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Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski #10)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  2,579 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
The bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels have dazzled readers and earned the acclaim of critics everywhere. “V.I. Warshawski rules,” writes Newsweek, crowning her “the most engaging woman in detective fiction.” Of V.I.’s creator, the Chicago Tribune says “Sara Paretsky has no peer.”

Now Paretsky brings her incomparable storytelling brilliance to her most powerful Warshawski
Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published (first published September 4th 2001)
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Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Total Recall, the 10th book in the "VI Warshawski" mystery series, written in 2001 by Sara Paretsky. In this book, Paretsky tackles a prominent social issue surrounding the impact of the Nazis and the Holocaust, the war in Afghanistan and the best way to help a friend through what may seem to be a simple problem (but never is!). I always enjoy her books as it's not just a mystery about made-up characters whom you really enjoy; it's also a commentary on what's
Oct 20, 2016 Phrynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy this series but this particular book was even better than usual. The author does have a formula for her stories which I am quite okay with, but in this one she breaks away from it and writes some of her chapters from a different POV, that of Vic's long term friend Lotty Herschel. Lotty has a very interesting back story as a Jewish child who was evacuated to England during the Holocaust and we learn lots about her and world events at that time.
The rest of the book ran true to form
May 30, 2017 Obsidian rated it really liked it
I was not able to get book #9 (still on hold) but snatched up book #10 when I saw it was available via Overdrive. So I am missing one whole book and some things are mentioned here and there that of course I assume get brought up in the last book.

"Total Recall" was interesting. We get two POVs in this one. VI and her friend and mother figure Lotty. I wish that we had gotten more of Lotty's POV in this one. It seems to come in random places here and there. And I have to say that I honestly wish th
Larry Bassett
May 02, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Sara Paretsky’s writing comes into the twenty-first century with Total Recall published in 2001. Her protagonist, V.I. Warshawski, is now forty years old. Is she getting too old for her usual rough and tumble existence as a private investigator? Murray, a regular character in the series, says, “You’re getting too old for these tall buildings, Warshawski.” At theend of the book it is Murray who leaves you wondering, Where is this going? Will she survive her usual one or two calamities per book to ...more
Jenny Hilborne
Jun 11, 2013 Jenny Hilborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Total Recall is set in Chicago and is quite a complex read. The story covers three separate plots that may or may not be connected. The main mystery is centered around an insurance scam, with protestors demanding the recovery of Holocaust assets. PI Warshawski soon finds herself in the middle of another issue concerning the identity of troubled holocaust victim looking for his family. For some unknown reason, this has a devastating affect on Warshawski's friend, Lotty Herschel. As Warshawski bou ...more
Mar 05, 2012 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I love Chicago. I particularly love novels and movies set in Chicago (even when they are supposed to be Gotham City as opposed to Chicago—grin). If the novel happens to be a reasonably solid mystery or thriller set in Chicago and using real locations, I like it even more. So, don’t expect me to be objective about those mysteries which involve Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski. She lives near Lakeshore Drive and has a significant other in Evanston. Sometimes, she rides the same purple line express to ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Nicola
If Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels are the half hour prime-time comedies of women private investigators, then Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels are the 10:00pm slot hour-long dramas. These books aren't light, but wow are they mysteries worth sinking your teeth into.

The context of this mystery is a man with supposedly-recovered memories of surviving the Holocaust, his life at the hands of his abusive father, and a group of V.I.'s friends who are Jewish survivors of pre-war Eastern Europe
Jul 13, 2009 JBradford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of the V.I. Warshawski series for a long time, and this may well be the best one yet, pitting Vic in an extraordinarily complicated plot involving two completely different subplots that turn out in the end to be not at all separated. I started off years ago not at all liking first-person narratives, but I have come to appreciate them more during the course of my life, and I think Paretsky does a great job of it. I am intrigued by the sparseness of the dialog; Paretsky can go fo ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
The tenth V.I. Warshawski novel suffers from being a proto-literary/mystery, in my opinion. Some chapters struck me as very worthy of the designation 'literary', while others were solidly in Warshawski's typical voice and Chicago blue-collar world. Fortunately, it escapes the 'teaching moment' trap many long time writers fall into as they mature as people (some of James Michener's later novels, for instance), but just barely. The subject of damaged people still suffering from the psychic horrors ...more
Mary JL
Apr 15, 2009 Mary JL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any mystery fan
Recommended to Mary JL by: I am Familiar with this series
Shelves: mystery-horror
This is the tenth in Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series. As the review above note, it involves the Holocuast--and involves V. I.'s close freind and mentor, Dr. Lottie Herschel.

