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Body Work (V.I. Warshawski, #14)
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Body Work (V.I. Warshawski #14)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,713 ratings  ·  304 reviews
V.I. has been visiting Club Gouge, Chicago's edgiest night spot, where a woman known as the Body Artist turns her naked body into a canvas for the audience to paint on. The show attracts all kinds of people, from a menacing off-duty cop to Ukrainian mobsters and Iraq war veterans - and V.I.'s impetuous cousin, Petra.
Hardcover, 449 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published August 28th 2010)
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Larry Bassett
Nov 01, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Larry by: Diane Colborn
Shelves: mystery
Ms. Warshawski has a new boyfriend. This is not unusual. This one she met in the last book. He is a neighbor. He plays an instrument. He is the one who plays the bass. You know, the big stringed one that the musician stands behind, plucks with his fingers and is often shorter than. The first time they go out together V.I. is squeezed into his bass case so she can get out of her house without being seen by the bad guys. You believe me, right? If you have read the first thirteen books of the V.I....more
This was my first foray into V.I. Warshawski’s world, and she’s a heroine worth getting to know. A strong woman with a strong attitude, she doesn’t back down from any challenge. She explores a seedy world filled with sleazy characters, and she doesn’t mind saying yes even while everyone around her is saying no. Exposing herself in a manner similar to the body artist, Victoria tackles both men and women with only her detective skills and wits to save her.

The plot moved at a fairly straightforward...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Three and a half stars. I enjoyed it, although I put it down a couple of times because my need to move overrode my desire to pay attention. It can be a risk putting down a Paretsky book, as some of her plots are extremely convoluted, and the number of players becomes difficult to keep track of. Not as convoluted a mystery as her normal ones, which actually made it enjoyable. There are times at the end of Paretsky's books that I would have trouble articulating exactly what the chain of events and...more
I wanted to love this book, I really did. After all, I've spent almost half my life reading and loving Sara Paretsky's V I Warshawski series. When I started reading the series, VI was older than me. Twenty-five years later, she's now younger than I am. Go figure.

But as much as I wanted to love it, I found this a chore to read. It didn't excite me. I didn't want to read it in one go. I could probably have stopped reading it at any point without regret. I finished it because that's what I do, not...more
Clay Nichols
I'm trying to find a reason that I didn't like this book, other than the fact that the detective/protagonist is a woman, but I come away almost as disappointed in myself as I am in this piece of detective fiction. I don't think my problem is with female authors of genre fiction: I loved Kate Atkinson's "When Will There Be Good News" and read all the Ripley novels in one sustained binge.

The problem, from the very outset, was credibility. You might assume that my first credibility issue was with t...more
Selaine Henriksen
Saturday, 14 July 2012 12:13
July 14, 2012

I'm struggling to get through this book. I used to really enjoy the V.I. Warshawski series, even though I found the character unlikeable. I haven't read one for a long time and looked forward to this one. But, still, V.I. is as unlikable as ever, really hasn't grown at all. She picks a fight, initiates conflict with, every one she meets within a few sentences and feels justified for doing so but as a reader I don't see or feel the justification so she com...more
Sara Paretsky and VI Warshawski are back again. Reading a VI Warshawski novel is comforting to me; it's nostalgic in a way as I've been reading this series since the '80s, and reading them brings back memories of meeting Paretsky at Denver's Tattered Cover book store and the late lamented Rue Morgue in Boulder years ago. But even then, in Boulder, Paretsky discussed the dilemma of continuing such a series with the same character over the years. What does she do with the character as the years pa...more
There is a body artist who works in a Chicago night club. She permits customers to paint her naked body on stage. Her image is posted on a web-cam and she later sells the images to the public.

V.I. Warshawski witnesses an ugly incident when a young painter creates intricate designs on the body artist. An intoxicated man makes accusations and is asked to leave the club. There is a second argument outside the club, also witnessed by Vic.

