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Breakdown

Breakdown

Written by Sara Paretsky

Narrated by Susan Ericksen


Breakdown

Written by Sara Paretsky

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

ratings:
4/5 (34 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Released:
Jan 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781455823758
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is a shape-shifting raven whose fictional exploits thrill girls all over the world. When tweens in Chicago's Carmilla Club hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse, a man stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying.

The girls include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families: the grandfather of one, Chaim Salanter, is among the world's wealthiest men; the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is running for the United States Senate.

For V. I. Warshawski, the questions multiply faster than the answers. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Sophy Durango? Or to Chaim Salanter's childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? As V.I. struggles to answer these questions, she finds herself fighting enemies who are no less terrifying for being all too human.
Released:
Jan 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781455823758
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Hailed by P. D. James as “the most remarkable” of modern crime writers, Sara Paretsky is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-two novels, including the renowned V.I. Warshawski series. She is one of only four living writers to have received both the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. She lives in Chicago.


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What people think about Breakdown

4.0
34 ratings / 35 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    An exciting story that fits the American Midturn election. Two candidates fight with different machinations for the election. While some use the media to defile the other party, the patriarch of the other party tries to protect the family. It turns out that everyone has something to hide from their past. V. I. Warshawski has her hands full discovering the ghosts of the past.
  • (3/5)
    V.I.'s cousin Petra is working with teen girls, and runs a book group about a shapeshifter. When some of the girls break curfew and go to a cemetery for a midnight ritual, V.I. is sent to find them, and finds herself embroiled in a series of events that kills several people.
  • (4/5)
    Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is a shape-shifting raven whose fictional exploits thrill girls all over the world. When tweens in Chicago's Carmilla Club hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery, they stumble on an actual corpse, a man stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying. The girls include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families: the grandfather of one, Chaim Salanter, is among the world's wealthiest men; the mother of another, Sophy Durango, is running for the United States Senate.
  • (3/5)
    I am at a disadvantage as this is the first VI Warshawski novel I have read. It was hard for me to follow along at points and I felt out of the loop in areas. Overall for me the book was an okay read. I had difficulties getting into and reading this book, probably because of my disadvantage of not reading the first 14 novels.
  • (2/5)
    This installment in the V.I Warshawski series is far from Paretsky's best effort. The plot is full of holes and many, many unlikely happenings. The characters are mostly caricatures and the political ranting is annoying and not relevant to the story. Diehard fans of the Warshawski series will find reasons to finish the book (as I did), but others are advised to skip Break Down and wait for the next installment. Readers who are new to the V.I. Warshawski series should start with one of Paretsky's earlier efforts.
  • (4/5)
    WOW - Surprise ending! At first I didn't love this book because Wade Lawlor's character was so repulsive but I stuck with it and I'm glad I did!
  • (3/5)
    I've followed Sara Paretsky since V.I.'s debut; it is one of my favorite series in the genre. I do have to say, though, that this was not the strongest entry in the series. It isn't that I think she's wrong about the nastiness and sensationalism of political discourse (and much as it pains me, liberal commentators and entertainers seem as guilty as conservatives in this regard). It's just that this was fairly heavy-handed; a commentary without much nuance. Combine this with a painfully obvious mystery, and I ended up with a mystery that didn't have at all the usual suspense of a usual outing with V.I. Warshawski. Nor did I think the story did a good job of wrapping up all the loose ends or unifying the varous stories particularly well.

