Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bitter and Soft

"Once again, private eye V. I.  Warshawski finds herself up against rampant corruption in the city of Chicago.  She knows her friend Consuelo's pregnancy is already risky–she's sixteen and diabetic–but when the baby arrives prematurely, suddenly two lives are at stake.  Despite V. I.'s efforts to provide Consuelo with proper care, both mother and daughter die in the local hospital.  Suspecting malpractice, V. I. begins and investigation–and a reluctant romance with an ER doctor.  But deadly complications arise when a series of vicious murders and an attack on a women's clinic lead her to suspect a cold-blooded cover-up.  And if V. I. isn't careful, she just might have delivered her final case."
~ Bitter Medicine

Bitter Medicine was just too easy.  It’s interesting because I remember complaining about how convoluted the first two books in Paretsky’s hard-boiled V.I. Warshawski series were. Setups such as the insurance fraud in Indemnity Only (book #1), and the problematic Chicago freighters issue in Deadlock (book #2), seemed bloated with not-so-easy-to-follow facts, data and principles.  However, the third book in the series, Killing Orders, took on counterfeit bond certificates gracefully; further fueled by the development of Warshawski’s character. And then I arrived here, at Bitter Medicine, and its setup of medical malpractice and racketing.  Somehow, I pipelined my way to the end with very little difficulty comprehending the context concerning those topics. Which could be a good or bad thing, but kind of startling once I reached its conclusion. I was certain I missed something.  It was a Sara Paretsky mystery after all–which requires careful concentration.  But no, it was all laid out clearly, and a little too easily as a whole.

Nevertheless, Bitter Medicine wasn't nearly as great as the book before it, Killing Orders. In all respects, besides the medical malpractice and racketing setup, the murder-mystery aspect of Bitter Medicine kind of read like some sort of practice novel. For starters, a few stock characters were present.  There was the bent and irrational doctor desperately clinging to his status, while invoking its glory on surrounding "peasants" and the rest of the medical community.  Also, there was the Spanish Eddie-like gang leader who profuse intimidation and violence to get his point across.  Unfortunately, he was severely limited to that. 

For real, I could assemble the plot-points and events in a single summary, and even you would realize who the culprit was, and how Paretsky set these stock characters up to fulfill their unswerving purpose. Actually, "unswerving" is the precise word for Bitter Medicine

The book was so plotted and constructed that it gave me little room to speculate outside the narrative. The purposes of her characters and events were that obvious and clear. I immediately knew each role of her characters as they each pertained to the unfolding story. Try this: a women's clinic is raided by protesters. A specific, case-breaking file went missing in the fray. High-powered attorney is used to protect low-waged criminals involved in the raid. Said criminals retained this costly attorney through an undisclosed, third-party sponsorship. This sponsorship is linked to those files missing from the women's clinic's raid.  There is only one available slot for Warshawski to explore concerning the file, the criminals, the attorney, and the sponsorship.  And it's all laid out flat for the reader.  When you read the book, the obvious connections leaves very little for your imagination to deviate from.  At one point I only wondered why Warshawski was even questioning and investigating the plain and obvious.  However, I suppose there has to be some level of procedural work.

Very little difficulty involves piecing this one together.  With that being said, I will continue this series. I like it easy, but not this easy. Nonetheless, Warshawski at her truth-driven smart-mouthed best is worth the journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews