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Burn Marks (V.I. Warshawski #6)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,877 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is nevergood news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad newsarrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena.The fire that has just burned down a sleazySRO hotel has brought Elena toV.I.'s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist-- and the secrets hidden behind Elena's boozysmile -- will send V.I. into theseedy world of Chicago's homeless... in ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 5th 1991 by Dell (first published February 1st 1990)
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Mar 28, 2016 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 6 in the V.I. Warshawski series and as it was first published in 1990 it is showing its age. (I can identify with that although I was around quite a bit before 1990!) This is a great series but not one to binge read as it would definitely feel repetitive if the books were read closely after each other. Sara Paretsky had a real formula going at the time she wrote these books and they only differ in the case she is trying to solve. Vic leads an identical life in each one with the same frien ...more
Larry Bassett
Dec 11, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I ran across the word “aeon” in a book I just finished and then again in a book that I just started. Both spelled in this British way rather than the more common “eon”. I considered that a sign. Both books were published in 1990 and I thought that cinched it. I should move into the current era and stop considering that 1990 represents “current” in any way.

Learned an important bit of information from our heroine, Ms. Warshawski , that expanded my horizons: In 1990 in Chicago you could get $90 fro
aPriL does feral sometimes
Ok, the truth is I gave this an extra star because V.I. Warshawski has a 'wacky' aunt and this book is all about her. I'm an aunt, and I'm getting wackier by the day, so I'm supporting the troops.

VI's aunt, Elena, is a drunk now, but before, when she was a teenager, Elena could not settle down into the path mapped out for her - high school graduation, marriage, kids and housework. Instead she runs away from home at age 16. Unlike myself, so far, she is a rebel without a cause, living off of an
Oct 29, 2012 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writing and the characters of this novel are decent, but I just couldn't get very excited over it. I don't know who is imitating who, and it doesn't matter, because it just seems like the same old stuff.

The plot is decent enough and offers some good suspense. V.I.'s alcoholic aunt shows up in the middle of the night declaring that her building has burned down. Soon, V.I. is in the middle of an arson investigation and it seems everyone wants her to butt out.

However, what annoys me is the sim
Eric Plume
Much as I hate to do it I've gotta give up on Sara Paretsky. Just as with her last few novels, I ended up defeated by the confused beginning and had to put it down before the mystery even got rolling. Paretsky spends too much time setting the scene before she gives the reader any clue what the book is about, a flaw I as a reader just can't get over. Which is a shame, as V.I. Warshawski is a compelling protagonist once the story finally gets rolling, at least in Hard Time (The one Paretsky novel ...more
This is an older V. I. Warshawski novel (for reasons that I have yet to pin down, I tend to divide the V. I. books between pre- and post- Tunnel Vision). The mystery is not complex - V. I. is investigating whether a fire at an SRO hotel was arson, and she has to investigate and deal with very sleazy real estate speculators and developers.

Complicating the case is her alcoholic aunt Elena, who lived in the hotel, now has to stay with someone, and makes V. I. the obvious choice.

Much of the book is
Feb 27, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book centers around political and police corruption in Chicago. In that context, there is nothing particularly surprising or mysterious about the mystery. Still a routine story can be good if the characters are interesting and you care about them. I found I didn't much care about the detective, V. I. Warshawski. She seemed like a flake repeatedly putting going into obviously dangerous places alone and not checking for her messages. These lapses were need to move the plot along, but there we ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victoria Iphigenia just can’t seem to stop herself from digging deeper into questionable situations, a tendency which many find infuriating, even when they can’t help admiring her determination and integrity. Vic’s stubborn relentlessness is well-known in her hometown of Chicago, which seems to be why her old friend Roz is warning her off, apparently fearful that Vic will try and sabotage her rising political career. Vic is baffled by Roz’s mistrust, since she’s always admired the savvy Latina a ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read the e-book version of this novel, which had pretty clearly been scanned from the hard copy. The editing is terrible! It is so bad, that it frequently interferes with the reading. Apparently, the publisher either doesn't know, or doesn't care, that the process of converting scanned images into text is an imperfect one, and that editing is almost always required. Most troublesome was the italicization of words and phrases that clearly should not have been italicized.

