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Racine Avenue is going upscale—bad news for hand-to-mouth residents like V I Warshawski. As tax bills skyrocket, newcomers pressure old inhabitants into fixing up their homes or moving out. To the yuppies on the block the worst eyesore belongs to old Hattie Frizell, whose yard is “returning to native prairie, complete with hubcaps.” Their block club wants her and her five Racine Avenue is going upscale—bad news for hand-to-mouth residents like V I Warshawski. As tax bills skyrocket, newcomers pressure old inhabitants into fixing up their homes or moving out. To the yuppies on the block the worst eyesore belongs to old Hattie Frizell, whose yard is “returning to native prairie, complete with hubcaps.” Their block club wants her and her five dogs gone. V I and Hattie have a relationship of sorts: one of those five dogs gave V I’s dog Peppy an unwelcome litter. When Hattie slips in her bath and is rushed unconscious to the hospital, V I feels compelled to get involved. But neighboring lawyer Todd Pichea and his wife, Chrissie, act swiftly to get the courts to make them Hattie’s legal guardians. V I returns from a business trip to find they’ve put the old woman’s dogs to sleep. Furious, V I starts poking around in the Picheas’ affairs, hoping to turn up something scandalous enough to make them lose their guardianship. Hattie isn’t the detective’s only worry. When her downstairs neighbor’s oldest friend disappears, Mr. Contreras persuades V I to investigate. As she probes both problems, V I uncovers a scandal linking one of Chicago’s oldest industrial families to union fraud and a politically connected bank. Her investigation takes her into the depths of the steamy Sanitary Canal and brings her eyeball-to-eyeball with her ex-husband, Dick Yarborough. When her dear friend Lotty Herschel and her own lawyer turn against her, V I is left alone to struggle with the most serious case of her career.


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Racine Avenue is going upscale—bad news for hand-to-mouth residents like V I Warshawski. As tax bills skyrocket, newcomers pressure old inhabitants into fixing up their homes or moving out. To the yuppies on the block the worst eyesore belongs to old Hattie Frizell, whose yard is “returning to native prairie, complete with hubcaps.” Their block club wants her and her five Racine Avenue is going upscale—bad news for hand-to-mouth residents like V I Warshawski. As tax bills skyrocket, newcomers pressure old inhabitants into fixing up their homes or moving out. To the yuppies on the block the worst eyesore belongs to old Hattie Frizell, whose yard is “returning to native prairie, complete with hubcaps.” Their block club wants her and her five dogs gone. V I and Hattie have a relationship of sorts: one of those five dogs gave V I’s dog Peppy an unwelcome litter. When Hattie slips in her bath and is rushed unconscious to the hospital, V I feels compelled to get involved. But neighboring lawyer Todd Pichea and his wife, Chrissie, act swiftly to get the courts to make them Hattie’s legal guardians. V I returns from a business trip to find they’ve put the old woman’s dogs to sleep. Furious, V I starts poking around in the Picheas’ affairs, hoping to turn up something scandalous enough to make them lose their guardianship. Hattie isn’t the detective’s only worry. When her downstairs neighbor’s oldest friend disappears, Mr. Contreras persuades V I to investigate. As she probes both problems, V I uncovers a scandal linking one of Chicago’s oldest industrial families to union fraud and a politically connected bank. Her investigation takes her into the depths of the steamy Sanitary Canal and brings her eyeball-to-eyeball with her ex-husband, Dick Yarborough. When her dear friend Lotty Herschel and her own lawyer turn against her, V I is left alone to struggle with the most serious case of her career.

