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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Topical subjects...
Sara Paretsky is an excellent writer of popular fiction - as her sales will attest - but she is also a novelist who combines good writing with an examination of topical subjects. Most novelists will not try to tackle some of today's social problems. The reader always knows Paretsky's social views by reading her books.

Paretsky's newest novel, "Breakdown", is an...
Published on 6 Jan 2012 by Jill Meyer

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Mystery Mired in the Perspective of Class and Political Warfare
"He will not allow me to catch my breath,
But fills me with bitterness." -- Job 9:18 (NKJV)

V.I. is back, pulled into all kinds of events that aren't really her problem . . . but which she kindly takes on as her own responsibilities. That's what makes her an appealing heroine for this series. A challenge in the beginning is that new challenges pile up a...
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by Donald Mitchell


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Topical subjects..., 6 Jan 2012
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Sara Paretsky is an excellent writer of popular fiction - as her sales will attest - but she is also a novelist who combines good writing with an examination of topical subjects. Most novelists will not try to tackle some of today's social problems. The reader always knows Paretsky's social views by reading her books.

Paretsky's newest novel, "Breakdown", is an examination of how right-wing radio and politicians affect American society. It's an edgy book, with a Glen Beck-like TV and radio commentator stirring up hatred for illegal aliens and Jews and blacks on a Fox News-like network. And a Sarah Palin-like female politician who looks to lock down the votes of like-minded Illinois voters in a US Senate race. She's running against a black woman and she and the radio host come out with racial epitaphs that might be disturbing to the reader. It's sort of Fox-News-on-steroids.

But if racial and other bigotry is part of the story, then Paretsky's heroine "VI Warshawski" is the other part. Maybe a little old at 50 to do the dangerous physical work and sustaining the hits she does, Warshawski remains the center of the story and the personalities she's involved in. The story, which is set in current day Chicago, brings in everything from the Holocaust to the above mentioned right-wing politics, to several murders, much of it with a mental health facility connection. The old favorites from Paretsky's previous books are back - Mr Conteras, cousin-Petra,and the dogs of the household are just a few of the old friends we meet in a new story.

"Breakdown" is a terrific book; Paretsky's done herself proud with the newest. But it is her most overtly "political" and might be too much so to a reader looking for a "light" read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then my politics and sympathies are right in tune with Paretsky's.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read from Paretsky, 7 May 2012
By 
Expat "Sarah" (Thuringen, Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Breakdown (Paperback)
As a long term fan of the VI Warshawski books, I always look forward to a new one. This one does not disappoint. This time Vic is embroiled in the antics of a group of teenagers (courtesy of her once wayward but steadily maturing cousin, Petra), the murder of another PI and the troubles of an old friend, along with a dollop of politics. Surprise, surprise, all are linked. Of course along the way Vic puts herself, once more, in danger and also ruins a good dress. Perhaps Peretsky's politics come across a little strongly, painting those who don't agree with her views a (metaphorical) darker shade of black (although, with admirable political correctness, the good politician is African American) but the plot and writing are good enough to allow it and the book makes gripping reading whether you agree with the views or not. The only thing I would have preferred changing is not to have had such extremes of views as it was too easy to pick out the bad guys!

Warshawski has been detecting now for thirty years and admits to being 50, so her age has not quite kept up with the times. Equally, her friend Lottie should perhaps no longer be practicing medicine given that she must be well into her eighties. And the dogs are surprisingly hale and healthy as I'm sure they must be quite geriatric. But for the sake of keeping the series going, I'm prepared to suspend disbelief. I can't wait for the next book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Mystery Mired in the Perspective of Class and Political Warfare, 8 Feb 2012
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
"He will not allow me to catch my breath,
But fills me with bitterness." -- Job 9:18 (NKJV)

V.I. is back, pulled into all kinds of events that aren't really her problem . . . but which she kindly takes on as her own responsibilities. That's what makes her an appealing heroine for this series. A challenge in the beginning is that new challenges pile up a lot faster than she can deal with them. Helping her cousin Petra with the members of a youth reading club quickly escalates into a murder investigation and political fodder for a particularly nasty contest between a liberal candidate V.I. approves of and her opponent who seems to know no limits to her sleazy attacks. As often occurs in these novels, V.I. is opposed at every turn by those with evil intent and the rich who are either clueless or highly inconsiderate. The threat of death and mayhem are strong in this story and make for a chilling read.

I found the book to be more than a little over the top in characterizing the right-wingers in the story. I'm sure you can find people with these identical beliefs and tactics, but it didn't ring true for me. As a result, the story was diluted unnecessarily in a number of places.

If you haven't thought much lately about the problems of those with mental illness or various mental limitations, this novel will serve a good purpose in presenting reasons why it's important to take their circumstances seriously . . . because they may not be able to do that for themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting crime novel., 9 May 2013
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As always, Sara Paretsky writes a riveting crime novel. So hard to put down and turn of the light to go to sleep ;-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakdown, 7 April 2013
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A typical VI Warshawski novel, but with a real twist at the end. A must for all fans of the series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome return, 14 Jun 2012
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A welcome return for Chicago PI VI Warshawski. What starts as a favour for VI's cousin Petra - rounding up some teenage girls after curfew - rapidly turns into a tangled web of blackmail and premature death. VI puts all efforts into untangling the 'Gordian knot' and unearths long-buried secrets. We meet again VI's friends Mr Contreras, Murray, Lotty and Max but VI takes centre stage throughout. A couple of quibbles of repetition: the denouement scene relies on a device used in an earlier book, and (as in Total Recall and others) World War 2 atrocities are revisited. Overall, though, an engrossing read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 28 Mar 2013
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Sara Paretsky seems to have run out of ideas in this book. The characters from previous books are not further developed and any other characters are one-dimensional. The plot jumps around a lot and the book only holds your interest in the last two chapters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakdown, 6 Aug 2012
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Always dependable, this is probably the best of Ms. Paretsky's books. Good story, well plotted and I am not going to discuss the plot, just buy the book. I never read the blurb on the back covers of books, I have a list of favourite authors, and buy their books, whilst always checking literary reviews for new authors.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book., 21 Feb 2013
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very good book kept you gessing till the end.. Differnt to the usual vi books. Still very good enjoyed,a lot
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VI at her best, 18 May 2013
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Easier than BodyWorks - fast - VI ethical as ever, and the characters of her friends are still developing. Just love Max and Lottie, The historical side is so well researched and I have so much sympathy with her. Great twist at the end!
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Breakdown: 15 (V.I. Warshawski)
Breakdown: 15 (V.I. Warshawski) by Sara Paretsky (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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