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Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski #9)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,122 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Among the first, and perhaps the most compelling, female private investigators of contemporary fiction, Sara Paretsky's incomparable character V. I. Warshawski at last returns to the page in her first full-length appearance since 1994's Tunnel Vision. Hard Time is the work of a master--a riveting novel of suspense that is indisputably Paretsky's best V.I. Warshawski novel ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 22nd 1999 by Dell (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Larry Bassett
Feb 16, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Hard Time is the ninth book in the Warshawski series but the first one to be published in five years. Author Paretsky has written and published a couple of books in that time but not in this series. But since I am reading the series in order about fourteen years later, I didn’t have to wait five years. In fact I just finished #8 less than an hour ago. My, how time flies!

I am intentionally reading two books in the series back to back to see if that increases my enjoyment watching our heroine go t
aPriL does feral sometimes
I REALLY wanted to give this five stars because I BELIEVE! - in Sara Paretsky, in Paretsky's and her character V. I. Warshawski's causes - but the plot is a tad bit pushed into a shape to suit VI 's usual masochistic response to everyone's usual complete lack of faith and belief in her except for for her old neighbor, Contreras, and the usual addition of a couple of new characters who support her, but can't be open about it. Ok, ok, it's a winning formula for this series, but since I'm reading t ...more
Mary JL
Apr 23, 2009 Mary JL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any mystery fan
Recommended to Mary JL by: Have previous knowledge of series
I have read several of the V. I. Warshawski novels by Sara Paretsky. This is the ninth in the series, and very, very wel written.

V. I.---her fiends call her "Vic" is a very realistically drawn person. She is intelligent, strong, smart, tough--and yet has very human failings. As you read the series, her character is developed thouthough the books. (You can read them out of order--each will stand alone).

IN this novel, Vic is accused by a dangerous cop of vehicular homicide and ends up--on false ch
Ryan Mishap
Sep 07, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
I won't review most of the books in a series, but I will pick out the best ones. This one is up to her usual standards, but has the extra bonus of sending V.I. to prison, giving the author and us a chance to look at how are criminal justice system doesn't work and rising incarceration rates for women.
Hard Time - NR
Sara Paretsky
When V.I. swerves to avoid a body lying in the middle of the road, she never imagines that her search for the reasons behind the vicious beating death of Nicola Aguinaldo will take her from the upper classes of Chicago society to a long stint behind bars at a private women's prison overrun with sadistic guards and almost equally threatening inmates. Her investigation will fray her relationships with assistant Mary Louise Neely and old friend Murray Ryerson, but with th
Jan 08, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read all of the Nancy Drew books when I was a kid and then didn't touch another mystery until 1986 when I saw Sara Paretsky on the Today Show. She convinced me to try one of her V.I. Warshawski books. I've never looked back. It's been 5 years since we've been able to know what V.I.'s been up to. Reading Hard Time is like getting to visit with a good friend you haven't seen in years. V.I. stumbles on a dead body in the road and the next thing she knows she's been questioned by a really nasty co ...more
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
Sep 27, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No need for a detail critique of theme and foreshadowing here. Paretsky provides a solid, steady, smooth read. Paretsky's character, V.I. Warshawski, is the modern woman's perfect role model, using wit and physicallity to bring justice to Chicago's wicked outlaws. This one involves media conglomerates and their lackeys, hellish privatized prisons, latino textile workers and a youthful modern celebrity. Thanks for a nice breather and a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting read.
One of the most hard-hitting VI Warshawski novels. A random event leads VI to the interlinked world of politics and big business, with graphic insights into Chicago's prison system. VI's strong investigative skills and nose for a cover-up draw her in deeper and deeper. An often uncomfortable read but well worthwhile for the satisfying denouement.
Apr 08, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, I stopped reading the V. I. Warshawski novels around 10 years ago. I picked up this one, published in 1999, at a used book sale and found it quite enjoyable. I think I'll try to catch up.
Even if I hadn't seen SP give an amazing talk at Dominican University, I would still love her work. V.I. is such a genuine character, as are most of the other characters we run into. I enjoy reading about Chicago, and since this one was published in 1999, the city almost has a "vintage" feel to it: a lot has changed in 15 years. I came to V.I. late, having already read the Kate White and Eve Diamond novels, so I can see what an impact SP's writing has made. I've only read one other V.I. novel, b ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Marjorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I think I have read every V.I. book, I come across one I missed. It seems that V.I. risks too much in her pursuit of justice. She is always getting injured, maimed, hit, shot at. The hard life of a PI in Chicago! She is such a staunch defender of the underdog, the downtrodden. She thinks she can save the world. Lotty and Max and others have not been able to convince her it's not possible. I imagine she will die trying. I really enjoyed the one movie with Kathleen Turner and wished ther ...more
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Oct 13, 2015 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I am so excited to find that there have been several new Warshawski novels. I read the first several, and then I thought she wasn't writing them any more. They are maybe my favorite mystery series (featuring a female detective, of course)! It is probably because of the heroine, who is brave and stubborn and smart.

