Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sara Paretsky  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Mystery

Born: 1947 in Ames, Iowa

Sites:

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Illinois Connection

Paretsky moved to Chicago when she finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas. She still resides there today.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sara Paretsky is best known for her mystery movels featuring the female private investigator, VI Warshawski. While born in Ames, Iowa, Paretsky grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. Educated at the University of Kansas and the University of Chicago, she worked afterwards in several Chicago business corporations. Her writing career began in 1977 and she has been the recipient of several literary awards.View Sara Paretsky's [http://www.read.gov/webcasts/paretsky.html Fire Sale book talk] at the Library of Congress from 2/27/2007.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Indemnity Only
ISBN: 034093512X

Hodder Paperback. 2007

The vice-president of a Chicago bank hires V.I. Warshawski to find his son. She's pleased. The head of the International Brotherhood of Knifegrinders hires her to find his daughter. She's not so pleased. Who's the boss in this dangerous game of insurance fraud, murder contracts and gunmen?

Deadlock
ISBN: 0340935138

Hodder Paperback. 2007

Deadlock, V. I. Warshawski’s second case, involves the huge Great Lakes shipping industry. Once again the subject is murder ― this time the “accidental death” of Boom-Boom Warshawski, an ex-hockey star and V. I.’s beloved cousin, who fell ― or was pushed ― off a rain-slicked pier on Chicago’s busy waterfront. Convinced that Boom-Boom was in fact killed because of information he had uncovered about criminal doings on the shipping lines, V. I. begins a long and frustrating search for her cousin’s murderer. In the course of an investigation that takes her to a remote Canadian port city and a calamitous trip on a sabotaged freighter, V. I. finds all too many possible candidates for the killer, including a grain company executive involved in extortion

and rival heads of two shippers, one of whom is being blackmailed for his criminal past

a hockey player whose specialty is graft

and Boom-Boom’s lover, an icily beautiful dancer with expensive tastes in men and merchandise.

Killing Orders
ISBN: 0340935146

Hodder Paperback. 2008

V.I. Warshawski's latest case has alreasy opened

up old wounds. But when a silky voice on the phone

threatened to throw acid in her eyes, V.I. knew

this one could finish her off with some brand-new

ones. The sour-faced old aunt she had agreed to

help was accused of stealing millions in stock

certificates from a pious order of Dominican brothers.

V.I. knew the woman was a witch, not a thief, and

she soon smelled something rotten in the sanctum

sanctorum of Chicago's most powerful movers and

shakers -- the Church and the Mob. Now someone wants

to see V.I. burn in hell. But this tough cookie of

a private eye had her back up, a brand-new Smith &

Wesson, and a daring plan to make the bad guys go

to the devil first.

Bitter Medicine
ISBN: 0340935154

Hodder Paperback. 2012

Chicago private eye V.I. Warshawski knows from the start that Consuelo Alvarado's baby is trouble. Consuelo is sixteen. Diabetic. And the daughter of a friend. When she goes into labor too early, even V. I.'s wild drive to get her to the hospital can't save either Consuelo or her child. Soon V.I. is investigating possible malpractice at the emergency room - and falling for a doctor who works there. Mixing business and love is always bad medicine, but V.I. finds herself listening to her heart, not her head. And when a brutal murder and the violent destruction of a woman's clinic put her at the center of a very dirty conspiracy, justice may be the only remedy for a hurt that cuts deep . . .and chills right to the bone . . . "The plot [is] fast moving, the dialogue snappy, the premise for murder persuasive. This novel hasn't a single snag in its springs." - Chicago Sun-Times "Paretsky is still the best . . .She doesn't pull punches." - The Washington Post Book World

Burn Marks (V.I. Warshawski Novels)
ISBN: 0739342495

Random House Audio. 2007

Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never

good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news

arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena.

The fire that has just burned down a sleazy

SRO hotel has brought Elena to

V.I.'s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist

-- and the secrets hidden behind Elena's boozy

smile -- will send V.I. into the

seedy world of Chicago's homeless... into the Windy

City's backroom deals and bedroom politics, where

new schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I.

off the case -- by hook, by crook, or by

homocide.


From the Paperback edition.

Ghost Country
ISBN: 143950069X

. 2008

Three very different homeless women battle with a Chicago hotel to earn the right to live and worship in its carpark. Then Starr appears, enigmatic, repellent to some, erotic to others, and miracles start to happen.

Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski Novels (Audio))
ISBN: 1597771422

Phoenix Books. 2007

In her eagerly awaited new novel, which heralds the return of the much-loved heroine V.I. Warshawski, Sara Paretsky revisits the gritty urban landscape she illuminates with brilliant compassion and vivid color. For as V.I. unravels the mystery of a battered and discarded woman, she moves through circles of the rich and the troubled, into the bitter home of a powerful Chicago family, into the pampered world of a TV star, and behind the razor wire of a women's prison. What V.I. finds is a web of conspiracy -- and explosive secrets hidden in the darkest places of all....