30 review for Guardian Angel

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3.499999 of 5 stars (therefore rounded down!) for Guardian Angel, the 7th book in the mystery series, written in 1992 by Sara Paretsky. This book was a slight turning point in the series for me. VI has always been a bit of a recluse, a little difficult to swallow and sometimes bitter. But it was part of her charm and personality, and you always understood her. In this book, she's fighting for something she strongly believes needs to be fixed, and several of her cases are c Book Review 3.499999 of 5 stars (therefore rounded down!) for Guardian Angel, the 7th book in the mystery series, written in 1992 by Sara Paretsky. This book was a slight turning point in the series for me. VI has always been a bit of a recluse, a little difficult to swallow and sometimes bitter. But it was part of her charm and personality, and you always understood her. In this book, she's fighting for something she strongly believes needs to be fixed, and several of her cases are colliding. At the same time, her friends are warning her to slow down, remove herself from a few situations and to think about what she's choosing to do. While they don't truly turn their backs on her, they've made it clear she's crossing lines that shouldn't be crossed. What do you do when you feel your friends have abandoned you for your choices? And what's a reader to do when you're concerned about a character you love? Is she going too rogue? Do you believe her? Why and What is going on? Keep asking the questions... it's worth it at the end, but it does push the envelope for a bit in how much you can tolerate how VI behaves. That said, the mystery is of course great. VI tackles several social topics, especially understanding who stands up for people when they can no longer stand up for themselves? And when you add in unscrupulous people, battles between lawyers and the bad side of town, it's bound to get complicated. This one is worth reading if you'll only sample a few in the series. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I am not sure why this series is so addictive but it absolutely is! Like many other reviewers I can find lots of faults with each individual book but overall they move forward in such a compelling way that I cannot help but continue. And of course despite any faults they are all totally readable. There is always a lot of action and Vic manages to get herself into amazing scrapes and then escapes in Superhero fashion. The details of every day life with Peppy and her pups and Mr Contreras are alway I am not sure why this series is so addictive but it absolutely is! Like many other reviewers I can find lots of faults with each individual book but overall they move forward in such a compelling way that I cannot help but continue. And of course despite any faults they are all totally readable. There is always a lot of action and Vic manages to get herself into amazing scrapes and then escapes in Superhero fashion. The details of every day life with Peppy and her pups and Mr Contreras are always entertaining and then there is a mystery to unravel as well. This book was interesting for the way Vic is becoming more introspective and is beginning to maybe understand a little of why she is as abrasive as she is. She also has an actual relationship going on although I except that to be temporary. I will have no problems with moving on to the next book as soon as possible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    Ok, so in number 7 in the series it appears V.I. Warshawski's inner demons are swamping her better judgement. The decisions and impulsive chances she is taking are not only putting her own life at risk, but those of her friends. Warshawski is doing less and less planning and more and more emotional reacting, leading to a defensive posture which is precluding everything but solving the case, even when it means losing her life. Her nightmares, which open almost every chapter, seem to be pointing t Ok, so in number 7 in the series it appears V.I. Warshawski's inner demons are swamping her better judgement. The decisions and impulsive chances she is taking are not only putting her own life at risk, but those of her friends. Warshawski is doing less and less planning and more and more emotional reacting, leading to a defensive posture which is precluding everything but solving the case, even when it means losing her life. Her nightmares, which open almost every chapter, seem to be pointing to a childhood for which she unconsciously feels much guilt. Her parents died of lingering illnesses, and that circumstance is coloring VI's life more and more. And she.can't.stop. Rock and roll. Or, anyway, VI is rocking and rolling many many many many times before the last chapter! Is there an inch of unscarred skin left on her body? Her substitute grandfather/neighbor, Mr. Contreras, hires VI when an old friend is found drowned after a disappearance of several days, after he has told a story of malfeasance at the company he worked for, and nobody pays attention. Mitch Kruger claims he has seen skulduggery occurring at Diamond Head, an engine maker factory, where both Mitch and Contreras worked. Kruger has been in hard times so long he has not been sober for years, so until his death, Warshawski isn't too concerned, except for the fact that the pension Contreras receives from Diamond Head may also be at risk, if Mitch is right. An old neighbor down the street falls in her shower and is hospitalized. Mrs. Frizell is in her 80's and is an unpleasant, cranky lady, but she adores her five dogs. Alas, her neighbors find that the dogs are not so lovable with the smell and barking, but most put up with it, being working class and human. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is in the middle of being yuppified (book was written in 1992), and a particularly noxious wealthy couple, the Picheas, has moved in with no tolerance for old people, dogs or poor people. But when VI discovers this couple has had themselves declared Mrs. Frizell's guardian and has had her dogs euthanized while she is sick in the hospital from her fall, VI is not going to stand for it! After she learns the yuppies are connected to her Ex-husband's legal firm, as is Diamond Head, she wonders if somehow the cases are connected, but knowing that at least the people involved seem to be, she puts on the afterburners in pursuit of answers. Sadly, VI abuses her friends in her headstrong and relentless chase of justice and truth. Some of them will not want to be friends anymore at the conclusion of this intricate, and strangely connected, case. Why do I love this VI adventure, despite the too-tight plot coincidences and VI's reckless hell of her own creation? You might as well question why I love Batman, Spider-Man, Dr. Who, Jack Harkness and graphic comics. Or why it's the bad guys who catch my eye in real life, even if I'm too smart (now) to get involved. If it is accountants you find fascinating to read about, or princess Romances, this is never going to be on your list anyway. If you want procedurals or cozies, the Warshawski series won't work for you. But if emo-suffering, yet tough, P.I.'s who come to the rescue and climb mountains to do so is what feels good (especially after 'loving' holiday celebrations or that boss wrote you up again or the car doesn't start), give Parestsky a huge thank you for creating the well-written genre character Warshawski, who not only is Tarzan, James Bond and James Rockford (the Rockford Files, circa 1974) combined, but a female who cares about couture, even if she continously destroys her clothes after a single wearing in EVERY book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Larry Bassett

