery buff will mind the fact that Paretsky doesn't break new ground. She gives us a classic mystery, a page-turner in the best tradition.
Pub Date: May 17th, 1985
ISBN: 0451214978
Page count: 372pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1985




Upcoming Kirkus Interview

July 28, 2015
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK

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.

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