Later, that woman is murdered and the man, Chad Visneski, is a...more
Sara Paretsky continues to compel her readers to confront uncomfortable truths about American society. In Body Work, she takes on the evils of war, corrupt corporate scheming, PTSD, and the exploitation of women. VI is hired by the father of an Iraq combat veteran, accused of murdering a young woman outside a seamy nightclub. Vic's cousin Petra has taken a job there, and Vic's familiar with the current act, in which patrons are invited to paint upon the body of a naked woman. The investigation i...more
I was...disappointed, which surprised me, because I normally really enjoy the V.I. novels. It failed on three points:

* The plot was simply implausible. There ended up with three distinct storylines that came together on one central character; and it was simply a stretch.

* There was way too much moaning and groaning about her aging. I appreciate it when an author acknowledges that a character is aging; it adds a nice touch of realism to a long-running series. But this was just boarding on morbid...more
it was nice to get into V.I. Warshawski's life again and does she ever get into trouble!. The Body Artist allows her audience to use her naked body as a canvas for their impromptu illustrations. One woman's sketch causes a violent outburst from a man at a nearby table--an Iraqi war vet. Days later a woman is shot outside the club and dies in Vic's arms. The vet is arrested but his family hires Vic to clear his name. Her investigation leads to involvement having to do with money laundering and th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is classic VI Warsawski: political, violent, somewhat convoluted and strewn with evildoers masquerading as businessmen and struggling protagonists in South Side neighborhoods. A woman is murdered outside a nightclub and a traumatized veteran of the Iraq war is arrested. I have read all of Paretsky's novels in this series and I like some better than others. In general, I think her plots have grown unnecessarily complicated and I preferred the earlier, streamlined stories. I bumped this one f...more
Lukasz Pruski
It is not a good sign if you are reading a mystery novel and when the plot approaches its conclusion, you get bored and put the book away to do the dishes, scrub the floors, and dust the house. Unfortunately, this is what happened to me when reading Sara Paretsky's "Body Work".

I have read 8 mysteries by Ms. Paretsky that feature the famous V.I. Warshawsky and most of them would earn at least three stars from me, which is a pretty high rating. I do not think "Body Work" is on the same level. Yes...more
In Sara Paretsky’s newest novel, she brings her private eye V. I. Warshawski back to her readers in an edgy mystery that seemingly centers around a Body Artist performing at a Chicago club called Club Goudge.

The artist is a mysterious woman whose true identity seems unknown; her body serves as a canvas on which others convey their own artistic renderings, including one that is made up of numbers only. One such artist is a young woman, Nadia, who is gunned down outside the club one night when V....more
V.I. Warshawski, Sara Paretsky's Chicago private detective, is one tough woman. Those bad guys who try to intimidate her soon learn that such tactics only strengthen her resolve. She takes a licking and keeps on ticking, and she never, ever gives up on a client.

The opening of this latest book finds V.I. at a club in Chicago where a performance artist who bills herself as the Body Artist is doing her thing. Her "thing" involves appearing naked on stage and allowing members of the audience to draw...more
I find myself having very mixed feelings about this book. Having not read any of Paretsky’s previous Warshawski novels I am unable to judge this book relative to others in the series. The writing itself strikes me as serviceable and the book unwinds at the pace that one expects in a thriller. I enjoyed the fact that Warshawski is depicted as a middle-aged woman whose personal life was as interesting and active as that of a man of the same age. I did, however, feel that the detective and those ar...more
Kathleen Hagen
Body Work, by Sara Paretsky, A. Narrated by Susan Ericksen, produced by Brilliance Audio, downloaded from

Vic goes clubbing one night at a new edgy Chicago club called Club Gouge. The novelty act is a person, Karen Buckley, who sits on a stool on stage totally naked, inviting audience members to use her body as a canvas. Nadya, a trouble soul but a very good artist, paints things on her body everyday. The portrait seems to be of a strange and beautiful woman. There is also a rough-lo...more
Barbara Mitchell
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...more
This series has gotten better as it's gone on, with the last 3 books being absolute 5 star reads. Some consider the series "political", but that's one of the things that I think draws me to it. I like a book that makes me think, and the last few in the series have done that in spades. In this one Vic has been hired by the family of an Iraq war veteran who's suffering from PTSD. He's accused of murdering a woman outside a nightclub where a performance artist known as "The Body Artist" is igniting...more
Final Grade: 93/A

REVIEW: V.I. certainly does know how to find trouble (or does trouble just find her?) and this time is no exception. An evening at a club leads Vic into a murky and dangerous case involving an angry Iraqi veteran turned scapegoat for a back-alley murder. Chad, the accused vet, is in a coma and his father hires V.I. to prove his son's innocence.

