Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Brush (the Hell) BACK by Sara Paretsky

"Chicago's V. I. Warshawski confronts crooked politicians and buried family secrets in the gritty new novel from New York Times - bestselling author Sara Paretsky. 
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. 
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 twenty-five years for her daughter's murder. 
Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V. I. for help. V. I. doesn't want to get involved. Stella hated the Warshawskis, in particular V. I.'s adored mother, Gabriella. 
But life has been hard on Frank and on V. I.'s other childhood friends, still stuck on the hardscrabble streets around the dead steel mills, and V. I. agrees to ask a few questions. Those questions lead her straight into the vipers' nest of Illinois politics she's wanted to avoid. When V. I. takes a beating at a youth meeting in her old hood, her main question becomes whether she will live long enough to find answers."
(Stripped from my Goodreads review.  Plunked into my cell phone in a moment of ranting.)

Boring. Unexciting entry. Terribly convoluted, confusing and contrive (why has her editors not checked her on this by now!?). Too many characters, with little to no character. Repetitive (sick of the dogs jumping in lakes, ransacked break-ins, squeaking young woman sidekick, stupid fist fights, prejudice-ass Mr. Contreras, one-dimensional politicians/goons, whiplash pacing). All the characters are either angry or spastic AND angry. Nothing worth investing into, really. 
I thought the previous book, Critical Mass, was a HUMONGOUS step forward in storytelling and emotional investment. And then we get this Brush Back. While Paretsky's work has always been an endurance type of read, her best stuff comes out when she incorporates history into the present.

Anyway, two more books to go before I'm caught up with this series–per my 2019 Sara Paretsky Project (bish, I'm tired of reading this books lowkey).

I hope NEVER to see again...

1. "Boom-Boom" (also UNCLE Boom-Boom). Paretsky thirst to use his name on every page she can
2. "Uncle" anything needs to go. So juvenile it hurts when Paretsky's characters use it
3. We got rid of Petra. Now Paretsky straps us with Bernie. She heard readers the first time. Why be contrary about it? No one likes these characters
4. Peppy and Mitch gotta go. I know how some readers feel about dogs. But they need to go. Their antics are too desperate and forcedddddddd. Girl, it's tooooooo much. It's just too much!
5. Enough Tough Girl VI. Be Resourceful and Clever Woman from now on.
6. My god GET a dossier
7. My god GET a practical flow chart
8. Move VI out of this apartment and into her own space all ready. Please stop doing this to this woman. She's 50 now. Can she grow up just a little?
9. Pick a mode of transportation and stick to it. I'm exhausted for her!
10. It's time for a new office space. VI desperately needs to rebrand and revamp. The whole vibe and energy of the series as well. Hell, even Marcia Muller knew this about Sharon McCone.

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