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Hardball (V.I. Warshawski #13)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,885 ratings  ·  349 reviews
The long-awaited return of V.I. Warshawski

Chicago politics-past, present, and future-take center stage in New York Times bestselling author Sara Peretsky's complex and compelling new V.I. Warshawski novel. When Warshawski is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile becomes lethal. Old skeletons from the city's rac
Hardcover, First Edition, 446 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 22nd 2009)
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The Shoulders of Giants by Jim CliffThe Black Hour by Lori Rader-DayHard Time by Sara ParetskyIndemnity Only by Sara ParetskyMissing Persons by Clare O'Donohue
Chicago Crime Fiction
14th out of 132 books — 44 voters
Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCity of Glass by Cassandra ClareBlood Promise by Richelle MeadHunted by P.C. CastEvermore by Alyson Noel
Books for 2009
373rd out of 578 books — 2,386 voters

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Community Reviews

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James Thane
Forty years after Lamont Gadsden disappeared in a humongous Chicago blizzard, his dying aunt hires V. I. Warshawski to discover what became of him. 1967 was a time of brutal racial unrest in Chicago, and Warshawski soon discovers that Gadsden's disappearance is somehow linked to the murder of a civil rights worker earlier that year. As she digs deeper into the mystery, Warshawski raises a lot of uncomfortable questions about what took place that year, raising suspicions even about members of her ...more
Larry Bassett
Oct 27, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Larry by: Diane Colborn
Shelves: mystery
The last book in the Warshawski series that I read was #11, Blacklist , about a month ago. But I read #12, Fire Sale , out of order about a year ago. So my continuity with this series is not the best. Hardball was published in 2009 and Mr. Contreras, V.I.’s downstairs neighbor, is “close to ninety” years old. That seems a little old to be butting into V.I.’s cases but, let’s not be ageist now, Larry! After all, he did save her life at least once and he is a regular, so both she and I will mi ...more
V.I. is hired to search for a young gangster who has been missing since the night of a snowstorm in 1967. Her search leads to confrontations with an incarcerated gang leader, to involvement with a decades-old murder that took place during a civil rights demonstration, and gets entangled with the senatorial campaign that her new young cousin is working on. Along the way she finds seemingly unrelated information that could implicate her adored father or uncle as accessories to something unsavoury. ...more
This has got to be one of the slowest reading books that I've read in a long time. I love Vic, have for years. But this whole thing is just plodding along for me. I'm not even sure I'll finish it. I'm so bored trying to read it.
Steven Peterson
Once upon a time, I had to have each new V. I. Warshawski novel as it came out. However, after about four of them, I got tired of her perpetual bad humor and inability to get close to anyone. The atmosphere along such lines of the works just became too oppressive to me, so I bowed out of reading the next set. After having read a recent review of this book, I plunged back in. And am glad that I did.

In the early books, she was still young; here, she is about 50 or so, based on some of her comments
The title of this novel, "Hardball," pinpoints the metaphor at the center of this suspense tale—a story that spotlights civil rights, baseball, politics, and police corruption.

When V. I. Warshawski inadvertently saves a homeless man's life, she meets a woman of the clergy, who also assists the man; this pastor is so taken with the detective's compassion that she introduces her to a woman searching for her son who has been missing for more than forty years.

The search links V. I. to an incarcerate
Victoria Warshawski's father Tony was "the finest policeman who ever lived" in the opinion of Bobby Mallory the current Chief of Police in Chicago. Vic's adoration of her father has been reflected in every volume of this excellent series. Hardball challenges some of her assumptions about her father while delivering a fast paced action thriller set, as usual, in the Windy City.

A chance encounter with a homeless veteran leads Vic into the investigation of the disappearance of a young member of the
David Anderson
Vic's search for a missing gang member leads to revelations about the death of a young civil rights worker during a white riot against a march led by Dr. Martin Luther King during the Chicago Open Housing Movement in 1967. These revelations come to include not only a cover-up surrounding that killing but also details of the Chicago police torturing suspects to gain confessions (Paretsky wrote this novel in the wake of revelations of actual torture cases by the Chicago Police and during the unfol ...more
Kelly Hager
This is the latest VI Warshawski mystery, and it's fantastic. If you like mystery novels (especially if you like to read series and not standalones) and haven't read Sara Paretsky yet, you are in for a huge treat.

