Showing posts with label Sara Paretsky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sara Paretsky. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Who is Ready for the New V.I. Warshawski?

Her and I didn't always get along. But I've learned to love her. And she has learned to trust me. Well, you know what I mean. The point is that my pre-order for Sara Paretsky's 22nd V. I. Warshawski novel, Overboard, is in and ready to go. Next Tuesday... well... we already know what it is when our favorites release new books, eh? "On and poppin'" is the right expression for the occassion.



Thursday, December 30, 2021

Linda Barnes, Stand Up Detective

Sue Grafton is not only one of my top three favorite authors, but she is my top favorite mystery author. The contemporary female private eye is my favorite sub-genre within the mystery field, and Grafton’s famous investigator, Kinsey Millhone, is easily my favorite mystery protagonist. I just simply identified with Millhone. Millhone was forward. She also had a loner-type personality, independence, and the matter-of-factness that I identified with from the first book, A is for Alibi. Nevertheless, as well all know, Grafton died four years ago as of my writing this. And with Grafton’s death went the last book in her Kinsey Millhone series, which would have been titled “Z is for…” presumably “Zero” (actually I think Grafton confirmed that “Zero” in an interview). Grafton’s death was a blow in all matters of mystery and literature in general. But, especially, to her fans.

But I am going to stop here, as after her death I decided to concentrate seriously on reading her peers. 2018 saw me smash through Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone series. 2019 saw me do the same with Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski series. Earlier this year I nailed Maxine O’Callaghan’s Deliah West series and finally finished P. D. James' second (and final) Cordelia Grey mystery. 2022 I have plans for reading another British author, Liza Cody. Cody's British private eye, Anna Lee, was making waves overseas during the beginning of Grafton, Warshawski, and O'Callaghan's stories. Nevertheless, there is one other Western author I had on my list to at least start in 2022. That is Linda Barnes and her Carlotta Carlyle female investigator (Barnes has an earlier series featuring a male investigator).

Honestly, it took me a while to find a quality copy of the first book, A Trouble of Fools. Finally, I did. Barnes' Carlotta Carlyle came out in 1987, five years after Grafton and Paretsky made waves. Therefore, Barnes/Carlotta definitely counts as a pioneer contemporary female investigator.

Thus, my journey to take on these ladies and their stories continue. Happily.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Muller & Paretsky Short Story Haul

Soooooo, I'm not that great at keeping up with short stories.  But shoottttttt I miss the cheeseburger and FRIES out of reading Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone private-eye stories.  And equally that of Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series.  I've tidied up these series; totally up-to-date with these two iconic contemporary woman private-eye stories.  Now I really miss these author, and most certainly the voices of their characters.  So short stories it is!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

50 Pages a Day Keep the Good Reading... I Don't Know What Goes Here...


What’s on my reading plate after abandoning half of my October TBR?


"When V.I. Warshawski gets word that her close friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a murder suspect, the legendary detective will do everything to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. Soon Vic discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archaeology—the first clue in a bewildering case. 
But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long-lost niece, Reno, goes missing. Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her. She won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East."

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. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

NEW RELEASE ~ Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark (Spotlight on Sisters in Crime)


Gurllllll, Mrs. Clark got me getting off my tail to make (errr, upload) a video.  Anyway, we're back with Clark's former cop turned PI Chicago-based crime fighter, Cassandra (Cass) Raines in Borrowed Time.  Good times, baby.  Good.  TIMES!  Welcome to a second book, Mrs. Clark.  We're rooting for a 3rd.  4th.  5th.  6th.  7th.  Hell, all the way up to 82!

Tracy Clark's Cass Raines Chicago Mystery Series on Amazon 

Mini Amazon synopsis...

"Sitting in cold cars for hours, serving lowlifes with summonses . . . being a P.I. means riding out a lot of slow patches. But sometimes the most familiar paths can lead straight to danger—like at Cass’s go-to diner, where new delivery guy Jung Byson wants to enlist her expertise. Jung’s friend, Tim Ayers, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, has been found dead, floating in Lake Michigan near his luxury boat. And Jung is convinced there’s a murderer on the loose . . . "

What have I been up to lately on my blog Comic Towel?  Check these links out!

