Release Date: Apr 18, 2017
Series: V.I. Warshawski Novel
Imprint: William Morrow
Private investigator V.I. Warshawski is hired by her cousin’s goddaughter, Bernadine, to find a missing person. Bernie’s friend August is a film student and seems to have disappeared with a former Hollywood film star, Emerald Ferring. The trail leads V.I. from her native Chicago to the unfamiliar town of Lawrence, Kansas. While investigating the case, V.I. learns that Lawrence, though very different from her urban hometown, still has complex race relations and is dealing with decades-old tensions that could have a bearing on her current case. As V.I. uncovers both old and new acts of violence, she must face danger to locate August and Emerald, if she’s not already too late.
Sara Paretsky has been writing intelligent mysteries dealing with a variety of political topics and current issues for many years. Her investigator, V.I. Warshawski, is a strong, intelligent, independent, and imperfect lead character, but is always someone to root for. In this novel, V.I. is in a strange city and lacking the support of her usual friends and contacts. V.I. is synonymous with Chicago, but taking her out of her comfort zone is an interesting twist and adds something new to this long-running series. The racial tensions in the story date back to the 1960s, but are still relevant as V.I. finds a community strongly divided on racial lines and has a hard time convincing some of the witnesses she questions that she is truly on her side. This seems realistic, which I appreciate, but unfortunately for the reader, becomes too repetitious. I enjoyed seeing V.I. piece together the hard-earned clues, but the many dead-ends grow monotonous. There is no such thing as a “bad” V.I. Warshawski, book, though, since each installment is well-written and well researched. It’s nice to spend time with V.I., but I wish the investigation would have moved a little faster with a bigger payoff in the end.
If any mystery readers, especially those who enjoy the work of Sue Grafton or Laura Lippmann, have not yet read any books in this series, Fallout is the perfect introduction to V.I. Readers who are already fans of Paretsky will be thrilled to see V.I. in action in this investigation that is connected to both past and present issues in the U.S.