Total Recall (V. I. Warshawski)
ISBN: 0440224713

Dell. 2002

The bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels have dazzled readers and earned the acclaim of critics everywhere. “V.I. Warshawski rules,” writes Newsweek, crowning her “the most engaging woman in detective fiction.” Of V.I.’s creator, the Chicago Tribune says “Sara Paretsky has no peer.”

Now Paretsky brings her incomparable storytelling brilliance to her most powerful Warshawski novel yet. Total Recall follows the Chicago P.I. on a road that winds back more than fifty years — and into an intricate maze of wartime lies, heartbreaking secrets, and harrowing retribution.

For V.I., the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. Replayed on the evening news is the scene of a slight man who has stood up at the conference to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust — a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.’s cherished friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel.

Lotty was a girl of nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children wrenched from their parents and saved from the Nazi terror just before the war broke out. Now stunningly — impossibly — it appears that someone from that long-lost past may have returned.

With the help of a recovered-memory therapist, Paul Radbuka has recently learned his true identity. But is he who he claims to be? Or is he a cunning impostor who has usurped someone else’s history ... a history Lotty has tried to forget for over fifty years?

As a frightened V.I. watches her friend unravel, she sets out to help in the only way she can: by investigating Radbuka’s past. Already working on a difficult case for a poor family cheated of their life insurance, she tries to balance Lotty’s needs with her client’s, only to find that both are spiraling into a whirlpool of international crime that stretches from Switzerland and Germany to Chicago’s South Side.

As the atrocities of the past reach out to engulf the living, V.I. struggles to decide whose memories of a terrible war she can trust, and moves closer to a chilling realization of the truth — a truth that almost destroys her oldest friend.

With fierce emotional power, Sara Paretsky has woven a gripping and morally complex novel of crime and punishment, memory and illusion. Destined to become a suspense classic, Total Recall proves once again the daring and compelling genius of Sara Paretsky.

Blacklist
ISBN: 0141010231

Penguin Books Ltd. 2004

When Chicago Private Investigator V.I. Warshawski checks out reports of an intruder at derelict Larchmont Hall, she doesn't expect to stumble over a dead man. But the murdered journalist is about to lead V.I. deep into the heart of a dark mystery, involving a terrified young Muslim boy, two of Chicago's most powerful families, and a generation of shameful secrets - political and sexual. It seems that somebody is desperate for the past to stay buried. But who? And why? And if attempting to bring the truth to light has already cost at least one man his life...who's next?

Fire Sale (V.I. Warshawski Novels Book 12)
ISBN: B000OVLILK

Berkley. 2006

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Takes off with a bang—literally...V. I. remains a paragon among PIs, and Fire Sale is one of Paretsky’s best books yet.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch



A conscience can weigh a PI down more than the heaviest firearm—and get her into more trouble too. It’s that nagging conscience that makes V. I. Warshawski agree to fill in as coach for the girls’ basketball team at her South Chicago alma mater—which in turn leads her to the headquarters of By-Smart, the global retail empire where V. I. hopes to get some desperately needed funds for the struggling squad.

But conscience seems to be in short supply at By-Smart...with the exception of Billy Bysen, the earnest teenage grandson of the chain’s gruff, tightfisted founder. And when Billy disappears—along with a mysterious document much desired by By-Smart’s management team—V. I. is hurled onto a twisted, body-strewn path that runs through Chicago’s dirtiest places and reveals some of its dirtiest secrets...

Writing in an Age of Silence
ISBN: 1844671224

Verso. 2007

In Writing in an Age of Silence, Sara Paretsky explores the traditions of political and literary dissent that have informed her life and work, against the unparalleled repression of free speech and thought in the USA today.

In tracing the writer’s difficult journey from silence to speech, Paretsky turns to her childhood youth in rural Kansas, and brilliantly evokes Chicago—the city with which she has become indelibly associated—from her arrival during the civil-rights struggle in the mid-1960s to her most extraordinary literary creation, the south-side detective V I Warshawski. Paretsky traces the emergence of V I Warshawski from the shadows of the loner detectives that stalk the mean streets of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s novels, and in the process explores American individualism, the failure of the American dream and the resulting dystopia.

Both memoir and meditation, Writing in an Age of Silence is a beautiful, compelling exploration of the writer’s art and daunting responsibility in the face of the assault on US civil liberties post-9/11.

Sisters On the Case: Celebrating Twenty Years of Sisters in Crime
ISBN: 0451222393

NAL. 2007

Featuring contributions from some of today's best-known women mystery writers including Sue Henry, Barbara D'Amato, Carolyn Hart, and Sara Paretsky, this thrilling collection is filled with fear, murder, suspense, and revenge. Original.

Bleeding Kansas
ISBN: 0451224485

Signet Books. 2008

The New York Times bestseller from the author of Fire Sale.

