“Victoria, sweetie, you look terrific!”
With those words—and the sour yeasty smell of stale beer—Elena, V.I. Warshawski’s derelict aunt, re-enters her niece’s life at three in the morning. Burned out of her SRO hotel, Elena has turned to V.I. for a place to stay. V.I. vows that it will be a short visit and uses some old political contacts to find Elena a room.
When V.I. is hired to investigate the fire at the hotel, her aunt disappears, and her aunt’s young friend is found dead at a construction site. V.I. is warned off the case by both a high-ranking police officer and a major Chicago developer—who also happens to be a close friend of the chairman of the Cook County Board. After three terrifying attempts on her life, V.I. doesn’t know whether it’s the politicians, the police, or the developers who are after her.
As this, her sixth investigation, takes her deep into the workings of both the construction business and Cook County politics, V.I. discovers a connection between the two that brings her to a confrontation where the line between friend and enemy is redrawn to frightening effect.
Reviews and Quotes
Burn Marks is the sixth in the Warshawski series and, like the earlier titles, it reflects an angry response to a real social problem, bearing evidence of extensive research and an even more extensive familiarity with Chicago from ritzy suburb to rat-infested South Side alleys.
The story is as active as any Marlowe ever encountered: sluggings, murders attempted, murders achieved, a very scary pursuit by night in a derelict building. Warshawski survives, narrowly, to tell the story in a sharp-tongued, sardonic first person. She’s entirely feminine but would fail most tests for gentility. She is also wonderful company and a rich discovery awaiting those who have yet to meet her.
— The Los Angeles Times Book Review
It’s nice to see that success agrees with some people. Sara Paretsky, in her sixth mystery featuring Chicago detective V.I. Warshawski, just keeps getting better. For some popular writers, success breeds complacency and sloppiness, but Ms. Paretsky continues to hone her writing and the characterization of her protagonist.
— Journal Constitution (Atlanta)
IN THE PRESS
"One gritty good read...V.I. is a worthy heir to Marlowe!" — Daily News (New York)