The story is up to Paretsky's usual high standards, as V. I. tries to discover the truth, based on memories of so long ago. But an extra addition to this novel, is that six chapters are told from Lottie Herschel's point of view. Normally, V. I. is always the narrator; the switch in point of view is unusal and well done. Lo
Jan C
Jan 04, 2009 Jan C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, chi, 2011
I think I wanted to know more about the Lottie story than the insurance scam.

And Durham lives up to the image of a Chicago politician (view spoiler).

And Max lives in Evanston (my town).

Paretsky always gets Chicago right. She's been here long enough to do that.

It was good. I finished it after midnight.

Multiple plot lines.

An insurance company selling burial plots to poor Jews in Vienna in the '20s and '30s. And all those years later doing t
Dec 18, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a good one, V.I. Warshawski is asked to look into the case of missing insurance payout that interrupts the burial of her clients husband. It seems that the Ins. Co. claims that the payout occurred some years ago and refuses to investigate. Along with this is the memories of V.I.'s friend Lotty of her early days being shipped to England as a 9yr old to escape the Nazi's. When a young man appears to believe that people in Lotty's group of Jewish friends are his relatives after h ...more
Kelly Hager
Nov 11, 2015 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series to a ridiculous degree and the books that center around Lotty are probably among my most favorites.
May 16, 2017 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 10th in the V. I. Warshawski series, and my favorite so far. This one involves insurance fraud, and lends a sympathetic voice to the issues of requiring reparations by insurance companies that profited from victims of the Holocaust as well as reparations to African Americans for our shameful history of slavery. V. I. gets mired in the case of a black family that has been denied payment of a burial policy because someone had already cashed in the policy a decade before. In the mean ti ...more
Donna Siebold
This book had a bit of a different focus from a traditional V.I. novel. This one revolves more around Lotty and Michael's experiences as children. In fact, we learn much about Lotty's earlier life. The main mystery in this novel focuses on reparations to Holocaust victims, but it hinges on an insurance claim by an older black woman upon the death of her husband.

In researching that case V.I. uncovers the shame of the insurance companies treatment of Holocaust victims - and the survivors - and we
Bronwyn Echols
May 14, 2017 Bronwyn Echols rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second time reading, still think that it's one of her best.
Lynn Hutchinson
Jun 17, 2017 Lynn Hutchinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a slowish start but great once it got going.
Kirsty Darbyshire

Paretsky is one of my very favourite authors so nothing I say about her books is likely to be particularly objective. Six years ago I picked up a copy of Burn Marks in the library and it changed me from being an occassional mystery reader to a fully fledged addict who only occassionally reads other genres. Strangely enough the first Paretsky I read wasn't a mystery at all but a short story called A Taste of Life which was published as one of the mini 60p books brought out to celebrate Penguin's

Leslie Pringle wrrldgrrl
I am not usually a reader of the mystery genre but as I am participating in the 2015 Reading Challenge, in part to try books I wouldn't have come across otherwise, I am glad I choose this one.
As I was going to be doing some driving I got the audio-book version of this and two others by Sara Paretsky in a boxed set.
The beginning of the story I had to take on faith as it was quite convoluted with a variety of characters and story lines. It didn't take long to start tying them together thank goodn
Joyce Lagow
10th in the V.I. Warshawski series, set in contemporary Chicago.

