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*Starred Review* As in previous V. I. Warshawski mysteries, Paretsky works elements of Chicago history into the story, this time referencing the city as a nexus for atomic research and linking the science to the work conducted in Austria during the Nazi occupation. When Judy, the drug-addicted daughter of Kitty Binder, a Holocaust survivor whom Lotty Herschel knew in wartime Vienna, calls Lotty for help and then disappears, Lotty turns to Vic. The investigation leads to a burned-out crack house and the mutilated body of a dead man but not to Judy. Kitty, a bitter, uncooperative, seemingly paranoid crank, seems uninterested in finding her estranged daughter, but she hires Vic to locate her grandson, giving Vic two missing-persons cases in the same family. Twentysomething Martin, whom Kitty raised, has vanished without a trace, and Vic and his grandmother are apparently not the only ones who want to find him. Martin's boss is afraid that the young man, a physics genius, has absconded with sensitive company information, and he isn't too forthright about what will happen if he finds Martin first. It's clear V. I. has several puzzles to solve, and, as usual, she becomes the proverbial stick in the hornet's nest, putting herself at risk as she follows a twisted trail of ruined lives rooted in the international race to develop an atomic weapon. Vic is at her stubborn, reckless, compassionate best in this complicated page-turner about selfish secrets passed down through generations. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Paretsky has been on a roll lately, her long-running, trailblazing series at its most dynamic since the early days.--Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Paretsky's latest V.I. Warshawski novel (after Breakdown) has her famed private investigator investigating the science behind the atomic bomb. Answering a distress call, V.I. finds a horrific crime scene but little evidence of the woman she seeks. The investigation quickly snowballs as she learns about the connection of the missing woman's family to her friend Lotty Herschel. As a child, Lotty escaped Nazi Austria on the Kindertransport with her friend Kitty Binder; now Kitty's daughter, Judy, and Judy's estranged son have disappeared. V.I. uncovers connections among computer design, physics research, and family secrets that lead to dangerous encounters and the reasons behind their disappearances. She finds decades-old truths hidden in the name of pride, vanity, and capitalism. As usual, V.I.'s quest is fraught with plenty of danger and white-knuckle moments. VERDICT Paretsky's crime novel turns quickly from a simple missing-persons case into one involving national security, intellectual-property patent law, corrupt local officials, drug lords, and wartime family secrets. It is as much a breathless mystery as a historical delving into science and wartime academic politics. An intellectual mystery that will please the author's many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 4/29/13.]-Julie Kane, Sweet Briar College Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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V.I. Warshawski helps out her closest friend, Vienna-born Dr. Lotty Herschel, when an unwelcome figure from Lotty's past resurfaces in MWA Grand Master Paretsky's stellar 17th novel featuring the Chicago PI (after 2012's Breakdown). Lotty and another Viennese girl, Kitty Binder, were sent to London in 1939 on the Kindertransport. After the war, Lotty settled in Chicago, while Kitty arrived in the area some years later. Lotty gets in touch with V.I. after Kitty's drug-addicted daughter, Judy, leaves a message claiming that she and her college-age son, Martin, whom she had left in Kitty's care, are in danger. Judy then vanishes. V.I.'s investigation takes her from the high-tech world of computer engineering to a literally stinking meth pit in a farm town outside Chicago, on the hunt for the now-missing Judy and Martin. V.I. also unearths WWII secrets related to the race to build an atomic bomb. Paretsky builds the suspense by deftly weaving the contemporary narrative with flashbacks to Lotty's Austrian childhood. Author tour. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Agency. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.