Deadlock by Sara Paretsky

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ParetskyDeadlockTofuNarrator: Susan Ericksen

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (2012)

Length: 10 hours 28 mins

Series: Book 2 V. I. Warshawski

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.

Set in the 1990s in Chicago, Vick Warshawski is a private detective. The story opens with a funeral for her cousin Boom-Boom Warshawski, an ex-hockey player. He was working for a Great Lakes shipping company and apparently slipped on an icy pier and died in the water. Vick is Boom-Boom’s executor of his will; dealing with his estate and papers leads her to wonder if his death was an accident after all. As she digs into Boom-Boom’s death, her own life is threatened.

I like that Vick likes sports and pays attention to the local games and teams. I don’t care for sports at all, but I like having a main female character that does have a passing interest in professional sports. Vick has a practical kind of toughness that I find irresistible. She’s not tough because she’ll argue back or because she insists on doing things on her own terms. She’s simply a strong personality and would be no matter what gender she was born into. Her practical nature (letting trusted friends know where she’s off too – sometimes, carrying a weapon that she’s proficient in, wearing sensible clothing and shoes, etc.) is what keeps the character grounded for me.

The main subject of this book, the Great Lakes shipping industry, involves the great locks of the lakes. I find locks fascinating and I was pretty excited to see Vick traveling through a major lock or two in this novel. Vick spends a chunk of the book trying to understand the shipping manifests for the company Boom-Boom was working for. As such, she enlists someone in the business to explain the finer details. Here is where my one little quibble with the story lies. In Book 1, Indemnity Only, Vick becomes romantically involved with a man who works at the insurance company that Vick is kinda sorta looking into. Now, here, in this book she becomes romantically interested in a man who is hired by the shipping company she’s looking into. I felt this plot mechanism was a little overused in the series.

Now, back to the good stuff. Paige is a beautiful dancer that was having a secret romance with Boom-Boom. Vick meets her at Boom-Boom’s funeral and Paige asks a small favor – she would like access to Boom-Boom’s apartment so that she could collect her things. While they hadn’t reached the point of exchanging keys yet, she did have a few bits of clothing and makeup at his place. The plot deepens when Vick finds her there going through Boom-Boom’s papers. Paige fesses up to looking for some personal letters the two exchanged while she was on tour. I, like Vick, think she’s hiding something. I really wasn’t sure what until the last bit of the book. Vick figured it out before I did.

Finally, there’s this major accident in the book that I totally didn’t see coming. It slid right in there under my radar and it was well written. Vick got to experience it all first hand and I was worried she would be injured enough for a hospital! I was a little surprised at the body count for this book, but that just keeps me on my toes. I do enjoy a mystery series that can keep me guessing and surprised.

Narration: Once again, Susan Ericksen makes a really good VI Warshawski. She does the Chicago accent quite well. Her male voices are believable. With Book 1, I noted that sometimes I had to turn down the volume during the shouting scenes. That was not an issue with this book. The characters sounded like they were shouting but I didn’t have to adjust my volume control.

What I Liked: The Great Lakes locks; Vick’s interest in local sports; Boom-Boom’s an ex-hockey player; the mystery of Paige and her relationship to Boom-Boom; a big accident leaves Vick roughed up.

What I Disliked: As with Book 1, Vick uses a romantic interest to gain info on a case she is working.

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