1.  GUEST POST: How to Always be on the Lookout for New Inspiration by Kelvyn Fernandes

2. CHOP IT UP: Call Numbers by Syntell Smith 

3.  David Weber's Honor Harrington Series HYPE (Yeah, a Book Haul of Sorts)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

OUT TUESDAY (5/28/2019)! Tracy Clark's New Release TIME (Sisters in Crime)


"In Tracy Clark’s electrifying new mystery featuring Cassandra Raines, the former Chicago cop turned private investigator looks into a suspicious death as a favor to a friend—and makes some powerful enemies . . .
Sitting in cold cars for hours, serving lowlifes with summonses . . . being a P.I. means riding out a lot of slow patches. But sometimes the most familiar paths can lead straight to danger—like at Cass’s go-to diner, where new delivery guy Jung Byson wants to enlist her expertise. Jung’s friend, Tim Ayers, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, has been found dead, floating in Lake Michigan near his luxury boat. And Jung is convinced there’s a murderer on the loose . . . 
Cass reluctantly begins digging only to discover that Jung neglected to mention one crucial fact: Tim Ayers was terminally ill. Given the large quantities of alcohol and drugs found in his body, Ayers’ death appears to be either an accident or suicide. Yet as much as Cass would like to dismiss Jung’s suspicions, there are too many unanswered questions and unexplained coincidences.   
Why would anyone kill a dying man? Working her connections on both sides of the law, Cass tries to point the police in the right direction. But violence is escalating around her, and Cass’s persistence has already attracted unwanted attention, uncovering sinister secrets that Cass may end up taking to her grave."

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.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski Ebay Lot Sale Unboxing

So I'm suiting up for my 2019 Sara Paretsky V.I. Warshawski project.  Which, I guess I'll simply name, my 2019 Paretsky Project (mainly because those two P's sound so sweet together).  

Anyway, I made this purchase off Ebay–just as I did for my 2018 Marcia Muller Sharon McCone Project.  And just as with that one, I'm reading the entirety of the fictional female private-eye (Chicago-based) detective work of V.I. Warshawki this year.  

Have begun the project with book #9, I'm currently almost through book #11, Blacklist.  This leaves me with 9 entries (only pillar release and no short stories) left. But I'm taking them on a book-by-book bases; breaking whenever I need to.  So long as I get them all done before the end of 2019 to fulfill my project–I'm good.  Nevertheless, I'm doing so happily because I love challenging myself as an endurance reader.  And like with my reading of McCone, I'm taking on Warshawski in honor of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone.  These are her peers, after all.

Okay, done babbling.

BOOK 10.  Total Recall (2001)
BOOK 11.  Blacklist (2003)
BOOK 12.  Fire Sale (2005)
BOOK 13.  Hardball (2009)
BOOK 14.  Body Work (2010)
BOOK 15.  Breakdown (2012)
BOOK 16.  Critical Mass (2013)
BOOK 17.  Brush Back (2015)
BOOK 18.  Fallout (2017)

Random BOOK - Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton

Friday, February 22, 2019

#MarchMysteryMadness TBR - Stunts & Rumbles



March Mystery Madness Challenges...

1.  Old
Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Book 4) by P. J. James (https://amzn.to/2U5Yhu4)

2.  Again
Hard Time: A V. I. Warshawski Novel (V.I. Warshawski Novels Book 9) by Sara Paretsky (https://amzn.to/2BMXC9H)

3.  New
Final Jeopardy (Alexandra Cooper Mysteries) by Linda Fairstein (https://amzn.to/2IsKwUA)

4.  Borrowed
The Color of Justice by Ace Collins (https://amzn.to/2TYXuuE)

5.  Blue
Inner City Blues: A Charlotte Justice Novel by Paula L. Woods (https://amzn.to/2U4ahfq)

6.  Optional: Mystery featuring or themed around a wedding!

Sick of Shadows (Elizabeth MacPherson) by Sharon McCrumb (https://amzn.to/2IwFCWL)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Now I Know Where Kinsey GETS It | Marcia Muller Pushes Through! PART TWO

So let’s get into those quotes/passages I mentioned in my previous post on Marcia Muller’s Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  But if you haven’t followed me to this post, these are the stand-out lines I loved.  They're the lines where I received a flood of realization on how Muller’s protagonist, Sharon McCone, gave roots to women investigators in hard-boiled in crime fiction.  Particularly roots for Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski characters.  For more information, please refer to the previous post.  I’m going to have to try to reduce this down to a few, though.  If not, I’d probably serve up the entire book.
So let’s go!
“He was pushing too hard.  I kept my voice level.  ‘I’m not on my own; I’m an employee of All Souls.  I joined them after the detective agency fired me for refusing to jump at a special assignment that would have humiliated me and set up an innocent man for a very messy and expensive divorce.  And I don’t know about being what you call a “super-sleuth.”  I’m competent.  I’d say my strong point is knowing how to ask the right questions.  Without trying to cram my words into other people’s mouths.’”
Four chapters in and I already love McCone.  She has morals.  She has limits.  She has genuine concern for the individuals involved in her profession.  Most of all, she’s humble.  Yet brassy in a subtle way.
“On my way out of the kitchen, I grabbed a handful of cookies from the big jar that was always full of chocolate chips.  They would be my dinner.  Hank grinned and led me down the central hall to the second office on the right.”
This screamed Kinsey Millhone to me.  Anyone familiar with the character knows she’s obsessed with cheese/peanut butter and pickled sandwiches.  As well as Quarter Pounders.  (For a good while, I actually ate a few myself.  Didn't like them, but since Kinsey did....)  However, just the fluidity of McCone’s voice and actions in this scene stole me.  

