V.I. Warshawski, the 1981 movie starring Kathleen Turner, was a barely-memorable flop. So when I picked up my first Sara Paretsky novel several years back, I wasn’t expecting much. My thought then, and all the way to her fifth book, Blood Shot, is this: How the hell did Hollywood screw things up so badly? While Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich pen likable female detectives, Paretsky brings to life a whiskey-drinking, die-hard Chicago sports fan that happens to be a female detective. She’s tough and sexy and also a damn good gumshoe. In Blood Shot, Vickie, as she’s known to her friends, seeks the long-lost father of a friend, but soon finds herself in the middle of an industrial cover-up. She crosses paths with a rich Chicago industrialist, the mob and a South Chicago alderman with myriad Windy City political connections. The result? Warshawki delivers on a case that many of her male counterparts would have either turned down or quit and Paretsky once again shows that Hollywood’s loss is the mystery reader’s gain.
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