Friday, April 5, 2019

Falling for Paretsy. And, Well, Warshawski Of Course!


The number one reason why now I’m in love with Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series? Well, I’ve come to realize the books are a mental challenge/exercise for me. And I don’t use the word “challenge” and "exercise" to suggest the books are synonymous with "good" or even "great reads". Don’t get it twisted. Because they are long-winded and sometimes laborious as a mofo to get through (but I refuse to skip a page). They're also loopy and repetitious. How many times Warshawski can walk the dogs in one book makes a dizzying point. How many times Warshawski gets a parking ticket in one book is exhausting to relive. So, without a doubt, they could use some brevity in certain mundane areas outside of the already thick.

Still, they've become a mental challenge/exercise. Once I was so adverse to how convoluted Paretsky's stories were; having to push through with gritted teeth. Now I find myself engaging with the challenge of keeping up with her offerings. From maintaining tabs on her many busybody characters and her funhousing method of plotting a mystery.


So reading Paretsky required some cognitive strength and serious imagination. And her novels used to stretch and command all my patience in these areas. Yet, lately my recall for all her characters and their respective arcs and threads has gotten sharper. And so goes for her frustrating funhouse method. At one point I more or less could keep track of Paretsky’s long list of players and toss-up plotting. I had a terrible time managing the convoluted machinations of Chicago’s white-collar crime world in Paretsky's books.

Yet, I kept reading the series. Mainly for my love of Paretsky's Warshawski. Still, having reading four entries back-to-back, I realize another reason why I kept reading the series. And, yes, despite my many grievances that begged me to quit.

Beyond my love of the female private-eye stories. Beyond Paraskey being a pillar in this sub-genre alongside my favorite, Sue Grafton. (The dept of that conversation is for another day in this short piece.) I read Paresky’s books because they challenged me as a reader. I’m sure they’re simplistic for some. Hell, I would even say the culprit is always about as predictable as toast straight out the toaster. Even so, her books always put my brain work. As maddening as they are at times, they make me concentrate. And where one point I was impatient with the task, I now gladly greet it.

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