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(V.I. Warshawski #13)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,547 ratings  ·  429 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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3.98  · 
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 ·  4,547 ratings  ·  429 reviews

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Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Review
4 of 5 stars to Hardball, the 13th book in the mystery thriller series by author Sara Paretsky, written in 2009. At 450 pages, it's one of the longest, if not the longest, books in the "VI Warshawski" Chicago-based series about a female private investigator in the 1980s and 1990s. In this book, family is abundant. VI's late father pops up in her investigation, potentially revealing he had some dirty dealings. It seems too hard to be true, but sometimes people are pushed to the lim
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
Number 13 in this series and I am still enjoying them!
As we get further into the series the books definitely get longer and this is not a bad thing since Paretsky writes such a great story. Once or twice however things became so convoluted my brain was spinning trying to sort out who did what to who. So I just gave up trying and went with the flow. Some times enjoying a book is more important than understanding every detail of it!
Vic is still herself, often angry, unforgiving and always happier
This was a frustrating read to me. And honestly this and the next few books in the series started a slow slide of quality IMHO with this series. "Hardball" is way too unbelievable to be believed. And I really hated the introduction of VI's cousin Petra (called Petey) that everyone including Mr. Contreras is infatuated with. I had a hard time that VI's dogs would not have been impounded at this point with her dragging them along when she's investigating and or when people come to her apartment to ...more
Larry Bassett
Jan 16, 2012 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
James Thane
Mar 24, 2010 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
Jun 29, 2015 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
Sep 29, 2009 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.
Steven Peterson
Oct 25, 2009 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
Sep 24, 2009 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
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good mystery, Chicago, Private Eyes.
Recommended to Richard by: I read all of Ms. Paretsky's work.
Sara Paretsky is back with another blockbuster, and Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski, Chicago's favorite PI is at the top of her game. With 15 prior novels, 12 of them about V.I., Sara has kind of been wandering in the wilderness lately. She nails it with this one. It is one of the best I've read.

We learn more about V.I.'s parents in this story: her mother, the Italian immigrant opera singer who gave up so much for her husband and daughter and her father, the upright Chicago cop.

With the story begi
Bonnie Wilson
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I recall reading a few of the Warshawski novels many years ago and liking them well enough, but for whatever reason not reading on. I picked this up out of desperation, having abandoned a number of clunkers, and was well-rewarded. This is a very good story, and it is very well told. It has depth, and tension, and the pacing is excellent. Being rooted in the systemic corruption, endemic racism, and vicious brutality of the 1960's Chicago police and justice system gives it a timely relevance despi ...more
Oct 06, 2009 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
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This novel has a contemporary setting with flashbacks to Chicago during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. V.I. is hired to find what happened long ago to Lamont Gadsden by his elderly ailing aunt. He was around with a Chicago gang in the 60s. Meanwhile, Vic's cousin Petra comes to town to intern with a rising politician. And then Petra goes missing as well. So our fearless hot tempered detective has to find out what happened to her as well, and it turns out to be complicated and intertwine ...more
Stewart Sternberg
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful protagonist and a strong writer who doesn't mail it in just because she has a successful franchise.

Her secret? She gives us deep characters. These people are breathing.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another audio book in the bag—this was a V. I. Warshafski (spelling) novel —and the longest one I’ve listened to yet. Very (way too?) complicated with too many bit characters and complications to the plot. Centered on an annoyingly spoiled niece, an unbelievable election campaign, and family drama, this book bordered on the tedious but managed to squeak by in the end due to my appreciation of strong female characters. Slowed me down in making my book read goal but overall, a fairly entertaining ...more
May 31, 2010 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
Sep 26, 2009 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)
Aug 20, 2009 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
Aug 18, 2009 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
Ryan Mishap
Oct 15, 2009 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, 2014 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
Jun 26, 2014 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 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
Nicky Reed
Jul 25, 2012 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'
Sep 11, 2009 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
Feb 11, 2013 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
Mar 16, 2014 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
Jennifer Estep
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Chicago private investigator V.I. Warshawski is back for another adventure in Hardball by Sara Paretsky. When Vic is hired to find out what happened to a man who disappeared 40 years ago, she stirs up all kinds of buried secrets about corrupt cops, race riots, and more -- and there are several people determined to keep Vic quiet no matter what.

I think Vic is a great character -- smart, sassy, and tough -- and I think Paretsky has a lot of interesting things to say about feminism, race relations,
Vi Elsey
Oct 22, 2009 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
Jan 28, 2014 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.

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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

Other books in the series

V.I. Warshawski (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Indemnity Only (V.I. Warshawski, #1)
  • Deadlock (V.I. Warshawski, #2)
  • Killing Orders
  • 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)