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Breakdown (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series) Hardcover – Large Print, January 4, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series
  • Hardcover: 695 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (January 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410444074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410444073
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Both Paretsky and her sharp-tongued justice-seeker, V.I. Warshawski, remain formidable in the masterfully suspenseful fifteenth novel in this superb and adored Chicago-set series ... V.I. reigns as crime fiction's spiky, headstrong warrior woman of conscience, and Paretsky, classy champion of the powerless, has never been more imaginative, rueful, transfixing, and righteous. Booklist, starred review Plotted with all Paretsky's customary generosity, this standout entry harnesses her heroine's righteous anger to some richly deserving targets, all linked together in a truly amazing finale. Kirkus, starred review She is writing with the kind of passion for social justice that inspired Chandler and Hammett Joan Smith, Sunday Times The thing about Sara Paretsky is, she's tough ... she doesn't flinch from examining old social injustices others might find too shameful (and too painful) to dig up New York Times Paretsky's eye is sharp but it's not just about satire. BREAKDOWN is also a propulsive rush of a thriller. Somehow she packs in politics, great characters, nifty wisecracks and a breakneck story. That takes some doing. Metro Joy and rapture - Vic's back, Paretsky's heroine, V.I. Warshawski, is the thinking woman's private detective; intelligent and brave, yet just as vulnerable and muddled as the rest of us ... Don't miss Saga Magazine The usual pleasure points are ticked: gutsy liberal opinions; hidden urban connections; public issues and personal pains; plust appearances from cousin Petra and the dogs ... this is a solid additon to an involving series. Financial Times Smart and sharp-tongued Chicago detective Warshawksi is looking for her cousin's curfew-breaking child (wrong - sorry, Sara!) when she finds a man's corpse impaled on a steel stake in a cemetery. America's travails are laid as bare as those entrails in the subsequent investigation. Sunday Express --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Sara Paretsky is the author of eighteen books, including her renowned V. I. Warshawski novels. She was named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and is also the recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award given by the British Crime Writers’ Association. She lives in Chicago. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sara Paretsky is the award-winning creator of the V I Warshawski detective novels. When Sara introduced V I in Indemnity Only in 1982, she revolutionized the mystery novel. By creating a female investigator who uses her wits as well a her fists, Sara challenged a genre in which women were traditionally either vamps or victims.

V I is the quintessential urban woman. She grew up in the shadow of the old steel mills on Chicago's Southeast side and knows her way around every alley in town. She's a street fighter, a singer, a bit of a clothes horse, and a woman of great intensity and passion.

So how much like V I is her creator? They certainly come from very different places. Sara grew up in rural Kansas where she attended a two-room school. She continues to believe the high point of her life came at the age of twelve when she was picked to play third base for the Kaw Valley District 95 baseball team.

Bleeding Kansas, Sara's 14th novel, is set in the part of the Kaw River Valley where Sara grew up.

Sara first came to Chicago in 1966 to do community service work in the same neighborhood where Martin Luther King was organizing. It was a time of fierce passions in the city and in the country as people fought over racial justice, the rights and wrongs of the war in Vietnam, and women's rights. Sara has always felt that that summer changed her life forever, and when she finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas, she came back to make Chicago her home. Some of the history of that summer is recounted in her essay collection, Writing in an Age of Silence.

Like V I, Sara likes to sing, in an amateur way, has a hopeless passion for the Cubs, loves Italian shoes'and is obsessed by the search for the perfect cappuccino, so much so that she even went to cappuccino school.

In other academic ventures, Sara received a PhD in American History and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In 1976, she married physics professor Courtenay Wright. The two live in the city of Chicago with their wonder dog Callie. Their lives are made brighter by their adored granddaughter, Maia.

Sara shares V I's passion for social justice. She founded Sisters in Crime in 1986 to support women readers and writers in the mystery world. To give back to the community, Paretsky established the Sara and Two C-Dogs Foundation, which primarily supports girls and women in the arts, letters, and sciences. She has endowed several scholarships at the University of Kansas, and has mentored students in Chicago's inner city schools. She serves on the advisory boards of Literature for All of Us, a literacy group for teen moms, and Thresholds, which serves Chicago's mentally-ill homeless.

Sara has received numerous awards, including the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Association, the Gold Dagger for best novel for her book Blacklist, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from several different universities. Sara's books have been translated into almost thirty languages.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Picking up the latest Sara Paretsky book is like sitting down with an old friend to hear a new story. Paretsky penned her first book featuring private investigator V.I. Warshawski in 1982. Nearly thirty years later, the newly released Breakdown is the fifteenth book in this long running series.