    V.I. Warshawski has lived in a Chicago co-op on Racine Avenue for five years. It is a changing neighborhood with an influx of residents with more money who are fixing up their houses and making the old-timers a little out of place. The book starts out with the dog V.I. shares with her seventy-seven year old downstairs neighbor having eight puppies. Under normal circumstances that would be plenty of excitement for quite a while. But this is a mystery book so there must be more to keep readers tur V.I. Warshawski has lived in a Chicago co-op on Racine Avenue for five years. It is a changing neighborhood with an influx of residents with more money who are fixing up their houses and making the old-timers a little out of place. The book starts out with the dog V.I. shares with her seventy-seven year old downstairs neighbor having eight puppies. Under normal circumstances that would be plenty of excitement for quite a while. But this is a mystery book so there must be more to keep readers turning the pages. This is the seventh book in the series. The first book was published in 1982 and now it is 1991. V.I. is thirty-nine, a decade older, and still lives alone and exercises by running, often with Peppy the dog. It is never surprising to find that her life is threatened more than once in a book. But you always know she is going to make it through all challenges since there is the next book in the series waiting on the bookshelf. V.I. often moves about in the seedier side of town in her job as a private detective. She has some regular customers for whom she does background checks and other investigations to pay for her food, housing and car. Early in this book, she has occasion to go into a very run down house in her neighborhood to check on an older woman with five dogs who had not seen for a while. She also goes to a very disreputable rooming house, a bar and an old factory trying to locate an older man who had disappeared several days before. Nothing is ever simple, of course, and life gets more interesting and dangerous as both of these situations develop. And don’t forget the eight puppies! This book is much longer than her earlier ones. But it has been made longer by a lot of not-so-interesting filler material of a missing person and a guardianship case. As the story moves along, V.I. manages to offend or annoy just about everyone with whom she comes into contact. Not much high velocity action until the end of the first half of the book when V.I.’s doctor friend Lotty is beaten up when she is mistaken for V.I. since she is driving V.I.’s sporty Trans-Am. Then V.I. moves into some of her standard methods of operation. Technology had failed me. I was going to have to do my detecting the old-fashioned way, by breaking and entering. Her B&E picklocks were confiscated by the police several books ago but she has by now obtained another set for the mere price of $700. She uses them regularly and quite effectively. (But, as simply a facilitating device, they do not provide the story with much action or excitement.) She also gets her Smith & Wesson out of her wall safe, always an indicator of action escalation. Since Paretsky uses first person narrative, we get to spend a lot of time in Warshawski’s head working out a myriad of things, many mundane. The decision on what to wear was complex. I needed to look professional for a conversation with Paragon managers. I wanted to be cool. I needed to be able to carry my gun. And I needed to be able to run if necessary. In the end I decided on jeans with a silk houndstooth jacket. It would look professional in California. That would have to be close enough. V.I. thinking does not get my adrenalin pumping! Maybe it is just that the last book I read was a thriller by Karin Slaughter and Guardian Angel suffers by comparison. “I’ve been thinking. It’s what I do for a living, you know. A lot of my work is trying to figure out why people do what they do. …” Do you light up when you hear the phrase “financial investigations”? I didn’t think so. That is the main source of Warshawski’s business income. When she starts looking at spreadsheets after she has broken into a corporate office, you know the physical action is not particularly spectacular even if the mental gears are grinding. Industrial espionage sounds exciting, doesn’t it? No? Well, maybe you’re right. V.I. has a lot of nerve. She goes into a industrial building in the middle of the night, is discovered by some men working there, shoots at them wounding one and jumps into a canal to escape. So she is trespassing at night, shoots at people who presumably have some reason to be there, is eventually returned to her home by the police to discover that it has been broken into and trashed. I keep reminding myself that this is fiction and that I had actually been hoping for the action to stir things up. (view spoiler)[ But I sure do like a private eye who practices birth control when she should. (hide spoiler)] In spite of “financial investigations” sounding dull and boring, there is eventually some action and a dead body. Killings do up the ante on intensity as does making mistakes. Ms. W says: “The worst thing you can do in an investigation is slow yourself down chewing over what you did wrong. When the case is finished you can take some time and try to learn from your mistakes. But when you’re in the middle of it – you just have to be like the Duke of Wellington – forget about it and go on.” Stepping over the bodies is sometimes required although V.I. occasionally has the good graces to turn a little green and retch. But does it seem like illegal business dealings – white collar crime – could lead to the same adverse gut reaction? “… a company wants to convert a union’s pension fund to an annuity and pocket the cash. They get the duly elected officers of the collective bargaining unit to sign onto the plan…. Now, suppose the officers sign on without putting it to a vote of the rank and file. Would the courts see that as legal?” Paretsky does deal with social issues in her books. Issues that other mystery writers might leave alone. I like that. In this book one of the issues is interracial dating and hatred. While it does not play a major role in the plot, it does come up more than several times and creates some tension and discomfort. And it seems like it might carry forward into future books in the series. It is always hard to figure out how V.I. manages financially since the matters that take up the most time in her books are, as she calls them, pro bono. But just as she always lands on her feet with her nine lives, she always seems to keep up the rent and to eat out a lot although she does complain a lot about not having enough money to buy a new pair of Nikes for running. Like some of the companies she investigates, her finances are somewhat mysterious. Guardian Angel has a lot of loose ends to tie up and doesn’t do a great job doing it as far as I am concerned. All the t’s are dotted and the i’s are crossed. That’s right, a little mixed up. I am torn between three and four stars. Maybe white collar crime and its resolution just didn’t do it for me. There was some tension in the story in the second half but it just seemed like there was too much filler to make a two-hundred and forty page book into three-hundred and seventy pages. So, while I settle on three stars, I am still looking forward to seeing how Paretsky moves forward in the next book of the series when V.I. Warshawski moves into her forties.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    This might just be one V. I. Warshawski novel too many for me. There's nothing specifically wrong with the books, it's more that they are all essentially the same story, so reading it seven times is perhaps one time (or more) more than can maintain interest. It doesn't help that this book is significantly longer than preceding books in the series but not in a way that makes it more interesting to read, unfortunately. My original intention was to read all the books, but I think now that this coul This might just be one V. I. Warshawski novel too many for me. There's nothing specifically wrong with the books, it's more that they are all essentially the same story, so reading it seven times is perhaps one time (or more) more than can maintain interest. It doesn't help that this book is significantly longer than preceding books in the series but not in a way that makes it more interesting to read, unfortunately. My original intention was to read all the books, but I think now that this could be the point to stop.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Eh. Clearly we're supposed to be charmed by V.I. Warshawski's rough-edged, tough broad, devil-may-care feminism, but I found her to be a rude harpy, a 39-year-old with the impulse control of a petulant toddler. Throwing coffee on people? Really? And while I love the topic of corruption in pension plans, this wasn't the most scintillating treatment of it I've read. Eh. Clearly we're supposed to be charmed by V.I. Warshawski's rough-edged, tough broad, devil-may-care feminism, but I found her to be a rude harpy, a 39-year-old with the impulse control of a petulant toddler. Throwing coffee on people? Really? And while I love the topic of corruption in pension plans, this wasn't the most scintillating treatment of it I've read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Harley