VI (usually called Vic by her friends and various unpleasant names by people who are emphatically not her friends) has been hired to find a missing person. Lamont Gadsden has been missing for 40 years; he disappeared around the time of a race riot in Chicago. She's also trying to find h
After a four-year hiatus, Chicago private investigator V.I. Warshawski makes a characteristically noisy return in “Hardball.”
Smarting a little from a breakup but rested from a trip to Italy, V.I. takes on a 40-year-old missing-person case just as her human hurricane of a cousin, Petra, blows into town with a new job. As headstrong V.I. delves into the case, it leads her to prison chats with an incarcerated gang leader who may have some information, to a decades-old murder that happened during a
Two missing persons - one that lawyer and private investigator V. I. Warshawski is hired to find, the other someone that she must find. Those who want to learn more about the city of Chicago, past and present, will certainly get a lot from reading Hardball.

Synopsis: V. I. Warshawski, lawyer and private investigator, is hired to find a missing man, Lamont Gadsgen. In the meantime her cousin Petra disappears, possibly abducted while visiting Warshawksi's office with two unknown men. The security c
Leslie (That Chick That Reads)
Missing People + Murder + Old Family Secrets = Intense Read! The novel started off a little slow for my tasting but once you got the background stuff out of the way, it got really interesting. I could not put this novel away! I usually don’t read genres like this but I honestly really loved this novel! It was like you were pieces the pieces together alongside V. I. Warshawski. The author keeps giving you little hints through out the entire novel and then they all tie nicely at the end. The chara ...more
Nicky Reed
I have a soft spot for Sara Paretsky. And for VI Warshawski. We go back a bit and that probably accounts for three rather than two stars. As with many of her books she doesn't duck the big issues. Here, they're not dealt with particularly elegantly. In part, in this novel they allow for a bit more character development of VI as she struggles with personal demons whilst the novel explores social ones.
It felt like a good part of this novel was taken up with introducing the character of Warshawski'
Paretsky is one of a handful of writers I'd have to rank as the best living authors of detective fiction. I don't know that it's still meaningful to refer to her work as 'hard boiled' any more, but both Paretsky and her detective, VI Warshawski have evolved.

I always hate it when someone says a novel is so good it 'transcends the genre' because I think good mystery fiction is a genre that doesn't need to be 'transcending.' But this novel is about a lot of things--one's family past, a city's pain
Ryan Mishap
Pretty good Paretsky is miles ahead of most mystery writers, and this book is pretty good.

While not having the depth and detail of her best (Blacklist) this is a similar story of past crimes influencing current events. What does a civil rights worker killed at a 1966 march of Dr. King in Chicago have to do with a man who has been missing all those years? Can Vic survive her peppy young cousin, in Chicago to work on a senate campaign, and her efforts to snoop into Vic's life? What the hell is wro
I am a little over halfway through this novel - the 13th V.I. Warshawski story author Sara Paretsky has written. She started writing them when she was 32 and the protagonist, a female private investigator in Chicago, was 30. Parestsky is now 60+ and her heroine is in her 50's. I like that. It adds authenticity. But, "Hardball"l has become tedious. Writing a book is not easy. Getting it published is not easy. Getting people to read it is not easy. And today, according to writer and story teller G ...more
A first reads win!

Wow, what an intense, refreshing mystery. So many of the mysteries/suspense I read seem to be constant action and little development of plot. This one had both. Kind of reminded me of the movies "The Pelican Brief" or "The Fugitive" rather than the intense scene after intense scene in movies like "The Italian Job" or "Mission Impossible." For me, I much prefer plot development as well as action. I like to know how people solve the crime rather then just having everything fall i
Listened to as an audio book over 3 trips in the last 6 weeks. Some readers are complaining/dropping because she is getting too "preachy" liberal. I didn't notice that much. My issue w/ the audio was the woman reader doing the Af-Am voices. Glad I listened to it, I have a hard time justifying the time to read a 450 pp mystery. Why do authors start w/ precise 200 pp novels, and then when they get popular they all of a sudden have to write 400-500 pp tomes? Parker was guilty of this as well.

