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Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski Novels) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Abridged edition (July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593556810
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593556815
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 12.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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 the Hardcover edition.

Review

"[A] master of the mystery format, Paretsky skillfully expands the form to tackle several convergent themes in a moving novel of discovery and redemption.... Dark, absorbing, probing -- Paretsky's novel explores the complex web of degrees of guilt and complicity surrounding the fate of Holocaust victims and survivors, with Lotty's story emerging with compelling, terrible clarity and inevitability."
-- "Publishers Weekly," starred review

[A] master of the mystery format, Paretsky skillfully expands the form to tackle several convergent themes in a moving novel of discovery and redemption.... Dark, absorbing, probing Paretsky s novel explores the complex web of degrees of guilt and complicity surrounding the fate of Holocaust victims and survivors, with Lotty s story emerging with compelling, terrible clarity and inevitability.
"Publishers Weekly," starred review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There isn't a private investigator in the whole of contemporary fiction as strong or as angry as V.I.Warshawski. From her brilliant entry into crimewriting with "Indemnity Only", Sara Paretsky's interest in corrupt dealings with finance & insurance, makes her an expert in the fascinating study of following money trails through account books. "Total Recall" reveals the background to Dr Lotty Herschell's escape from Europe, while V.I. investigates a man using a name Lottie remembers from her past, but she refuses to identify it. He insists he is related to her friend Max, but refuses to reveal his real name. V.I.'s exasperation with clues that lead nowhere, a local blue-collar family cheated of death insurance, apparently connected to banks in Switzerland, where protesters in Chicago are calling for recovery of holocaust assets. The plot is exacerbated by a recovered-memory therapist who insists the imposter is who he claims. Lotty crumbles slowly under the pressure of her past, while V.I. drives around Chicago piecing together a mosaic of information from deaths & lies & misplaced corporate loyalty. As always, Warshawski is driven forward mostly by impatience but also her sense of honour & determination to keep her word, solve the mysteries & put everything right. There is nobody anywhere as exciting or as ethically bolshie as V.I. There isn't a shred sanctimony in Paretsky's books, but each is written with witty humour & a strong social conscience.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
I would have graded this book at 3.5 stars, if I could, so I rounded to the even number above as my math teachers always taught me to do.
Total Recall is built around the theme of how our current behavior is held prisoner by our perceptions of the past. Ms. Paretsky does a fine job of making it clear that we should keep our eyes open, look around, and exercise an open mind instead.
The strength of this book is the way that many different story lines are intertwined in a way that keeps your attention and mostly make sense. Despite this successful plot design, I was disappointed that several promising themes were raised and not fully dealt with, such as "recovered" memory, what Holocaust survivors should and should not feel guilt about, and the need for proper management and regulation of insurance companies. I would have been glad to read another 100 pages of this fine work to explore more in these areas.
The book's key weaknesses were in two areas: First, the characters are developed in ways that make them less strong and heroic than you probably have thought of them based on earlier V.I. Warshawski novels, particularly Lotty. Ms. Paretsky seems to have a jaundiced view of the moral strength and courage of her characters in this book except for Vic, which left me feeling a little down at the end. To me, the book's portrayal of the ongoing characters in this series seemed inauthentic in terms of the earlier novels. Second, the ultimate resolution of who the "bad guys" are and why they have been misbehaving didn't seem quite believable. I would have liked a better "rabbit out of the hat" to explain all of the contemporary wrong-doing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book, one of SP's best I feel. I enjoyed delving deeper into the life of Lotty, even though I guessed what had happened to her about a 1/4 of the way through the book. I really did enjoy it, however one small thing without giving too much away the end disapointed me as there wasn't really closure on one of the characters in the book. Is he going to be in the next one?
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By TKr on 1 Aug. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Whilst the story is entertaining and well told it's not exactly hihghly original and becomes predicatble pretty soon. The ending doesn't satisfy as the people who were the killers usually would not get their hands dirty. The reading is well executed but the high pitched girly voice doesn't sound much like a seasoned private investigator.
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By A Customer on 22 Feb. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sara Paretsky is one of my favorite authors and with Hard Time she's surpassed herself. I was disappointed with Total Recall even if it is a good book. Most of all, it does shed some light on Lotty and I now understand her much better than I did before. She was a lovable character but I did wonder about the reasons for her extreme aloofness. Now I understand and I like her even more. However, even if some of the power is clearly there (Lotty and her story), some is missing (the Swiss people are not very much alive, and the therapist remains a mystery).
However, it's a wonderful book nonetheless. I love Sara P. and Vic.
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Format: Paperback
A moving and also winning story, which shows Sarah Paretsky at her best, with VI batting for her oldest and most long-suffering friend.
The story is unusual in having long flash-back scenes over many years which effectively show the effect of suffering on VI's friend. This helps to inform the current day storylines which demonstrate how difficult "Total Recall" can be.
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Format: Paperback
VI's investigation into a dodgy life assurance claim leads her to unearth long-buried secrets from the Second World War, and culminates in painful revelations from her closest friend, Lottie. Lots of well-crafted storylines which weave together satisfyingly and acerbic one-liners from VI. Sensitively handled and ultimately very moving.
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