Paretsky always sets her plots around at least one and usually more social issues, weaving them together in an intricate way so that the issues all bear on one another and the plot as well. Total Recall is one of her best in this respect.

Max Loewenthal, the director of Beth Israel Hospital where V>I>’s other close friend, Lotty Herschel works as a surgeon, has a greed to participate in a seminar about recovery of Jewish assets
Apr 23, 2010 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Sara Paretsky never shies away from burning social issues, and in Total Recall, she takes on insurance fraud and cultural guilt surrounding holocaust and slavery victims. VI takes on the largest insurance company in the state of Illinois, when a bereaved family asks her to find out how their deceased relative’s life policy could have been paid off before his death, as the company claims. Along the way, she becomes entangled in a political firestorm. As is typical in these novels, part of VI’s pe ...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
Feb 11, 2017 Courtenay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insurance fraud & Holocaust victims searching for survivors that may or may not exist are the two major plots that entwine during this latest V. I. Warshawski novel. It's also got her love story and the Cubs losing and more background on V. I.'s best friend Lotty. If you want to learn more about her, & V. I.'s love life, as well as the intrigue of the insurance industry & repressed memories released under hypnosis, you should enjoy your time reading this book. But if you are not a V. ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of mysteries with a female detective

Once again Paretsky tackles an entirely different issue in one of her most intense novels so far. Lotty Herschel, V I Warshawski's beloved friend and mother substitute, has always been a prickly, complex character in the series. Now in Total Recall, we finally learn why.

As usual, financial crimes are mixed into the story, as well as racial tension and political misbehavior. Though there is a certain amount of violence, the danger to V I this time is more emotional than physical. When a young m
Rog Harrison
Dec 13, 2013 Rog Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I have read this. This is a change of pace for this series as VI does not get attacked, left for dead or any of the dreadful things which happen to her in the earlier books. OK she does have a violent confrontation with the bad guys right at the end of the book but I suppose that's inevitable. Despite the lack of personal action this is a compelling read. Paul Radbuka is a particularly creepy character and there is the mystery of why Lotty is behaving so oddly. The author ...more
Jun 02, 2009 Rhonda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dolly Dickinson
Shelves: read-2009
In this 11th VI Warsahwski book, Vic investigates a life insurance claim that was paid out prematurely before a man's death. When he dies, it leaves a mystery as to why the claim was paid out and where the money went. The insurance company has other bigger problems when different groups try to get reparations for people insured during the Holocaust and American slavery. When the issues begin to involve her friend Lotty Herschel, the cases merge as one and a man claiming to be related to a myster ...more
Feb 07, 2017 Lesly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2011 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been revisiting some Jane Austen favorites so won’t review them, but will do the book ‘read’ on my commute, Total Recall by Sara Paretsky. Although I am not very familiar with Chicago, this was a fun read since it takes place in that city—so names of streets and suburbs were recognizable. The writing was clear if a bit wordy sometimes (never realized how much I ‘skim’ in fiction—but the elaborate details of the heroine’s dreams would be one thing I would speed read if physically reading the book ...more
Amber Berry
Mar 24, 2012 Amber Berry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have read several of these mysteries, but didn't always enjoy them. I think this was the most recent one I read and the one I liked most. ~ V.I Warshawski is sometimes annoying. I prefer the female detective in Marcia Muller's books, set in San Francisco. ~ Although I grew up in a small town not that far from Chicago, somehow I'm a west-coaster and novels set in the western cities resonate more with me. That being said, it appears that setting is a strong component in whether a novel appeals t ...more
Rugg Ruggedo
Aug 02, 2014 Rugg Ruggedo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just about as dense a story as Paretsky gets. One story layered over another, twisting around each other until they meet at the place that sheds a light on the connection. V.I. ends up in her mess of politics and race that are by now her trademarks, and Ms Paretsky doesnt cheat her readers. She lays it all out and as you race thru the tale you try to keep up and get there before our heroine. I think with this one there is just too much going. Too many loose ends to tie up. You may figure out one ...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 18 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)
  • Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski, #11)

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