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on 14 January 2014
An exciting and thoughtful novel about nuclear secrets and the shadows cast by the second world war.This is an ambitious book which deals with serious issues.It is rather complicated and the reader needs to keep her wits about her as there are many different characters to keep a track of. Warchawski must be getting on a bit now but she is still putting herself in danger and fighting and shooting her way through a very difficult investigation.She is a very brave and determined person who never seems to think about retiring from her p.i job,despite her many injuries. Hurray for V.I.!
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on 7 May 2017
I am a great Warshawski fan 0 0 great story line as ever - loved the paper back edition - hurrah to the next one
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on 5 August 2017
forgotten how good these books are by sara paretsky and how good a writer she is
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on 3 October 2017
This book was spellbinding! Didn't want to put it down but being a slow reader I had to. I don't understand anything about physics but it's so well written and engaging. Another ace from S Paretsky!
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on 1 June 2017
Solid addition to the series.
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on 27 May 2017
Love all the VI books. Always learn something from the complex stories and love how Vic's personal story unfolds - this book crosses between the US and Vienna,the present and the past and creates a page turner once again
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on 27 April 2017
a real page turner
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on 2 April 2015
Well, I've now read 17 V.I Warshawski novels in a row and so feel able to comment.
V.I is definitely the female Philip Marlowe, but I was never as stressed as this reading the Chandler stories. He only went after the odd hood or got into trouble with a crooked police chief, but V.I seems to get tangled up with big powerful people who have private armies of thugs to send after her or tap her phone with impunity. It's all very stressful and completely addictive. Sarah has also become a more accomplished writer with age and even though there isn't a duff book in the line, the later ones seem to flow in an effortless way.
However - and this is my only criticism - whereas authors can continue writing into their twilight years (and I hope Sarah does so), detectives can't go on detecting until they are 70+ unless they take on a Miss Marple type lifestyle. I expect it seemed like a good idea to have V.I aging in real time at the beginning but by the time about 8 books had been written, the fictional time-line really should have been reined in. Sarah has already had to adjust V.I's age in a later book (Hardball) to state that she was born in 1957, whereas in earlier books she was obviously born earlier (1950 according a Wiki entry). But it's not just V.I that has the aging problem, all the characters surrounding her are now too old to be doing what they do and acting as they are. The dogs seem to be living forever as well. I would be just as happy reading these books if they all took place in the 80's/90's and V.I was only in her 40's (according to her original age-line) and could still leap tall buildings - a bit. That's not to say that she shouldn't age, just that she shouldn't age as fast as the author. If she was only in her 40's now we would still have 20 realistic years of books to enjoy.
However, I've come to terms with it because I love the books (and V.I) and I've decided to put it to one side and ignore it but I feel it has been a bad mis-step on the author's part.
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on 6 November 2013
Unlike some favourite writers who are my contemporaries in being "women of a certain age", Sara Paretsky's sharp edge as a writer is undiminished. Her characters have grown into much loved friends over the years and her observations on character are richer and deeper than ever.

This novel is a page-turner par excellence; beautifully observed, plotted and executed. V.I.'s relationships with the people she depends on has never been more keenly displayed. I hope the lovely Jake ( who does not figure a great deal in this novel) sticks around. I also hope that Lotty Herschel retires soon! How old can she be? 90?
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It was interesting to read these reviews, as I caught up with Critical Mass three years late. Like some other reviewers I've read all the books in this series, and like a minority of them I was a little disappointed, both by the convoluted plot, unnecessary complications and physics-speak, but also by a hint of formulaism which led me easily to predict what was coming next on more than one occasion. This - well, the complication problem though not the formulaism - may be partly my fault as I read the book over the space of a couple of weeks, not avidly and at length as I normally do. Anyway, now the two succeeding books now await me, and my qualified enthusiasm for this book in no way assuages the keenness of my anticipation as I place this book on the 'read' shelves and extract Brush Back to take its place.
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