Brush Back by Sara Paretsky

‘Brush Back’ is the 17th novel in Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series in which V.I. (Vic) takes on crime and corruption in Chicago as a private investigator.

When Vic was at school, she had a brief relationship with one of her cousin Boom-Boom’s friends Frank Guzzo. Vic went on to study law, Boom-Boom became a famous hockey player while Frank missed out on baseball selection and ended up driving trucks. Frank’s sister Annie was murdered by their mother Stella who has just been released from prison after 25 years.

Now Stella is seeking exoneration. Her hatred of the Warshawski family has grown during her incarceration and she is now blaming the murder on Boom-Boom.

Boom-Boom’s god-daughter Bernie Fouchard is currently staying with Vic in Chicago. With teenage enthusiasm and recklessness, she insists that Vic clear Boom-Boom’s name.

But as soon as Vic starts to look at what really happened to Annie, she comes up against the political heavyweights of South Chicago. These are the people who help those in the poor South to survive, so no-one is brave enough to say a word against them.

Vic is not known for giving up and pretty soon she places herself and Bernie in danger. And, with her tired old 50 year old body, Vic isn’t sure if she can fight her way out of this one.


This was a typical Sara Paretsky story of greed, corruption and nepotism in Chicago, where Vic seems to be the only person standing up for the victims (except for Bernie of course).

As the series goes on, Vic is becoming more and more aware of her ageing body. It is amazing that she can still function with the number of head injuries she has sustained.

The novel was liberally scattered with baseball and hockey references which, as a non American, mostly went over my head. Apart from that it was an enjoyable and action packed read.

I’m wondering how many more novels Vic has left in her! The next novel in the series is – ‘Fallout‘.


Book Published 2015


See a full list of books by Sara Paretsky


Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Paretsky, Sara, Series Fiction, Thriller

3 Responses to Brush Back by Sara Paretsky

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