BLACKLIST.

Paretsky, Sara.

ISBN 10: 0399150854 / ISBN 13: 9780399150852
Published by New York: Putnam, (2003.) dj, 2003
Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. A V. I. Warshawski novel, one which goes back to McCarthy-era blacklists and forward to some of the unfavorable aspects of the Patriot Act. SIGNED on the title page and dated in the year of publication. 415 pp. Fine in fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 41953

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Bibliographic Details

Title: BLACKLIST.

Publisher: New York: Putnam, (2003.) dj

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From one of the most distinguished writers in American crime fiction - her most brilliant and daring novel yet.

This is a story of secrets and betrayals that stretch across four generations-secrets political, social, sexual, financial: all of them with the power to kill. Eager for something physical to do in the spirit-exhausting wake of 9/11, V.I. accepts a request from an old client to check up on an empty family mansion; sub-sequently surprises an intruder in the dark; and, giving chase, topples into a pond. Grasping for something to hold on to, her fingers close around a lifeless human hand.

It is the body of a reporter who had been investigating events of forty-five years earlier, during the McCarthy era, and V.I.'s discovery quickly sucks her into the history of two great Chicago families-their fortunes intertwined by blood, sex, money, and the scandals that may or may not have resulted in murder all these years later. At the same time, she inadvertently becomes involved in the story of a missing Egyptian boy whose possible terrorist connections make him very much sought after by the government. As the two cases drive her forward-and then shockingly tumble together-she finds that wealth and privilege, too, bear a terrible price; and the past has no monopoly on patriotic scoundrels. Before everything is over, at least two more people will lie dead . . . and V.I. might even be one of them.

A novel as passionate, complex, and powerfully entertaining as its acclaimed heroine, Blacklist is a stunning achievement.

Review:

Privilege, politics, and perfidy jointly propel the circuitous plot of Blacklist, Sara Paretsky's 11th novel featuring tenacious Chicago private-eye V.I. Warshawski. By the time this story runs its course, V.I. will have harbored an alleged Arab terrorist, resurrected the ghosts of America's 1950s anti-Communist hysteria, and questioned the integrity of a man she once admired "to the point of hero worship." In other words, it's a typical case for this hard-headed, sarcastic, and perpetually sleep-deprived sleuth.

Still suffering from "exhaustion of the spirit" in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, V.I. is hired to find out who may be sneaking into a vacated suburban mansion. Geraldine Graham, the home's 91-year-old former owner, who still lives nearby, claims she's seen lights in the attic at night. Our heroine suspects this is simply a bid by the wealthy dowager for greater attention, but agrees to do some nocturnal prowling--only to stumble (literally) across the body of a dead black journalist, Marcus Whitby, in the estate’s ornamental pond and encounter a teenage girl fleeing the scene. The girl turns out to be Catherine Bayard, the granddaughter of Calvin Bayard, an unapologetically liberal book publisher who survived a hounding by the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee in the '50s without being blacklisted like so many of his authors. Digging deeper, V.I. learns that Whitby was doing research for a book about an African-American dancer and anthropologist who had enjoyed Bayard's support before she too was branded a Communist. Was Whitby killed en route to visit Bayard, one of Graham's neighbors--and a man who has strangely vanished from public view? And is there any connection between this murder and the disappearance of an Egyptian dishwasher, or the recent demise of a right-wing attorney and Bayard foe, in whose apartment V.I. is attacked by an intruder?

Except for a few astounding turns of luck (including the 11th-hour discovery of a revealing audiotape left in a car's player), Paretsky rolls out a credible yarn here, enriched by meticulous character development and an agreeably ambiguous conclusion. The author's intention to link McCarthy-era abuses with post-9/11 government assaults on civil rights is obvious, without being didactic, and it adds currency to a fictional investigation that's already rife with sex, betrayal, and long-held secrets among the rich. It's good to see that V.I. the P.I. hasn't lost the compassion or righteousness that first made her attractive two decades ago, in Indemnity Only. --J. Kingston Pierce

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