TUNNEL VISION by Sara Paretsky


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Chicago PI V.I. Warshawski (Guardian Angel, 1992, etc.) discovers frail, frightened Tamar Hawkings and her three children living in the rat-infested basement of V.I.'s soonto-be-abandoned office building. Seeking help for the family from the city's shelter organizations, V.I. comes across some odd information about a small group of women in construction trades seeking a contract to build low-cost housing. Something is going on that connects one-time radical Jasper Heccomb; Alec Gantner, a senator's son whose family has megaholdings in an agricultural concern called Gant-Ag; banker Donald Blakely; and law professor Fabian Messenger. An invitation to the Messengers' party brings V.I. into close contact with Fabian's dysfunctional family; and in the party's aftermath, wife Deirdre is found bludgeoned to death in V.I.'s office while teenaged daughter Emily has vanished with two younger brothers in tow. Chaos is furthered by flooded tunnels deep below Chicago's streets, a theatrical backdrop for V.I.'s rescue of the children, with help from valiant neighbor Contreras. The wind-up of the big scam, on Gant-Ag's airfield, is equally melodramatic, ending an overstuffed saga that's as much fun to read as your newspaper on a bad day. Strictly overkill for a heroine gone from hard-edged to hard-bitten and a creative writer on a self-indulgent rampage.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-29932-X
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994


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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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