I would say between the three, Warshawski has the best appetite.  Though she drinks too much.

Now I Know Where Kinsey GETS It | Marcia Muller Pushes Through! PART ONE

I would not have believed it until seen.  Actually, that’s not the case.  I believed it!  Intrigued it!  Embraced it!  Ran with it on my Amazon wishlist for about two and a half years (pitiful of me).  Put it on my Kindle for over a year (double pitiful of me).  And just this  past February finally received it!  You’re probably wondering what in the world am I talking about.  So let me just get to the point: I finally read the first book in Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone hard-boiled private-eye series, Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  I know.  I know.  Big deal, right?  Well for me–a female-controlled crime fiction junkie–it most certainly is a big deal!  Though I'm awfully late about it...

Most of you guys know I LIVE for Sue Grafton’s California private-eye, Kinsey Millhone.  ("LIVE" is an extreme, extreme understatement).  And you’re also familiar with my apathetic, strange off/on relationship with Sara Paretsky tough ‘n’ tumble Chicago-based woman of the same profession, V. I. Warshawski.  But here’s the thing.  The ticket.  The point of this erratic and fervent post–beginning with a little history lesson. 

In the early 80’s, Grafton and Paretsky transformed the voice of crime fiction.  Through, respectively, their characters Millhone and Warshawski; the authors released the female private-eye alone into the playgrounds of her male counterparts.  And their leading ladies came in just as hard-hitting, proficient, and uncompromising as the male investigators.  But, thankfully, their characteristics weren’t channeled through the virility associated with men.  

Millhone and Warshawski utilized a certain degree of wiles, ingenuity, and vocal consensus to turn a given case in her favor.  Though also dogged at times for answers, they would see cases to the end with just as much profession and dedication as men.  Yet, when push came to shove, they were sometimes afraid to shove back.  They had concerns about the use of violence, as it was first considered a defense and hardly a course of action.  So as level-headed and determined as they could be, force and violence always seemed a final recourse.  Neither were always necessary in the end–as the ladies were likely to have already outsmarted a criminal.  Nevertheless, what I described is precisely why I love the female detective.  She’s afforded an unassuming element that serves as a lethal surprise that never gets old when it's called upon.  Basically, I love a calculating bad-ass woman.


So the opportunities for the lone female private-eye to take stage arrived from Marcia Muller’s 1977 influential debut, Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  It's here Muller introduced the world to private detective Sharon McCone.  McCone was the first unshackled female detective to toss conventions previous held by women in her profession.  She wasn't a side-kick to the male private-eye.  She didn't use anything other than her brains and interrogating acrobatics to mine for information.  She had a voice–a retort–for societal affairs.  She had a heart, though took the zero nonsense approach.  She was brave.  She also meant business, needed to get paid with as little moral compromising, and was well-adjusted to standing alone.  And, well, she had a gun in her purse just in case.  You know, for those occasions she just may have to shoot somebody in the face for her own protection.  
So Muller opened the doors to this new field of detective fiction.  (I'll get into P. D. James' same decade debut of Cordelia Grey at another date.)  She employed a modern, realistic, and liberated woman to traverse the minefields of deception and murder.  All of which beamed on me as I finally read McCone’s first case.  

After the last page, I understood where Kinsey and Warshawski got her voice.  And Muller reminded me–so clearly–why it is that I love this genre when led by women.  Seriously, I highlighted a bucket of passages as I read the book.  Passages that screamed to me, “Kinsey would do/say this.”  Or, “This sounds like an argument Warshawski would find herself in.”  The revelation was too plain not to acknowledge and recognize.
So yes.  I’ve finally gotten down to the root of the modern, free-sprinting, hard-boiled female detective.  And clearly, I'm dedicated to moving forward with Muller and McCone.  I have a long way to go to catch up but, as of now, I’ve found myself a new place to find radiance for my passions.
Part of me wants to review the book, but the other half of me simply wants to share some of those passages I mentioned.  Only because they excited me, and I'm not to hard to please when I've found something special.  But just to be clear, I loved Edwin of the Iron Shoes once I got over having to read it on the Kindle (not good with e-readers).  It was watery in some areas.  Yet, McCone's voice was solid.  But what the hell can I say?  There's a certain respect and credit due to Muller's first book.  To me, that's good enough.

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