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3.9 out of 5 stars11
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2006
I'm a big fan of V.I. Warshawski and this, her latest outing, is her best. The seamy underbelly of South Chicago with its struggling families, lack of resources (social and crimefighting) and dominance by a ruthless family owned retail conglomerate is brought fully to life by Sara Paretsky's deft characterisations. V.I. remains a very human heroine and, despite surviving some nasty injuries in pretty much every book, does appear to be aging both physically and in wisdom as the series progresses.
Our story begins with V.I. being unwillingly drafted in to coach a girls' basketball team at her old high school. One of the girls mothers works at Fly the Flag, a flag manufacturing company employing local workers. She becomes concerned about operations and asks to see V.I., then inexplicably changes her mind. In classic private eye style, V.I. never lets a question go unanswered and the action takes off from there.
Fire Sale is sufficiently informative about the relationships between V.I. and the regular cast members to stand alone as a novel. The fine balance between educating the novice reader and not boring the regulars is well handled and we find more tidbits about V.I.'s prior relationship with Rawlings as well as her current amour, Morrell. Highly recommended both for regular readers of the series and for those who enjoy the private eye genre.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2006
Another action packed Warshawski novel. With the seedy underbelly of south Chicago biting through bringing back memories for Warshawski that she would prefer remain buried. Getting sucked into an investigation she didn't ask for finding missing people and asking questions that invariably put her life in danger. The book seemed to lack the darkness that came with her last book but it still keeps your heart pounding throughout.
Vic gets sucked into coaching a basketball team at her old school, it's not the only thing she gets sucked into. Exploding factories, missing teenagers, dead aquaintances and a battle scarred lover. There's nothing missing from this book and although lacking the edge of some of her previous books it's a must read for all Warshawski fans.
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on 26 October 2006
Sara Paretsky continues her excellent detective novel series by sending her lead character, VI Warshawski, back to her South Chicago roots. VI begins coaching a girls' basketball team at her old school and becomes involved in the intrigue surrounding a well-known superstore chain and a flag factory that is being vandalised and intimidated. VI once again takes her hits and injuries, but keeps her eye on the case when one of her team and the rich heir to the superstore chain go missing.

Paretsky has once again produced an excellent novel, and has stuck to the things she knows best - getting VI in and out of trouble. Paretsky has very strong political views and these show here, but don't overwhelm the story.

This book is an excellent addition to the VI Warshawski series, but is also readable as a standalone novel. well worth the effort.
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on 30 January 2016
This is a good story but lags a little in the telling. I wanted to know what happened and pushed on through to find out but I got tired of the sourness that seeped out of the characters and tired of reading yet again about the complications of V I's relationships. Humour is lacking but the plot is very clever.
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on 31 January 2014
A great read. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes reading crime/thrillers. Impeccable story as usual by Sara Paretsky, up to her usual standard. Keeps you glued to the story right to the end.
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on 25 September 2013
Brilliantly set novel. Sara Paretsky as good as ever. It's sometime since I ready anything so good and gripping. Would definitely find tome to read more.
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on 20 February 2015
Always a great read. Love the Chicago setting.
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on 27 November 2015
Fantastic. One or Ms Paretsky's best!
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Sara Paretsky's work is best when she uses the chilling surroundings of the poor as one of her characters. The bleak streets provide a color that makes all of her characters and plots that much more vivid and interesting.
Take V.I. out of the slums and the characters become uninteresting, thin and superfluous.
Fire Sale is squarely placed in the depths of South Chicago. That's what lifts this book above being an average novel.
There's a nice touch to the story as V.I. finds herself recruited to be a fill-in for her old high school basketball coach who's fighting cancer. In the story, there are many flashbacks as V.I. reflects on her own times and how those times are different from these times for these young women.
You've never attended a basketball practice like these. Observers include the children of the players and their "boyfriends".
There's also gripping material about a slum factory . . . and the accidents that dog its existence.
V.I. finds herself with more "cases" than she can handle (most of these are of the nonpaying variety). That makes the plot deliciously complex -- something Ms. Paretsky does not always achieve in her books.
The book has two annoying qualities that keep it from being a five-star novel. First, Ms. Paretsky falls into the trap that many novelists do who have heroines . . . they turn the heroines into either punching bags or pincushions for physical violence. It's unnecessary and it's annoying. Second, as usual, her portrayal of the rich makes them so obnoxious and annoying that you don't really want to read those sections. Ms. Paretsky needs to appreciate that even villains become more interesting when you give them sympathetic qualities. The material about the Bysens is so annoying that I was tempted to grade the book at three stars. Think of this as a three-and-a-half star book.
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on 30 October 2010
I don't like this book (which sees Paretsky's main character go back to her old high school to coach basketball and become involved in a dispute between a contractor and a Wal-Martesque company) for a number of reasons. First, the lead character leaves me cold. Everyone seems to rave about the character, but I can't bring myself to like her.

My irritation may have something to do with the fact that most people call her by the surname. It automatically puts a distance between me and her, a distance I didn't particularly like. This seems to be a common trait of the Washawski character, because I read another book by Paretsky 3 or 4 years ago and had the same problems.

Secondly, I got irritated by the lengths she went to to make it obvious that the retailer in the book wasn't Wal-Mart (going so far as to say so at one point). This just tended to get me thinking about Wal-Mart too much, and that's something that just flat out irritates me.

At the moment I'm conducting a one person campaign against Wal-Mart. I refuse to shop there because of the impact they're having on the American economy, so spending a lot of time reading a book that uses their economic model as a template just felt like a waste of time after a while.

Finally, I might have read to many detective novels, but I knew who was involved in the murder from the first time we met them, while kind of defeats the object of a whodunnit.
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