    Although this was something of a disappointment it won't stop me from picking up the next in a generally entertaining series.
  • (2/5)
    Quite disappointing. Seemed formulaic and a bit incoherent. The ending was dire and pretty implausible.
  • (3/5)
    I am at a disadvantage as this is the first VI Warshawski novel I have read. It was hard for me to follow along at points and I felt out of the loop in areas. Overall for me the book was an okay read. I had difficulties getting into and reading this book, probably because of my disadvantage of not reading the first 14 novels.
  • (4/5)
    One of Paretsky's best. Before I read her most recent book, Critical Mass, several weeks ago, I had forgotten why I like her writing so much. She's a skilled technician—not appreciated enough today—but what makes her books so appealing to me is that every one is different, and the recurring characters grow and change.
  • (5/5)
    My first Paretsky, and my first Warshawski. Yes, I'm a bit behind. Great read, couldn't put it down. Lots of characters woven throughout. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who can V.I. (or Vic as her friends call her) trust? Who killed the man whose body was found in the cemetery? What do the various political candidates have to do with it? What does Vic's old friend Leydon have to do with it? Did she fall, or was she pushed?
  • (4/5)
    V.I Warshawski is called in to a case by her niece, Petra, when a group of girls holding an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery stumble on a corpse stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying. Investigating the murder brings V.I. into contact with some of Chicago's most powerful families. Is the killing linked to a hostile media campaign against Sophy Durango, a US Senate candidate? Or to Chaim Salanter's childhood in Nazi-occupied Lithuania? Racism, bigotry, and politics take the forefront as V. I. struggles to solve the crimes. The book took awhile to get started, and V.I. gets into a lot more physical conflict that a 50-year-old should, but it's never boring. Her supporting cast of characters appears as well, which brings in humor and humanity.
  • (3/5)
    Although well written as always, this book is my least favorite of the VI saga. Too much preachiness against the right for me.
  • (4/5)
    I've read most if not all of Paretsky's books, and Breakdown is a reasonably good installment in the V.I. Warshawski series. The plot was interesting, but I did feel it was a little lacking in character development. It could be because I'm getting older, but I found it hard to remember all the characters and their relationships (which daughter was part of which famous family). Overall, a pleasant read but probably not one I would read a second time.
  • (4/5)
    I suppose I'm at a disadvantage for not having read any of Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels previously. There were a few instances where I felt a little out of the loop for not knowing any background information, but for the most part, I could follow the storyline without too much difficulty. V.I. ("Vic") is a tough female private investigator, sometimes trying to be tougher than she probably actually is. But not bad for an around-50ish P.I. I thought some of the transitions in this book were a little choppy, but overall I really liked the mystery of the whole thing and I was kept guessing until almost the end. I also loved the Chicago setting. It's fun to read about locations you can relate to.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this newest book in Sara Paretesky's VI Warshawski series. It is always fun to catch up with VI and her friends and family; however, in this case, I thought the mystery dragged a little. Also, while I appreciate that VI ages from book to book, she still has miraculous healing powers to rapidly combat whatever her enemies throw her way. Overall, this was fun to read to keep up with the series, but I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed it if this was the first VI Warshawski book I'd ever read.
  • (5/5)
    One of the things I admire most about Sara Paretsky is her ability to fully embrace the moment and the choices she's made. Like her character, V.I. Warshawski, she is smart, self-aware, passionate, and funny.This is another series that I've been reading for a very long time. V.I. is great character and Paretsky has done a wonderful job of placing the books in the series close enough in time that Warshawski doesn't age out too soon, but far enough that she does age and we get to go there along with her as priorities shift, stories change, choices become different, and her love for her friends and neighbors remain a constant.Breakdown is the latest in the series and covers a murdered body in a mausoleum near where some high school girls are playing shapeshifter. This would normally be an interesting occurence (I know I'd follow the story on CNN), but it's made more interesting because two of the girls come from very prominent, wealthy, and powerful families.There are multiple subplots all swirling around each other, sometimes touching, sometimes not - interrelated, but not necessarily central to the fact of the dead guy with rebar through his chest. Paretsky handles all of this skillfully and I could not put this book down - and I do mean that. I read this everywhere and was fortunate enough to be about halfway through so I could finish it straight through on a Saturday. Yes, it was really entertaining.I love the way Ms. Paretsky has allowed V.I. to mature - she's not the V.I. she was at the start of the series - she's acquired a certain amount of grace, common sense, and even dignity - this is especially noticeable in this book - which may be one of the very best in the whole series. Must read.