This complicated plot gives the author a chance to expose the corruption and violence in the for-profit prison system. I don't know how realistic it is, but I suspect that we need to fi
Aug 23, 2012 JBradford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My love of Sarah Paretsky’s ability continues. I was so impressed by the last one I read, last week, that I went to the library with the intention of reading her V.I. Warshawski novels in sequence, despite my claim last week that this was not necessary because she handled the past events so much better than most other authors, but I found it is not easy to do. I looked through the list of books on the publisher’s pager at the front and picked out this one as the first of the list … but found it ...more
Rugg Ruggedo
Aug 21, 2013 Rugg Ruggedo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cult of celebrity has arrived in Chicago and V.I.'s long time opponent/buddy Murray Ryerson is trying to re-work his newspaper career to ride that wave. Warshawski is invited to the premiere of this career change and,of course, witnesses some things that starts her thinking. Then leaving that party she almost runs into a body,literally. The police are quick to judge the car accident and evidence seems to disappear every time a certain detective is around it. Every time Vic sidesteps one char ...more
May 21, 2015 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in 2000 after purchasing it in Chicago while I was holiday there from Australia. I have recently re-read the book and it is great. Paretsky's ability to move through a story with a complex web of characters while still covering important social issues confronting us in today's western world is outstanding.

Fifteen years later, the book is still an awesome read while also maintaining pace, interest and great writing.
Mar 11, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful addition to the V.I. Warshawski series, this book examines the intersection of politics, journalism, media, and business intertwined with an intriguing mystery. At times, Warshawski can be a righteous, pain-in-the-woohoo forever tilting at windmills. However, this book was so engaging that I had to skip to the end to see how it ended, so I could leave to go to work.
Feb 26, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[library audiobook, plot summary elsewhere]

Maybe a weak 5, but still. The web of the prison industrial complex with Chicago elite, and corrupt local law enforcement is a plus for this Warshawski series; the density and malevolence is a bit over the top, which would weaken the rating but not enough to take the 5th star.

Any Paretsky is worth the read.
Kathryn Flatt
Aug 17, 2011 Kathryn Flatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
V.I. is really up against it when she goes undercover in a women's prison. While I enjoy the series, I am frequently amazed at how one human body can take so much punishment and still function, much less how the owner of that body can continually get up and ask for more. That being said, this was very suspenseful even though when reading a first-person point of view novel, you're pretty well assured that the narrator/protagonist is going to make it to the end.

On a personal note (no, I've never
Jeannine Stewart
It's been quite some time since I read a book in the V.I. Warshawski series and I do still like the character. This book was a 4-star read in the beginning and in the end, but the plot was a little muddy and sluggish in the middle. I came close to putting it down about halfway through.
# 7: Hard Time by Sara Paretsky:

'Darling Murray, when I'm in a catfight you see the gashes a jaguar leaves. But it's hard for even a jungle cat to do much against a shark. Are you her partner or her patsy?'

Synopsis: VI Warshawski finds a dead woman in the road and takes on a shit-ton of Chicago's elite to uncover a conspiracy and champion the underdog.

You know what? I disliked this book enough that I'm not even bothering to review it. I made it through 200 pages of decent if bracing crime fictio
Dec 22, 2009 Joni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
#9 Multimedia conglomerate Global Entertainment has purchased the Chicago Herald-Star, forcing the paper's staff to scramble to stay employed. Reporter Murray Ryerson, V I's longtime friend and sometime rival, manages to reinvent himself as the host of a television show on Global's network. On her way home from a party celebrating Murray's debut, V I almost runs over a woman lying in the street. Stopping to help, V I soon learns that her Good Samaritan act will drop her squarely in a boiling int ...more
Pam Bales
Jan 22, 2016 Pam Bales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
V I Warshawski was one of the first female private investigators. Her stories are set in Chicago. The books are filled with good, strong characters, and engaging plots. This is number 9 in the series.
Mary Baker
This is another action-packed book by Sara Peretsky which I enjoyed. My primary purpose for reading is entertainment and escape, and Mrs. Peretsky writes books that provide me with hours of enjoyment.
Katherine Clark
Apr 28, 2012 Katherine Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will be my second time reading it. This is a tough book to read. Her depiction of jail...well, it has been on my mind since reading this that I need to do some volunteering or teaching for pay at a jail. I made some little attempts at doing so, but it never went anywhere. It will be interesting to see what happens with this reading...

I really would have marked this 4 1/2, but what an amazing book. Her description of women in jail is so powerful. I love Paretski. These books are hard to read
Dec 14, 2014 Arlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all her books, but have to force myself to finish them. They are kind of dark and self-punishing. She is a good writer, but I am just not drawn to her style and opinions, I guess.
Mar 02, 2013 Sherrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Almost 20 years without a V.I. Warshawski novel--I didn't know that til I read the book flap. I realized how much I'd missed her when I started to read this book. One of Paretsky's best, and certainly one of her darkest. V.I's strong points---and her weaknesses---have never been more obvious than in this book, and it makes for excellent and suspenseful reading. Many descriptions, such as the ones of her prison stay while trying to learn the truth about the death of a young prisoner who alle ...more
Rog Harrison
Feb 15, 2015 Rog Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I have read this book. (First time 20 May 2000) This is an exciting read. I am not entirely sure that the plot makes perfect sense but my advice is not to ask too many questions but just to go with the flow. There are a few attempts to frame VI - firstly for drunken driving then drug dealing and finally she does end up in jail on remand. However VI is so tough she uses her experiences to find out what is really going on and after coming as close to death as she ever has s ...more
Martha Miller
Jul 20, 2015 Martha Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any hard boiled mystey reader.
While I like a lot of Sara P's work, this is my favorite. It's full of action, duplicity, romance and DOGS!

If you like traditional noir, you'll like this book.
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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)
  • Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski, #10)
  • Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski, #11)

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