This is the third V.I.
Red Heaven
V.I.'s dentist's kids will never go hungry, what with all the teeth grinding she does in this book.

I struggle with this character. She's supposed to be a tough P.I. but she has a weakness for letting people, particularly relatives, walk all over her. Not only does she take in her hapless alcoholic aunt but her friend, who is a complete stranger to V.I.

Truth be told, after six books I'm tired of being told V.I. struggles to pay her bills, of the cutesy stuff with her downstairs neighbor, of her o
Jan 31, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book, and it was hard to put down. There are a couple of problems I had with the book that kept met from giving it higher marks. One, I found part of the solution to the mystery extremely obvious. It was so obvious that I felt as though V.I. was the worst detective on the planet for not putting the pieces together earlier. Two, I realize that V.I. is a strong feminist fighting to find a place in a role traditional occupied by a member of the all-boys club, but at times, her rhetori ...more
Someone in the book said the main character is a pain in the butt, or words to that effect. That about sums her up. I never warmed to her.
The story was an okay enough of a read for me to finish the book, but a bit repetitive; she always seems to be having baths, being too tired to think straight, etc. The story also dragged and the main character was slow to wake up to certain facts.
When the main character went into the office at night to riffle through drawers and papers, when she left she said
I originally bought this book soon after it came out, as evidenced by the date on the autograph. At that time I found the Warshawski series to be a pretty good one. Rereading this particular title, I wasn't inclined to put it in the give-away pile, but it was less appealing than it was 25 years ago. While it's not surprising that Warshawski and the Chicago good ol' boys don't get along, her inability ever to refrain from a rude comeback (to everyone she meets, friend or foe) gets tedious. Nor am ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Nolan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls-audio
It’s best if you start this series with the first book; I didn’t, and it turned out ok because Paretsky gives you just enough information that you’re not feeling lost, but not so much that you’re bored if you’ve read books prior to this one.

Some Chicago officials are on the take, (no news there), and the scam involves old buildings. V. I. Warshawski, a tough female detective who insists on embracing the city, grittiness and all, gets involved when her booze-saturated aunt shows up at her door on
Chris Gager
My edition is paperback but with the same cover... It's time for my periodic diversion into mystery-land after the emotional murk of Joyce Carol Oates. We'll see how this author compares with Sayers, Hillerman, Kellerman, Connelly, Parker and Wambaugh. I've read at least one of each of them within the past few years. One category of my guilty pleasures. This one's pretty good so far. No big deal and not that much different from the same thing with a male protagonist. The demands of the genre pre ...more
Rugg Ruggedo
May 04, 2013 Rugg Ruggedo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really do love V.I. Warshawsky. I read these books pretty close to the time they were written, the first time. I cant remember if at that time I was so disturbed by the way, just about every male treats her. I can tell,however, it really makes me crazy here in 2013. Just 23 years ago, and the sensibility was so different. The plot of this one depends on the male population discounting every thing Victoria does or says just on the basis that she is a woman, and the closely knit fabric of the ol ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I like finding detectives that work for me, and Warshawski certainly does. The thing is that I don't really find crime novels all that riveting, so while the ones I like are a step above OK, there's nothing to elevate them past that.

And that's fine with me - I don't need to have srs bsns reasons for everything (or anything) I read. I do like being able to articulate what I like, though, and the most I can say for crime novels that work is that they're not especially gross (where especially gross
Kathleen Dixon
These really are fun to read. I must find her other novels in the library.

