on 28 June 2002
The thought of female P.I detective fiction might put off male readers who would rather not read the rantings of an angst-ridden feminist. It shouldn't. The Warshawski books are well worth the read and this one tops the lot of them. Since Vic first took her Smith and Wesson out of its holster, she has been delighting readers with her adventures and mis-adventures. Paretsky subjects the poor woman to more physical abuse and emotional turmoil in each volume than one person can reasonably be expected to cope with in a lifetime and 'Tunnel Vision' is no exception as she limps down Chicago's darker passages on the latest of her typically quixotic and altruistic quests.
V.I is but one of the well-drawn characters of Paretsky's series. The long suffering Lotty is another beautiful and complex character who doesn't take any c#*p either and she is joined by a host of other innocent bystanders who become entangled in the debris of the private-eye's wonderfully complex life. The emotional element is touching but never mawkish; the action is engaging but never gratuitous and as Vic crawls Schwarzeneger-like to the book's conclusion we are merely left waiting for the next one, hoping that Paretsky will let her loose on Chicago's streets one more time. I have yet to read her latest effort 'Total Recall' but 'Hard Time' did not disappoint.
I was introduced to V.I by Kathleen Turner but fortunately in the form of an excellent Radio 4 dramatisation of Deadlock with Eleanor Bron as Lotty, and not by that direst of films V.I Warshawski. (This film canibalised the worst events of the first few books and skillfully extracted the Paretsky's charm and gift for story-telling.)
For readers who haven't read Paretsky start with Deadlock and Killing Orders. Better still buy the three-in-one volume and save yourself the time.
on 6 December 2011
VI's strong sense of social justice and nose for corruption take her once again into the seedy side of Chicago life. Juggling investigations, friends old and new, and her current relationship takes its toll but VI is resilient, brave and resourceful. A strong, satisfying read.