Hardball : V. I. Warshawski

  • by Sara Paretsky
  • Narrated by Susan Ericksen
  • Series: V. I. Warshawski
  • 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Chicago's unique brand of ball is 16-inch slow pitch, played in leagues all over the city for more than a century. But in politics, in business, and in law enforcement, the game is hardball.

When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find Lamont Gadsden, a man who's been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city's racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets - her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her - rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance.

To complicate matters, Petra, a young cousin whom V.I. has never met, arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign. It does not take long for the high-spirited yet likable Petra to win over V.I.'s affections. When Petra goes missing after a break-in at the office, V.I. is determined to find her beloved cousin.

As the search to locate Petra becomes more desperate, V.I. is also having difficulties tracking down Lamont Gadsden. Unable to catch a break, she learns that a nun who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., has died before she can reveal crucial evidence. V.I. herself almost dies in a blazing fire, and new information has emerged about her father's role in a politically and racially charged trial almost 40 years ago. Afraid to discover that her adored father might have been a bent cop, V.I. takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Weak Start, Strong End

The first five hours of this audiobook find VI mawkishly wallowing in her memories. It's so boring I almost stopped listening. I'm glad I didn't. The book picks up steam in the sixth hour and Part Two speeds along in a satisfying manner. The ending was so good I even shed a tear, so I'm glad I persisted. But those five hours are just about half the book, and that's why, despite the stellar second part, I gave it three stars.

Perhaps more ardent fans of VI than I, won't find the first part as boring as I did.

The narrator is just OK. She uses the same voices for several characters, making it hard to understand who is saying what. Her voicing of Uncle Peter's temper tantrums grates on the ears.

I don't recommend this as a first read in the VI Warshawsky series.
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- Eva Gannon

So-so narrator and one AWFUL new character

I think there are two books here -- the one that includes Vic's obnoxious, terminally perky, lying cousin Petra, whom everyone else adores (shades of All About Eve?) and the blissful portions of the book when Petra has disappeared (we hope never to return). I found the first part of the book so tedious, and then when Petra disappeared and Vic actually got to do some great investigating, I remembered why I love this writer and this series. The narrator only accentuates the novel's flaws -- her Vic is either calm or shrilly furious, with no nuances. Petra is a whiny Valley Girl, her father roars all the time (that may be how the character is written, but it's like being screamed at) and Lottie -- who must be in her 70s or 80s and is European -- sounds as young as Vic with an American accent. Bizarre that the reader is quite good at other accents and characterizations but doesn't bother to bring Lottie to life and makes the main characters maddeningly two-dimensional.
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- Babs

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-22-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio