On Dead Land

So fierce, ambitious, and far-reaching that it makes most other mysteries seem like so many petit fours. — Kirkus

Best Thriller and Mystery Books of 2020 list — Washington Post

“Dead Land is the latest of Sara Paretsky’s swift and superb books starring V.I. Warshawski, her tough and deeply principled Chicago private eye. Always passionate about social issues, V.I. becomes enmeshed with a community action group. — Seattle Times

On Love & Other Crimes

Issued as a paperback original, Love & Other Crimes is a perfect match for summer’s relaxing moments, whether they are long ones on vacation or short breathers between home-based neverending gig economy labors. Each story brings a change of pace, a clever crime, and a burning sense of what human justice demands. Which, of course, is exactly what one would expect from a Grand Master of Mystery. — New York Journal of Books

The well-wrought plots and densely imagined worlds make this the most distinguished mystery collection so far this year. — Kirkus ( starred review)

On Shell Game

 “Clever and devilishly complicated”—The Oklahoman

Shell Game could hardly be more timely with its pointed riffs on #MeToo, the brutality of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the long reach of Russian oligarchs. At the same time, the novel is rooted in classic noir.”Chicago Tribune

“You always know upon seeing the name: Detective V.I. Warshawski that the book is going to be oh-so-good. The fabulous Paretsky has done a brilliant job with plot and character.”—Suspense Magazine

Sara Paretsky: By the Book, a NYT Interview

The New York Times’ By the Book columnist  interviewed Sara in 2014. To read the full interview, click here.

The author of the V. I. Warshawski novels, most recently “Critical Mass,” was hugely influenced by “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”: “I felt as though I’d fallen into words and wanted to drown in them.”

What books are currently on your night stand?

I’m trying hard to read Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” but keep returning to fiction. Right now: John Williams’s “Stoner,” Claude Izner’s “Strangled in Paris.”

Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today? 

I don’t have an all-time favorite. There are books I reread or wish I’d written. I love the Victorians: Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, in that order. I loved “Gilead” and “Wolf Hall,” which is a staggering achievement. I reread Barbara Pym and Jane Austen and my old detective favorites when I’m stressed out.


On Bleeding Kansas

Bestseller Paretsky, who has tackled weighty issues in her V.I. Warshawski detective series (e.g., the Holocaust in Total Recall), weaves a gripping contemporary novel around three farm families—the Grelliers, Fremantles and Schapens—that can trace their Kaw Valley, Kans., roots back to the 1850s, a time of violent clashes between antislavery and proslavery forces in “Bleeding Kansas.” Their shared history is no buffer against the storm of changes that begin with the arrival of Gina Haring, a lesbian Wiccan. Chip Grellier, after being expelled from high school, enlists in the army and is killed in Iraq with devastating effects on his family. The Schapens’ fundamentalist doctrines come to the fore when they discover “a perfect red heifer” in their dairy herd that may be a path to riches as well as to the second coming. Meanwhile, Gina stirs prejudices and passions to a fever pitch. Paretsky taps a different vein and strikes gold in this timely tale of fear and conflict in heartland America. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A Letter from Bill Clinton

Former President Clinton is a fan of Sara’s work. He even passes his copies of her books on to Hillary when he finishes reading them. Here’s his letter.

On Writing in the Age of Silence

From The Spectator, May 24, 2007: This first collection of Paretsky’s essays was short-listed for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle awards. In it, Paretsky weaves together public and private narratives to show how her own writing voice was shaped both by her upbringing and by the extraordinary social justice movements of the 1960s and ‘70s.

On Blacklist

The dependable delights of a Warshawski novel are also in abundant supply: witty dialogue, Warshawski’s “bad girl” behavior when confronted by authority, taut action scenes, sharp social commentary and the return visits of series regulars like Lotty Herschel and the always fretting Mr. Contreras. The real triumph of Blacklist, however, is the intelligence it brings to bear on the once again urgent issues of political dissent and national security: Whatever your views on those subjects, this is a provocative mystery that should prompt you to examine them more rigorously. — Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

On Fire Sale

Warshawski’s tense, sharp 11th shows that you really can go home. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Packed with social themes and moral energy, held together by humor, compassion and sheer feistiness, this novel shows why Paretsky and her heroine are such enduring figures in American detective fiction. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

On Total Recall

Dark, absorbing, probing Paretsky’s novel explores the complex web of degrees of guilt and complicity surrounding the fate of Holocaust victims and survivors, with Lotty’s story emerging with compelling, terrible clarity and inevitability._— Publishers Weekly

You can’t accuse Sara Paretsky of resting on her laurels. Total Recall is written with the stylistic verve and intellectual energy of a writer just coming into her own. — The New York Times