  • (4/5)
    Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski series has been consistantly a great read. In earlier books, there was an awful amount of physical action on V.I.'s part, but as she gracefully ages, she has toned some of that down and it appears that she does a little more thinking before swingingAll the familiar background characters are here and the story this time involves multiple murders, mayhem, teens, vampires, and midnight cemetery visits. For Warshawski fans, this is a delicious read and a page turner full of fun.
  • (5/5)
    This wonderful long-running series has always been noted for Ms. Paretsky's tight plotting, wonderful characterizations and the tension that she can create throughout each and every book. This book has all these in spades. I couldn't put it down. I think what I like the most about V.I. is that fact that she is aging with each book, as are the rest of us. It gives her a vulnerability that is very appealing which hides underneath her tough exterior. This book starts out innocuously in an abandoned graveyard late at night where five or six tween girls are enacting a shape-shifing experiment in order to emulate their favourite fictional heroine. V.I. hears them and goes to see what is going on and then the madness starts. She finds a dead body in the graveyard and this sets her on a very dangerous mission to find and catch a truly chilling killer who thinks nothing of eliminating all those who stand in his way, including V.I. herself. It's V.I. against the rest of the world through most of the book until the final few chapters where we see her extended family and friends coming to her aid. What a humdinger of a book! I highly recommend this entire series.
  • (5/5)
    A new VI Warshawksi novel is always a good thing. VI gets an emergency call from her cousin, Petra to help her and a group of friends who are in Mount Moriah cemetary to perform a ritual inspired by a currently popular YA novel. The kids think they have seen a vampire and there is a dead body with a stake through its chest. This case embroils VI into politics and a vitriolic sensationalist TV talk show host who reports "news" without checking to see the truthfulness. As long is it is controversial, anti-liberal and helps his conservative candidates, he keeps up the onslaught. Her best friend from law school, Leydon Ashford, tries to reach VI, but is injured before they can talk. Leydon spent time in a mental hospital. VI isn't sure, but thinks the attack on Leydon may be related to something that happend there. VI is now 50, has a steady list of clients and works primarily on white collar, fiscal related cases. Breakdown moved up on my list of favorite Paretsky novels. I took a little longer to read (and savor) it. There are many characters and threads throughout, but Paretsky weaves them all together with her usual skill.
  • (4/5)
    I have long been a fan of Sara Paretsky and I was very please to be selected to receive a early release of her new book, “Break-Down”, a V.I. Warshawski series book from Putnam Publishing. The setting for the story is Chicago. The time could be today. I enjoyed this book and Paretsky fans will be delighted with this next installment of our favorite P.I. As usual V.I. becomes involved in investigating a murder, but this time it is another PI, one without a sterling reputation. While searching a local abandoned cemetery for some teens who are involved in the exploration of a vampire life, she stumbles upon a man with a stake through his heart. It seems that this incident may be involved with another case she is investigating regarding a high profile rich man, politics and a large media company. Paretsky uses modern communication venues such as cellphones a social network sites in a way that makes this book seem very current. Her unrelenting searches for the truth and closure for those impacted by the crimes is part of the charm of her character. I find the characters fully developed, the plot tight and full of action and suspense, and as usual containing sub plots that come together to tell the full story. In out cultures today we deal with the issues of prejudice, litigation, politics and control of public discussions by media. This book has it all. Another great read by Paretsky. I look forward to the next book. I give it 4 stars.
  • (4/5)
    A fun book with all the usual Paretsky elements: an intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end, a cast of characters large enough to need a scorecard to keep straight, a gritty Chicago-area setting (local residents can actually visualize V.I.’s movements), and the stable of familiar regulars (Lotty and Max, Mr. Contreras, etc.). A solid and entertaining novel.
  • (4/5)
    V.I. has been around now for about 30 years. Though the technology in the book as kept pace with the years, V.I. has not aged as much. The book had lots of characters and seemingly random story lines that all come together in the final chapter, although I did figure it out about 1/3 of the way into the book. Still, it was fun to read.
  • (4/5)
    V.I. Warshawski is a PI in Chicago and as tough as the city. But this case involves her cousin and a group of young girls and VI is older and has mellowed some. This is a good mystery with many intertwined lines which were tied up in the end. The middle was a little slow, leading to an exciting finish.
  • (4/5)
