Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Body Work by Sara Paretsky

Body Work (V.I. Warshawski Novel) I love Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series so a warning is in order that you won't read anything bad in this review. I've read every book in the series, and it just gets better and better. They're set in Chicago, a city I love, and I only wish there was a little more Chicago in the novels.

For one thing, V.I. is maturing, begrudgingly and full of complaints, but maturing anyway. She's around 50 now, but that isn't stopping her from trying to do everything she did 20 years ago. V.I. is tough as nails, but she is loyal to her friends and family and determined to keep them safe. Her downstairs neighbor, Mr. Contreras, and her doctor and friend, Lotty, do their best to keep V.I. safe but it's an impossible mission. I must say V.I. is a little less reckless than she used to be, but she still barges in where anyone else would think "wait a minute, I shouldn't do this."

All of the books have their funny moments, partly because V.I. can see the humor in situations, but this one is totally wild in many places. For instance, after V.I. is injured by the bad guys, she wants to retrieve an item from a man who is sort of an unknown quantity. Her protectors won't let her do it alone, so she shows up with Mr. Contreras, her cousin Petra, the dogs (Mitch and Peppy), the sister of a murder victim, and a couple Marines. It's like a three-ring circus. The neighbors also get involved and they're a bunch of characters. By the end of the scene I was in stitches.

The story centers on a body artist - a woman who appears on stage nude but covered with paint and wearing a very skimpy thong. (Actually I supposed there isn't any other kind.) She allows people in the audience to paint whatever they want on her body. The show is a huge hit but the woman is a mystery right up until the end of the story. Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and several other types of people are also involved. Sounds confusing but this is a story that is not only mysterious, it also brings up important issues about our veterans.

One change in V.I.'s life is that she has a boyfriend that seems to be a keeper. He is a musician who lives in her building and so far he seems perfect for her, except that he can't stand the sight of blood.

I highly recommend Body Work as well as the rest of this series.

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