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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best VI novel yet?
I found this to be the most compelling of all the VI novels. Admittedly I was reading it while I was on holiday when I had little else to think about, but I found I couldn't put it down - I just had to know what was going to happen next! In her earlier books, VI is an unlikeable character but she seems to be mellowing with age making her easier to sympathise with. It's...
Published on 14 Nov. 2001

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rattling good yarn
Sarah Paretsky pulls out all the stops in this quick paced crime novel. While it's an effective indictment of the worst aspects of the US criminal justice system, and of the interface between the media, business and politics, the increasing politicisation of Paretsky's books means that there is less of a focus on VI the character and more on VI the social reformer harried...
Published on 31 Mar. 2005 by Amazon Customer


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best VI novel yet?, 14 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
I found this to be the most compelling of all the VI novels. Admittedly I was reading it while I was on holiday when I had little else to think about, but I found I couldn't put it down - I just had to know what was going to happen next! In her earlier books, VI is an unlikeable character but she seems to be mellowing with age making her easier to sympathise with. It's nice to come back to a cast of familiar characters after all this time without VI, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's read the previous stories. However, it also manages not to alienate the new reader by requiring previous knowledge of the characters. An excellent comeback.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant return for the heroine of women sleuths., 7 Sept. 2000
By 
S. Pope (Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
Sara Paretsky kept fans waiting in suspense for VI Warshawski's latest case while she experimented with Ghost Country, a break away from blue-collar crime fiction. However, the wait has been worthwhile as she has produced a novel that not only is gripping but also tinged with sadness and uncertainty on the part of heroine VI.
Paretsky has allowed VI to age appropriately since the last time we saw her, which is not always the case with writers of serial characters. VI is still financially unstable, single without a partner and becoming rather disillusioned with what her life stands for. She watches as former brother-in-arms Murray Ryerson joins media stardom by associating with television producers and wonders if her long-standing insistence on exposing injustice is wearing thin. She's getting older and, she feels, she has nothing to show for it but financial strain and loneliness.
However, her sense of exposing wrongdoing still rises to the occasion when she nearly runs over a nearly dead escaped convict Nicola Aguinaldo. Despite her quick actions, Nicola dies in hospital and a nasty police detective, Lemour, seems bent on framing VI for murder. The case soon dissolves through lack of evidence, including Nicola's body, which mysteriously disappears from the morgue. VI's interest is piqued and she starts her own investigation into Nicola's life, resulting in continued harassment by Lemour and a sudden, unanticipated interest into her work by corporate security rival, Baladine. However, the pressure put on her is unlike anything she has dealt with before. Unable to turn to the police for help (who would want to believe one of their own is bent?) she realises she must solve the case on her own to protect her reputation and, even more worrying, her life.
VI is as feisty as ever, but her determination becomes increasingly undermined by self-doubt, prompted by realisations that she isn't as fit as she was (Paretsky shows this in an amusing, tension-breaking scene where Vic tries to escape from pursuers through an elevator shaft) and through the repeated and desperate please of her nearest friends. Although Mr Conteras is still keen to get involved in the action, Lotty hits the nail on the head when she suggests the real reason why VI continues to put herself in danger. Without help from previous allies Mallory and Ryerson, and faced with the impatience of others who think she's too old for Quixotic missions, VI finds she is fighting her first battle nearly entirely on her own.
I enjoyed this book as I have all the others in the series. What made Hard Time stand out, however, was the marked change in the heroine. Luckily, VI does not listen to the doubts raised by others and, more importantly, by herself but the change in her own feelings towards her job and ultimately her future, will probably dictate a new direction for any future VI novels.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth waiting for - Paretsky returns in brilliant form, 20 Jan. 2001
By 
H. J. Ratnasabapathy "Hillary" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
I could not improve on Samantha Pope's review, but want to add that the maturing V.I. is evenmore intersting than she was in the earlier novels and the plot, characters and action are first rate. I was breathless with suspense at the denouement in the the church. A delight for those of us who love smart, sassy women detectives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taut Suspense Throughout, 28 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hard Time (Hardcover)
V.I. is not a detective out of the English drawing room style. She is an original, and as such will be appreciated or rejected by the degree that you look for originality in your mysteries.