In Kansas, three families have coexisted not-so-peacefully for more than one hundred and fifty years: the Grelliers, the Fremantles, and the Schapens. Into their lives comes Gina Haring, a relative of the Fremantles who is house-sitting the derelict family mansion while she puts her own life in order. Her lifestyle and beliefs will put her at odds with her neighbors?and test the mettle of a community being swept up in events beyond its control.

Hardball (V.I. Warshawski Novel)
ISBN: 0399155937

Putnam Adult. 2009

Hired to track down a man who has been missing for forty years, V.I. Warshawski inadvertently unearths old skeletons from Chicago's history and her own family, a situation marked by a young cousin she has never met and the untimely death of a nun. By the Cartier Diamond Dagger-winning author of Blacklist.

Body Work (A V.I. Warshawski Novel)
ISBN: 0451413083

Berkley. 2011

“V.I. Warshawski is back—intelligent, tough, sarcastic and trouble-prone as ever....Body Work isn’t just a satisfying whodunnit

it’s a rich, well-written why-dunnit, striking some surprising chords that will resonate long after you finish the final page.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Chicago’s Club Gouge attracts an eclectic audience, from bohemian types to Ukranian mobsters to young men just back from the war. And tonight, V.I. Warshawski is in the crowd too. The edgy stage show stars The Body Artist, who invites audience members to draw on her naked flesh. But things get a lot edgier when a woman sketches a picture on the Body Artist—and one of the veterans flies into a drunken rage. Next thing V.I. knows, she’s cradling the woman’s dying body in an alley, and a PTSD-stricken soldier is presumed guilty. But he’s also comatose after a drug overdose, and the mystery of what exactly set him off—and what kinds of shady activities are really happening at Club Gouge—will lead V.I. to a truth as explosive as the IEDs that lurk on the roadsides of Iraq.

Bonus in this Edition: A Short Story Featuring V.I. Warshawski

Breakdown (V.I. Warshawski Novel)
ISBN: 0399157832

Putnam Adult. 2012

V.I. Warshawski returns in the spectacular new novel from the New York Times bestselling author.

Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is a shape-shifting raven whose fictional exploits thrill girls all over the world. When tweens in Chicago's Carmilla Club hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse, a man stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying.

The girls include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families: the grandfather of one, Chaim Salanter, is among the world's wealthiest men

the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is the running for United States Senate.

For V. I. Warshawski, the questions multiply faster than the answers. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Sophy Durango? Or to Chaim Salanter's childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? As V.I. struggles for answers, she finds herself fighting enemies who are no less terrifying for being all to human.

Critical Mass (A V.I. Warshawski Novel)
ISBN: 0399160566

G. P. Putnam's Sons. 2013

Warshawski returns in another hard-hitting entry, combining razor-sharp plotting and compelling characters with a heady mix of timely political and social themes. V.I. Warshawski?s closest friend in Chicago is the Viennese-born doctor Lotty Herschel, who lost most of her family in the Holocaust. Lotty escaped to London in 1939 on the Kindertransport with a childhood playmate, Kitty Saginor Binder. When Kitty?s daughter finds her life is in danger, she calls Lotty, who, in turn, summons V.I. to help. The daughter?s troubles turn out to be just the tip of an iceberg of lies, secrets, and silence, whose origins go back to the mad competition among America, Germany, Japan and England to develop the first atomic bomb. The secrets are old, but the people who continue to guard them today will not let go of them without a fight.

Brush Back (A V.I. Warshawski Novel)
ISBN: 0399160574

G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2015

novel

Fallout: A V.I. Warshawski Novel (V.I. Warshawski Novels)
ISBN: 0062435841

William Morrow. 2017

LEE CHILD says she's "a genius."

P.D. JAMES called her "the most remarkable" of today's suspense writers.

STIEG LARSSON loved her work so much, he named her in his novels.

And now SARA PARETSKY returns with the most extraordinary novel of her legendary career: FALLOUT.

Before there was Lisbeth Salander, before there was Stephanie Plum, there was V.I. WARSHAWSKI. To her parents, she's Victoria Iphigenia. To her friends, she's Vic. But to clients seeking her talents as a detective, she's V.I. And her new case will lead her from her native Chicago... and into Kansas, on the trail of a vanished film student and a faded Hollywood star.

Accompanied by her dog, V.I. tracks her quarry through a university town, across fields where missile silos once flourished

— and into a past riven by long-simmering racial tensions, a past that holds the key to the crimes of the present. But as the mysteries stack up, so does the body count. And in this, her toughest case, not even V.I. is safe.

Exciting and provocative, fiercely intelligent and witty, FALLOUT is reading at its most enjoyable and powerful.


Awards

--

The Cartier Diamond Dagger-lifetime achievement award

The Golden Dagger

Mark Twain Award

Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College, Oxford University

Ms. Woman of the Year

Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award