    Sara Paretsky, V.I. Warshawski and I getting older. Paretsky continues to write about Chicago with a relish which enhances each book for the outsider(not from Chicago) because the city is as much a character in these tales as are V.I.'s friends-Lottie and Max, Mr. Contreas and more recently her niece Petra. Even the police are nicer. They are all involved once again as Vic has to unravel a convoluted, but intricate case involving youngsters and corporate blackguards and scoundrels. Bodies seem to accumulate after a group of tween age girls hold an unauthorized (unknown to parents) night time rite in honor of their favorite book characters. As always Vic pieces things back together with a heady mixture of bravado and swagger, though a bit less swagger than before. (See comment about age.) All the more realistic and pleasurable. Good to see old friends again.
  • (4/5)
    Always love reading Paretsky because growing up in Chicago I am able to picture all the places she talks about in her novels. She is great at giving detailed descriptions and her characters are always so well rounded and interesting. I love when she talks about Warshawsky and her mother, as well as her family background as she does in this novel. Seems like more of her political views made it into this one but it did not detract from the storyline. Her books are always very evenly paced and her warnings about the state of journalism and how the press will take a rumor and cause havoc with it seems very realistic. ARC provided by Library Thing.
  • (4/5)
    This is a review of an uncorrected manuscript won through a giveaway program. I felt some of the beginning and ending chapters were both very strong, with some of the middle chapters maybe needing a little more editing that would only help stengthen the story. All in all a very nice story and one that I enjoyed :) Thank you for having this in a giveaway again and giving me a chance to win and read this book! :)
  • (4/5)
    Another excellent addition to the V.I. Warshawski canon. This series started the same year I was born, but it still manages to seem fresh and up to date with each new book, and V.I. is still one of the best fictional detectives out there. In addition to the excellent mystery, full of plot twists and interesting clues, this book also addresses modern social issues around media, mental illness, and politics. If you like a little social commentary with your fiction you'll enjoy this book, if you prefer to keep your fiction in the realm of fantasy then this probably isn't the book for you.
  • (4/5)
    Picking up the latest Sara Paretsky book is like sitting down with an old friend to hear a new story. Paretsky penned her first book featuring private investigator V.I. Warshawski in 1982. Nearly thirty years later, the newly released Breakdown is the fifteenth book in this long running series.V.I. receives a frantic call from her cousin Petra late one night - a group of girls holding a initiation ceremony based on their favourite author's vampire books get more than they bargained for when they stumble across a corpse - staked through the heart. And these aren't just any teens - they're the offspring of some of Chicago's wealthiest and politically powerful families. Rescuing the girls makes V.I. late for a meeting with her old friend Leydon Ashford. By the time V.I. makes their meeting, it's too late - either troubled Leydon has jumped from a balcony or she was pushed. In a coma, she is unable to let anyone know what happened. As V.I. decides to investigate further into both of these seemingly disparate occurrences, she is warned off - by more than one party. Of course, that only fuels V.I.'s fire....What has made this such an enduring series? V.I. has aged and her life has progressed in real time. She was a character I liked from the first book and my opinion hasn't changed. She's true to her principles and beliefs, always with an eye towards justice. Now, that's not to say that she won't bend the rules just a bit to get the results she needs. And she's tough, having taken more than her fair share of hard knocks. But she gives as good as she gets. She says what she thinks, she's smart, loyal and someone you'd want on your side. "...sometimes you are so single-minded in your search for answers that you don't always think of the consequences."Paretsky's plotting is always good - the mysteries are intricate and not easily solved. It is the personal issues and plot lines that elevate this series beyond a simple whodunit. It almost feels like V.I. and her friends and family are real people. The writing and reading flow effortlessly.You can certainly read Breakdown without having read any of the others in this series, but I bet you'll be hunting down her backlist once you discover this fantastic female protagonist!
  • (3/5)
    I'd say that the latest installment in the V. I. Warshawski series is a pleasant-enough read: nothing earthshaking but something to pass a few hours on the weekend. It's not particularly hard to spot who the murderer is, though the motive for the crime took me by surprise, but half the fun of these series-reads is watching favorite characters. There's a bit of poignancy in that regard this time around, an old minor story line drawing to a conclusion. I enjoyed that fact that Paretsky is finally slowing Vic down a bit so that she seems a little more believable as a 50 year old. I find it interesting that the portrayal of the political extreme we find in this book would have seemed outrageously over the top when this series was started exactly 30 years ago. Now, it almost seems like something you'd read on your home page's news feed. The emphasis on it in this book was a little to heavy-handed; it made it hard to focus on the mystery.