The plot is deliciously complicated, hard to anticipate, and moves along nicely. Although some will quibble that the whole thing is improbable, it could be made very probable with one small change in the motives of the killers.
As such, I'd have to say this is by far the most sophisticated and exciting of the books in the series. V.I. is a lot like Robert Parker's Spenser: Principle is the thing. In an age when many unthinkingly take the easy way out, it is valuable to explore what a modern Dona Quixote would do. V.I. fills the bill perfectly in this fine novel which rises above the detective genre into regular fiction.
Keep up the good work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return, 28 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
The writing in this book was a huge improvement over Tunnel Vision, with the dropping of all that relentlessly tiresome simile, which wasn't a feature of previous titles, and the use of plainer language was also a benefit: sometimes her use of more elaborate vocabulary wasn't even correct for the context (Myrmidons? - I forget the title: the one in which V.I and Mr Contrerras burgle an insurance company office.). As for the story, well, there was the somewhat hyperbolic plot with some interesting social issues mixed in. Hard Time is probably the best so far, in that there is a more balanced style to the prose, but I would like to see some credible plots like she had in her short story collection, as these don't jar with V.I's financial status: V.I. Always being strapped for cash, yet solving huge corruption cases has a degree of implausibility I find hard to reconcile, as I do the fact, that on occasion, Ms Paretsky can do some really great writing, like in small sections of Dead Lock (waiting at Boom Boom's funeral) and Killing Orders (the end scene with Lotty Herschel in which we learn what I. stands for). I would like to see a lot more of this, it would elevate these books beyond Michael Connolly ( The Poet is the nearest to Hard Time) and put her level with Peter Hoeg ( Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow) and Raymond Chandler, to whom she is so often compared (those plots again).
Anyway, I enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to the next one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading, 4 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
Having read and enjoyed Sara Paretsky's books many years ago, I approached Hard Time with some trepidation. I needn't have worried. Warshawski is still the same fresh character who you can sympathise with and relate to, and Paretsky's writing style is as easy and as fun to read as ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warshawski at her best, 1 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
After celebrating her friend landing a prestigious television job, V.I. Warshawski heads home. However, her drive proves very eventful as V.I. runs into a fireplug to avoid hitting a battered female lying prone in the street. The medics take Nicola Aguinaldo to a nearby hospital, but she dies anyway. The police initially behave nastily towards V.I. for no apparent reason.
By the next day, the Chicago police try to tie the dead person to V.I. Apparently, Nicola escaped from a prison where she was held for stealing jewelry from the spouse of security mogul B.B. Baladine. V.I. is soon arrested and placed in jail. Still, not even a stay in prison keeps V.I. from investigating why Nicola was beaten to death and why she herself has been locked away on bogus charges.
After being away for several years, the return of V.I. Warshawski is a thing for fans of female private investigators to celebrate. The story line matches the elation as the tale is filled with emotion, angst, and tattered friendships. The support cast is wonderful and V.I. is at the top of her top form. This may be the best tale in Sara Paretsky's long running series.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rattling good yarn, 31 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
Sarah Paretsky pulls out all the stops in this quick paced crime novel. While it's an effective indictment of the worst aspects of the US criminal justice system, and of the interface between the media, business and politics, the increasing politicisation of Paretsky's books means that there is less of a focus on VI the character and more on VI the social reformer harried by the establishment.
It's still a great page turner and VI herself remains an attractive if odd PI. Recommended for aficionados of US hard-boiled crime stories; not for Republican fans of George W.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pacy read, highly reccomended, 16 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
I enjoy all of Sara Paretsky's books, this is the best by far, tense, can't put it down, with a really intelligent human heroine who occasionally get's things wrong. Can't fault it anywhere, just wish I could write as well!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How many unbelievable lives can one person have?, 14 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hard Time (Paperback)
I've read a number of her books, but this one goes way over the top. Warshawski is becoming more and more caricatured, getting sillier by the page; but of course, no matter how ridiculous the situation, she still manages to win over all these bad guys when really she should have been dead half way through the book.
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Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski Novels)
Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski Novels) by Sara Paretsky (Mass Market Paperback - 30 Sept. 2000)
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