Fire Sale

Sara Paretsky, Author . Putnam $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15279-5

Private eye V.I. Warshawski takes a break from tony Lakeview to fill in for her old high school basketball coach on Chicago's South Side in her 12th adventure. Vic starts her volunteer stint looking for a team sponsor at megadiscount store By-Smart, whose founder, Buffalo Bill Bysen, is a fellow alum. Of all Bysen's cutthroat, cost-cutting family, only idealist 19-year-old Billy shows any interest in helping the team. When he disappears, his frustrated father hires Vic to find him. The mother of a high school basketball player also hires Vic to investigate sabotage at the flag factory where she works—an investigation cut short when the factory blows up before Vic's eyes. Things go no better at school or at home, and clues pile on but they don't add up. Vic takes her lumps as she makes her way from a fundamentalist church, where the pastor goes to extremes for his flock, to the city dump, where villains try to bury their secrets. Paretsky has recently tackled the Holocaust (Total Recall ) and globalization (Hard Time ); here she explores the struggles of the working poor and the schemes of the rich and infamous. Packed with social themes and moral energy, held together by humor, compassion and sheer feistiness, this novel shows why Paretsky and her heroine are such enduring figures in American detective fiction. Agent, Dominick Abel . (July)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
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