Caitlin's Reviews > Bleeding Kansas

Bleeding Kansas by Sara Paretsky
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's review
Aug 02, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 2009
Read in August, 2009

I'm a fan of Ms. Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski series & have considered reading this standalone a number of times since it came out. I've put it back on the shelves for a number of reasons, not least of them that I'm just not that into small-town family chronicles of this sort. I finally took it out because I figured I should give it a shot. Paretsky's a good writer & I'm always curious to see what writers of thrillers will do with a standalone novel.

This novel is well-written & well-plotted, but seems to lack focus in some fundamental way. I was never sure what Ms. Paretsky was trying to say & she certainly wasn't presenting a mere slice of life - to do that would have required more realism than is employed here. In many ways all of these characters are caricatures & for this novel with its lack of direction that's a problem.

Still, the plotting is good & some of the descriptive writing of the countryside is quite lovely. I enjoyed the few times she shared the diaries of the 1860's ancestor & found myself wishing she'd allowed us more time with those people than with their modern forbears. At the least she should have drawn parallels between then & now & that she didn't made the diary entries seem pretty superfluous.

All in all an average book with some above average moments.

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