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Hardball (V.I. Warshawski #13)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,618 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
Chicago politics-past, present, and future-take center stage in "New York Times"-bestselling author Sara Paretsky's brilliant new V. I. Warshawski novel.
Chicago's unique brand of ball is sixteen-inch slow pitch, played in leagues all over the city for more than a century. But in politics, in business, and in law enforcement, the game is hardball.
When V. I. Warshawski is
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
17th out of 138 books — 51 voters
Mateguas Island by Linda  WatkinsSomething in the woods is taking people. by Stephen YoungRebecca by Daphne du MaurierWISHBONE...Be Careful What You Wish For by Brooklyn HudsonThe Ring of Lost Souls by Rachel Tsoumbakos
Haunting books for a stormy night
173rd out of 182 books — 89 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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James Thane
Jul 06, 2011 James Thane rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
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 it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
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.
Jun 29, 2015 Judy rated it it was amazing
Sara Paretsky's 14th novel is possibly her best yet. I have been reading them in the order she wrote them and she never rests on her laurels. She seems to challenge herself everytime. Hardball takes place in the early 2000s but her investigation takes her back into the days of the Civil Rights movement, thus combining racism, Chicago politics, and a shocking revelation about her beloved father's early years in the police force.

I read the book shortly after the massacre in Charlston, SC. That mad
Steven Peterson
Oct 25, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 17, 2009 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2014 Ware rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2014 David Anderson rated it it was amazing
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
May 09, 2010 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
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
Sep 28, 2009 Harvee rated it liked it
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)
Sep 03, 2009 Leslie (That Chick That Reads) rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-s, review
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
Aug 15, 2012 Nicky Reed rated it liked it
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'
Oct 06, 2009 Chuck rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2009 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
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
May 31, 2010 mark rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2015 Bob rated it it was amazing
I confess I almost gave up on Sara Paretsky's Warshawski novels a few years back after reading Total Recall. I simply lost interest in a series which seemed to be stuck in a rut of the "same ol', same ol'" variety. But I kept on slogging through Blacklist and Fire Sale, both of which I enjoyed more than the few I'd read prior, until I got to this one. Hardball, IMHO, is one of the best of the Warshawski brood--mostly, I think, because it's about family, both V.I.'s and those of others. Was it sh ...more
Sep 25, 2009 Cheryl-Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jan 28, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: listened
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.

Feb 11, 2013 Scott rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2009 Vi Elsey rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2009 Pam Engman rated it liked it
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
Oct 12, 2009 Joyce rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2015 Molly added it
During September and the beginning of October 2015, I did what is now called binge reading of the second set of Paretsky novels about the detective V.I. Warshawski. These books were published, one every couple of years, from 1999 to 2015. The first set of Warshawski novels spanned from 1982-1994. The books touch on the major events in Chicago history, but also show the changes in all of our lives from 1982 to 2015, the availability of cell phones and the internet, for example.
I like the tough ma
Peter Goodman

“Hardball,” by Sara Paretsky (G. P.Putnam Sons; audiobook, 2009, read by Susan Ericksen). A V. I. Warshawsky novel. At first I was put off: there was a lot of family history going on, VI’s father the upstanding cop and his brother, her ditsy little cousin Petra, visiting the family’s old home, etc. An elderly black woman, nasty and rude, asks VI to find Lamont Gadsden, who disappeared in the summer of 1965, as a last wish for the woman’s dying sister. The task seems quixotic and hopeless; who re
Michael Sump
Feb 08, 2014 Michael Sump rated it liked it
“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
May 05, 2015 Georgie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things I liked about this book

-The background story of the 1966 riots. Very interesting and has made me want to learn more about that time.

-V.I. being awesome. Especially how she will not kowtow to anyone. She's not going to tiptoe around a powerful white male judge, but nor will she do that for an elderly black woman or a particularly nasty gangbanger. She may be pretty liberal, but she's no bleeding heart (I think her heart is surrounded by spiky spiky thorns!), oh no, and damn that is refresh
Robert Scott
Victoria Iphigenia (V I) Warshawski has just returned from a vacation with her lover in Italy where they traced some of her family & family history. When she returns to Chicago she finds that she has a really horrendous backlog of work so she hires a temp to help with the filing & to answer the phone when she is out. Elton Grainger a homeless man who peddles "Streetwise" to VI collapses at her door and she calls for an ambulance and saves his life. Later a young lady shows up at her door ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it
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
Nov 16, 2009 Brenda rated it liked it
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.
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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)
  • Burn Marks (V.I. Warshawski, #6)
  • Guardian Angel (V.I. Warshawski, #7)
  • Tunnel Vision (V.I. Warshawski, #8)
  • Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9)
  • Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski, #10)

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