This is a very good detective/mystery novel, in the series about V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator working the tougher side of Chicago. The story has the requisite twists and turns, and navigates through the conflicted racial history and notorious corruption of the city police and justice system as Warshawski tries to solve a 40-year old missing persons case. Author Sara Paretsky has a talent for character building using the sparse prose of the crime writer, and her Warshawski is co ...more
Vi Elsey
Loved this book mostly because it was written about the part of Chicago in which Sara and I both grew up -- the south side. It helped to be really familiar with the area, the times during which the action takes place, and also to be able to catch some of Sara's "inside jokes."

I saw Sara at the annual mystery convention last week in Indianapolis and she got a real kick that I caught the significance of her naming one of the bad guys "Krumas." This just happens to be the Lithuanian word for "bush
Pam Engman
The beginning of the book was very confusing. I needed some background on Anaconda. The beginning of the book flipped around and I didn't even understand what was going on. I wish the author would have given an indication that she was flipping around in time. The first 75 pages were more confusing than anything. Once I made it to page 100 I was hooked. If it wasnt a good read win, I probably wouldnt have made it that far. The beginning of the book needed to be clearer and the chapters needed tim ...more
This was the first Warshawski novel that I have really liked in a long time. Previous efforts were just a bit too self involved for me, but in this one she is back in true fighting form. She is investigating the disappearance of a young black man forty years earlier. It leads to a murder for which another man served forty years in prison. Additionally one of Warshawski's cousins disappears and she starts searching for her. Of course, everything is interrelated and certainly complex enough for th ...more
Michael Sump
“Hardball” was my first novel by Sara Peretsky, who has written a series of novels starring V.I. Warshawski, a tough lady detective roaming the mean streets of Chicago.

I do not place Peretsky in the top rank of detective authors, but I freely admit that my wife says that I am a chauvinistic reader and that I am not very forgiving when Peretsky creates, uh, helpful plot “coincidences” for Vic, her lady detective. She says that I am completely forgiving with my favorites--like John Sandford, Mich
Since I've enjoyed other mysteries in the V.I Warshawski series, I purchased this book at a library book sale. It was a 'can't put down', fast read. Very entertaining, some violence but easier to digest than recent novels by other authors.

Chicago private investigator, V.I. Warshawki, is asked to find a man who's been missing for four decades. During the search skeletons from Chicago's racially charged history, as well as family secrets emerge. To complicate the search, V.I.'s cousin who she'd n
This book was an "Advance Readers Copy." I picked it up because in the past I really enjoyed the writing of this author. The two positive spots in the book were good base story and great history facts. I did find the pace of the story moved along like a snail. This author used to write roller coaster twisting thrillers, but this story was more like riding in a row boat on a calm, hot day. The ending of the story had a little thrill.
Mike Schneider
Won it in giveaway---one of my favorite detective novelists. The story is good, lots of twists and turns, wrapped up nicely at the end. The author's main character is one of my favorite detectives, mostly because she seems like an real every-day person. The things she does to solve her case(s) are all believable and things you could see yourself being able to do---she seems real. Another winner by Ms Paretsky!
Greg Kemble
I am always sad when mystery writers make mysteries personal to the detective. The conceit of the genre is that a detective gets hired, and to me that's enough. Apparently, writers think that the stakes aren't high enough if the mystery doesn't have a personal aspect to it. Of course, there's always the possibility of personal danger. But for some reason writers have to take it beyond that.

In this book, Paretsky weaves a complex, and even believable, web of past (her father's career as cop) and
MK Brunskill-Cowen
As V I Warshawski said, no good deed goes unpunished. After saving the life of a homeless man, Vic is asked to find out what happened to a young gangster that disappeared the night of the infamous '67 snowstorm. Vic then get caught up in a whirling intrigue involving a young cousin, a Kennedy-esque Illinois senate candidate, Homeland Security, long-seething racism and her father. I couldn't put it down.
The politics got a little tiresome and I thought the cousin was too one dimensional but I enjoyed the story. There were lots of twists and turns and I wasn't sure who did what until the reveal at the end.

It's been a long time since I've read a Warshawski novel but it all came back to me.
After all this time, Paretsky continues to write VI in a fresh, modern way, tackling the heavier issues of the day (homeland security) while creating a credible mystery that weaves past and present.
Also, I hope cousin Petra sticks around.
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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...
Indemnity Only (V.I. Warshawski, #1) Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5) Body Work (V.I. Warshawski, #14) Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9) Fire Sale (V.I. Warshawski, #12)

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