A WINDING TRAIL OF CLUES….

In Sara Paretsky’s newest novel, she brings her private eye V. I. Warshawski back to her readers in an edgy mystery that seemingly centers around a Body Artist performing at a Chicago club called Club Goudge.

The artist is a mysterious woman whose true identity seems unknown; her body serves as a canvas on which others convey their own artistic renderings, including one that is made up of numbers only. One such artist is a young woman, Nadia, who is gunned down outside the club one night when V. I. is there. Chad Vishneski, a young vet is later arrested for the crime, primarily because of some angry outbursts he had directed at the artist. When his parents hire V. I. to find out what really happened that night, our detective pulls out all the stops.

Her investigation leads her on many winding trails, from Chicago’s South Side to Iraq and back again. In the process, she is stalked, beaten up, and others who happen to get caught up in the fray are also targeted.

What strange messages are being conveyed via the Body Artist, and what connection do they have to the events in Iraq? What really happened to Nadia Gauman, and to her sister Alexandra, who died in Iraq under mysterious circumstances? And why do all connections seem to begin and end with the strange Body Artist, Karen Buckley, whose name is really an alias? What are her secrets, and how does her mysterious disappearance tie in to all the events that keep happening?

As usual, the characters were richly detailed and believable, with all the quirks and flaws of real people. I love the way we can visualize the lives of the characters through the detailed context built around them. I’ve always admired the character V. I., because even when she might be afraid or worried, she pushes forward and doesn’t let anything or anyone stop her. She is fiercely loyal to her family and friends. Another character I love is her downstairs neighbor, Mr. Contreras, who is like a father figure. He tries to look out for V. I., despite her attempts to manage without his assistance.

Body Work (V.I. Warshawski Novel) earned five stars from me. I can’t wait for the next mystery for V. I. Warshawski to solve!

A DARK AND TWISTED TALE

When a loyal husband and father searches through his wife’s personal computer files and papers, he is trying to find evidence of her innocence in the case against her. A case that has resulted in her conviction for the murder of her alleged serial-killer patient and his wife.

So what is the story of Dr. Susie Harriot, and will Lachlan Harriot find what he needs for her appeal?

Sorting through the morass of these files, however, will lead Lachlan to unexpected secrets, twisted truths, and will finally convince him that he did not know his wife at all.

Throughout this story, I found that the best part was not knowing who to believe and untangling the many-faceted aspects of the case.

An intense psychological thriller, Deception : A Novel kept me tuned in until the surprising end, which is why I gave it five stars.

THE RIPPLING EFFECT OF FAMILY SECRETS — “The Genius”

When Ethan Muller, a struggling art dealer, stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a slum building vacated abruptly by an elderly tenant, he almost cannot believe his good luck. The treasure trove of stunning art work is sure to put Ethan in the forefront of the art scene.

But what does anyone know about Victor Cracke, except that he came and went in solitude for nearly forty years, his genius hidden and unacknowledged.

Soon Ethan is caught up in the middle of a mystery, aided by a retired police detective, yet before he can make any significant progress at all, the ailing man who was helping him dies. His daughter picks up the search, with Ethan, but their quest for the whereabouts and history of Cracke and the mysterious life he led, take them into some very strange places.

Meanwhile, the author presents an “interlude” of stories set from the eighteen-hundreds onward, as he weaves in a mysterious subplot about the Muller family that gradually becomes more and more relevant as the secrets are unveiled.

Throughout this tale, too, we are gifted with glimpses of the cutthroat art scene and how the players twist and turn, from clamoring for the work of the hungry artists to lambasting them when the tides turn.

The Genius kept me guessing all the way through until, finally, we have that “a-ha!” moment when everything starts to make sense.

I am giving this book five stars for the clever plot, the intriguing presentation, and this author’s unique voice.

ADRENALINE-PACKED RACE — A Review of “Run for Your Life”

When Michael Bennett, NYPD Detective and single father, takes on the task of hunting down a calculating murderer who calls himself The Teacher, he enters a speed-charged, adrenaline-packed race to save the lives of potential victims through the city.

What does The Teacher want? Why is he picking off powerful and arrogant people throughout the city?

Meanwhile, Mike’s kids are falling victim, one by one, to a virulent flu strain, making his days and nights some of the most challenging of his life.

Rushing through the pages, wondering about the identity and motivations of this sadistic killer, I could not stop moving forward until, finally, the answers began unfolding.

James Patterson’s Run for Your Life, co-authored by Michael Ledwidge, culminates with a spell-binding conclusion.

Now I feel exhausted, as if I, too, was chasing the killer. I think that is what makes Patterson’s stories so completely engaging—he brings the reader right into the action with him.

This novel did not hold the same thrill for me as the Women’s Murder Club or the Alex Cross books, but it did earn four stars from me.