What makes this series so enjoyable is not just the twisting mystery (which I can never seem to figure out). The characters are fantastic...more
An excellent read!

The story, to borrow a visual from the novel itself, is like a spider's web. There are so many threads coming together to converge in one event, an event that was put into motion by something that happened two years previous in Iraq. This novel is intense and action packed, filled with mystery and suspense as each new lead in the case sheds more light onto the players.

The characters themselves are extremely well written, starting with V.I. herself. She's a strong character who...more
VI Warshawski ages like a fine whiskey: very well indeed. This series could have long gone stale, but Paretsky has done a nice job of subtly aging her detective while yanking her forward into the modern world.

The mystery itself is a pretty good one: you identify the players quickly, and you know something's wrong with all of them, but you're not entirely sure what or why and it takes a lot of digging to get it to all make sense. the climax at the very end is a little over the top (I'm not sure I...more
I came upon this in a church sale along with quite a few others of its type. The bookseller in me couldn't resist, hard cover, dust-jacket, 3CHF, even though the reader in me has moved on. So far out I've read four of the 'bargains' and you get what you pay for. Three duds, this being one of them....

I used to really enjoy these, this one disappoints. Way too long, too much padding. As always, however, the description of Chicago are great - saying that as somebody who has never been there, but th...more
I couldn't take it anymore after 3 CDs. Usually if I make it that far into an audio book, I'll listen to the end. But not this time.

Why? I've been trying to figure that out. Here's the possibilities I'm considering: the reader goes in out and of a 'hard boiled detective' accent that gets annoying; the author is trying too hard to be edgy, cutting edge (e.g. the name of the club where the action takes place 'Club Gouge' is ridiculous); the idea that a server at a club is so aware of what the clu...more
Sara Paretsky's, V.I. Warshawski, is one of the best detectives in today's literature. With # 14 in the series, V.I. is pushing 50 but can still run with her dogs and pack a mean punch when the situation demands it. I have followed her and I think she has matured and learned a lot along the way.

This story is based upon underlying social issues of this country. V.I. becomes passionate about, and therefore risks her life for, the problems for our soldiers in iraq that have been created by private...more
I love a good VI Warshawski novel, and initially thought that I wouldn't warm to this one. I was hooked once again, and burnt a lot of midnight oil so that I could get to the end.

Great plotting, lots of action and a backdrop of sketchy characters intent on making money in America's overseas wars. (Should I be remembering All My Sons here?). I really enjoy the broad backdrop of society and it's ills that come to play in the cases that VI investigates. These threads allow Paretsky to illuminate s...more
Ryan Mishap
A return to classic V.I.--we don't get anything particularly new, but Paretsky is the top of the mystery heap, so even not new is pretty darn good. Relies on the Random Meeting, or Confluence, that useful device that sends the detective spinning until they figure out how things connect. Much better than the last book.

If you haven't read these, I suggest starting with Blacklist and then at the beginning. Mysteries that take place in the real, complex world where social and political realities ar...more
V.I. is one of my favorite characters! And this one does not disappoint. There are contemporary, political themes, feminist overtones, discussions of the play of women's bodies in art, and more on top of two intriguing mysteries centering around an avant-garde nightclub in Chicago. I admire Ms. Paretsky for not cranking out another book year after year, and instead taking the time to craft an excellent story, but I am already eager for another! Victoria, Vicky, Vic, V.I. ... I love the many side...more
I don't really know how to review this book. I read this for school, and from a literary stand point, the analyses are good and there's lots of depth and all of that good stuff. Generally that's not how I base my reviews off of though. So, based from the most objective view I can offer, this wasn't a terrible book at all. I should also point out that I'm not really a fan of crime novels, but as stated before, I read this for a lit class.

I'll start with the things I like before I get into the neg...more
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Sara Paretsky is a modern American author of detective fiction. Paretsky was raised in Kansas, and graduated from the state university with a degree in political science. She did community service work on the south side of Chicago in 1966 and returned in 1968 to work there. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago, entitled The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New E...more
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