When a seedy old SRO [I have no idea what that stands for – it’s what was once a fine old hotel but as the neighbourhood went down and down, so did the hotel until it has become a grotty low-cost boarding house] goes up in flames, V.I. finds herself saddled with a new roommate: her whacked-out, boozed-up Aunt Elena has no place to go. V.I. figures it’s got to be arson, just another insurance scam – until one of Aunt Elena’
V.I. Warshawski's alcoholic aunt Elena's low-rent, seedy hotel she lives in is burned to the ground by an arsonist. She shows up at V.I.'s door in the middle of the night desperate for a place to stay. In trying to help her aunt and investigate the arson, V.I. finds herself involved in Chicago corruption and at risk of ending up dead. Even worse, a trusted friend betrays her and tries to kill her.
Patrick Neylan
Don't remember much about this except that it was a decent, albeit unexceptional read. It showed that there's nothing wrong with having female protagonists in detective fiction, but that hardly needs stating nowadays. It stands well enough on its own merits.
Dec 09, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ok, I like the story, but I'm getting a little tired of Mallory's sameness. He's always just yelling. And I definitely did not like the aunt, but the rest was good.
Kelly Hager
Nov 11, 2015 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good, really suspenseful. I love this series so much and I can't wait for the next installment. (Note: this one is pretty early on in the series.)
Apr 08, 2014 Tink rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still find the surlyness of one and all grating but her ability to weave an engaging narrative without relying on formulaic plotholes makes for a good read.

Jul 24, 2014 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not getting tired of this series (my summer obsession?) but too many unpleasant characters in this one to really enjoy.
Sue Shipley
Jul 27, 2015 Sue Shipley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
VI is very brave but sometimes fool hardy, stubborn and difficult to deal with. Good action and characters
Chriss Mackie
Sep 22, 2014 Chriss Mackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read, Paretsky's books are often too similar, luckily, she writes well enough and her books are entertaining enough to forgive this. Just stagger the books so as not to be bored by this.
Sherri F.
Maybe only a 3.5 but it ended on a really high note. Through the first half of the book I thought it might be a 2 or 2.5 but it redeemed itself for me.

Another semi-long-lost (Alkie) Aunt showed up with issues for VI to resolve but they turned out much bigger than her or we could have expected and involved other people in power, politics, police and people close to VI. Good ole Mr. Contereras came through again, as well as a touching ending with Bobby Mallory. Although I want some stories that sh
Jan 22, 2012 Leilani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Feels remarkably fresh for having been published 21 years ago (which I didn't realized when I checked out the e-book - I must have read this before when it was newer, but didn't recall any of the plot). VI Warshawski goes about her business (using transparencies and filing cabinets and not owning a computer) and when trouble finds her, she faces it using her fierce intelligence and sticking to her principles. The supporting characters are vivid and entertaining, and the mystery is enjoyably knot ...more
May 02, 2016 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
You know what you are going to get with a V.I.Warshawksi novel. The main character doesn't change and she always has the same network of friends to get involved in her capers. She always is trying to live an ordinary life that gets rudely interrupted by the case the book is about.

But Vic is a great character (and I like her more with each book) and the stories are well told if maybe a bit formulaic. I wouldn't want to read all 18 in one go, but, reading one every few months I know I will work my
Mar 15, 2010 Dick rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
First time I have read Sara Paretsky. I obviously like the espionage, crime detective novels for diversion. Her V.I. Warshawski character is truly an interesting character. I very much enjoyed this. Very human, very human issues, very human problems (her car finally breaks downs after nursing it for a long time). A story that begins with her drunken aunt showing up at her door, a political campaign gathering, her aunt's hotel burning. How can these events possibly tie together other than complic ...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
More about Sara Paretsky...

Other Books in the Series

V.I. Warshawski (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Indemnity Only (V.I. Warshawski, #1)
  • Deadlock (V.I. Warshawski, #2)
  • Killing Orders (V.I. Warshawski, #3)
  • Bitter Medicine (V.I. Warshawski, #4)
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
  • Guardian Angel (V.I. Warshawski, #7)
  • Tunnel Vision (V.I. Warshawski, #8)
  • Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9)
  • Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski, #10)
  • Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski, #11)

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