Age and experience has not withered VI Warshawski. In Sara Paretsky's latest tale, Total Recall
, the uncompromising and wildly unconventional private investigator chases leads and suspects around Chicago "like a pinball, careening around the city", despite the fact that she is now positively the wrong side of 40. Paretsky's heroine is called in to investigate a seemingly simple case of insurance fraud (one of her specialities), when things get rather more complicated. At a conference on Christian-Jewish relations, the media is attracted by two very different stories: while protesters outside call for the recovery of Holocaust assets from insurance companies in denial, inside, a middle-aged Jewish man--helped by a recovered-memory therapist--recalls a childhood devastated by Nazis.
Warshawski soon becomes involved in both stories. As her journalist boyfriend prepares for a trip to Afghanistan to investigate the dismal human rights record of the Taliban (a timely, if not prescient, angle from Paretsky), a friend of his staying from New York decides to embark on a book on recovered memory, inspired by a TV special on the therapist and her star client. Hired by the author to help check out the duo's authenticity, VI finds herself on a collision course between the past and the present and between her professional life and her close friendship with a group of Jewish friends. One of these, the spiky surgeon Lotty Herschel (a regular Warshawski character), is deeply disturbed to find her own past may be linked in some way to that of the troubled client.
With her sharp wit, cynicism and daredevil approach to her job, Warshawski is as annoyingly loveable as ever. There are enough twists and turns to this, her latest outing, to offer a challenging read to die-hard fans and newcomers alike. Irritatingly, however, Paretsky leaves some major strands of her story untied, leaving you wondering and, as ever, waiting anxiously for the next VI Warshawski adventure. --Carey Green
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the latest acclaimed tale starring private eye V I Warshawski the story begins with a Holocaust conference in Chicago. An astonishing childhood is related there that has devastating consequences for Lotty Herschel, V I's cherished friend and mentor.