V.I. receives a frantic call from her cousin Petra late one night - a group of girls holding a initiation ceremony based on their favourite author's vampire books get more than they bargained for when they stumble across a corpse - staked through the heart. And these aren't just any teens - they're the offspring of some of Chicago's wealthiest and politically powerful families. Rescuing the girls makes V.I. late for a meeting with her old friend Leydon Ashford. By the time V.I. makes their meeting, it's too late - either troubled Leydon has jumped from a balcony or she was pushed. In a coma, she is unable to let anyone know what happened. As V.I. decides to investigate further into both of these seemingly disparate occurrences, she is warned off - by more than one party. Of course, that only fuels V.I.'s fire....

What has made this such an enduring series? V.I. has aged and her life has progressed in real time. She was a character I liked from the first book and my opinion hasn't changed. She's true to her principles and beliefs, always with an eye towards justice. Now, that's not to say that she won't bend the rules just a bit to get the results she needs. And she's tough, having taken more than her fair share of hard knocks. But she gives as good as she gets. She says what she thinks, she's smart, loyal and someone you'd want on your side. "...sometimes you are so single-minded in your search for answers that you don't always think of the consequences.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sara Paretsky is an excellent writer of popular fiction - as her sales will attest - but she is also a novelist who combines good writing with an examination of topical subjects. Most novelists will not try to tackle today's social problems but the reader always knows Paretsky's social views by reading her books.

Paretsky's newest novel, "Breakdown", is an examination of how right-wing radio and politicians affect American society. It's an edgy book, with a Glenn Beck-like TV and radio commentator stirring up hatred for illegal aliens and Jews and blacks on a Fox News-like network. And a Sarah Palin-like female politician who looks to lock down the votes of like-minded Illinois voters in a US Senate race. She's running against a black woman and she and the radio host come out with racial epitaphs that might be disturbing to the reader. It's sort of Fox-News-on-steroids.

But if racial and other bigotry is part of the story, then Paretsky's heroine "VI Warshawski" is the other part. Maybe a little old at 50 to do the dangerous physical work and sustaining the hits she does, Warshawski remains the center of the story and the personalities she's involved in. The story, which is set in current day Chicago, brings in everything from the Holocaust to the above mentioned right-wing politics, to several murders, much of it with a mental health facility connection. The old favorites from Paretsky's previous books are back - Mr Conteras, cousin-Petra,and the dogs of the household are just a few of the old friends we meet in a new story.

"Breakdown" is a terrific book; Paretsky's done herself proud with the newest. But it is her most overtly "political" and might be too much so to a reader looking for a "light" read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then my politics and sympathies are right in tune with Paretsky's.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A new Paretsky book is a red letter day. Yet though this one is far better than "Body Work" it is not one of her best. It takes too long to really get going - but once it does, it becomes umputdownable. As usual Paretsky brings her social conscience to bear, and one would hope her description of the media is a litte overdone. However the dialogue is crisp, the story well crafted (except for the ending, which defies logic)the villains are villainous enough, V.I gets her usual bashing but gets the job done and a nice bonus too. Can't wait for the next installment....
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ginger ALE on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I saw this at a B&N and snapped it worries right? I started it &by page 48 I was thinking.....this is very complicated and not very interesting but maybe I'm tired and should try again later. When the character of Leydon was introduced the story did pick up but just kept clunking along & by the time I was about half-way thru I just didn;t care anymore. What a disappointment! This novel is not bad but it is not good. It goes into attack media, political dysfunction, the lack of good mental health options/health care in this country, immigration issues,tweens & the vampire craze is just TOO much and OH....there's a murder mystery or 2 to be solved. I'm a liberal so I wasn't offended by Ms Paretsy's rants about the right but the main evil-doer is SO over the top that he is both unbelievable and easily dismissed as a complete kook. But my main complaint is that the book did not hold my interest.I skipped to the end to see who did what (and it didn;t surprise me that it required quite a number of pages to explain the story line!)& then I was glad to pick up my next book. I have enjoyed Ms paretsky's books for years and will read her next one but I do hope she keeps it simpler and more interesting.I understand her desire to make her points but V.I. comes across as shrill, bitter & intolerant instead of smart, experienced & world weary.
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