    This is the 20th book that I have read by Sara Paretsky and it was a great as the others. I highly recommend this series to lovers of strong women characters and mysteries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hockey Mama

    Vic takes a case from her neighbor Mr. Contreras. This case has tentacles that twist into a number of different areas of Chicago. She gets herself in numerous pickles as usual. She is a smart, strong woman that will at times show cracks to her tough exterior. It makes her seem more real, which is probably why enjoy reading about her. I will be starting the next book soon, I am really enjoying this series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rbucci

    These books are all very similar in the plot line, and maybe that’s why I really like them. What’s different about each book is the complicatedness of the plot. Make sense? How she comes up with mystery that needs to be solved and all the different angles that lead into them is amazing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I love V.I. but I really found this one difficult to get into. I started and stopped so many times until I had to force myself to finish. The story, at its core, is interesting but truly this was too long.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is the 4th V.I. Warshawsky book I have read, and I find the protagonist less and less appealing with each novel I read. Most authors get better and better as they write. Not this one. Her novels get longer and longer, but not better and better. There are so many pointless actions and plot twists in the story that I am convinced they are nothing more than "padding" to increase the page count. Her side trip to Atlanta is a case in point. Nobody could really be so stupid as this private investi This is the 4th V.I. Warshawsky book I have read, and I find the protagonist less and less appealing with each novel I read. Most authors get better and better as they write. Not this one. Her novels get longer and longer, but not better and better. There are so many pointless actions and plot twists in the story that I am convinced they are nothing more than "padding" to increase the page count. Her side trip to Atlanta is a case in point. Nobody could really be so stupid as this private investigator who has the habit of acting without thinking but, miraculously, not getting killed. She stumbles and fumbles through the story doing crazy and nonsensical things like leaving her gun at home, not checking to make sure her car is not staked out, not obtaining a computer to do her own data searches, lipping off to gangsters, believing that her gun and key ring would be immediately rusted after being submerged in the Chicago Sanitary Canal, letting her ex-husband get away with shady and unethical legal activities, etc., etc. She apparently has received no training in the use of her licensed gun, and she apparently never travels to a shooting range to practice with it. She refers to magazines as clips, and sometimes as cartridges. She wears a shoulder holster even when the weather is too warm to wear adequate clothing to keep it concealed. Her bumbling and stumbling conjured up images of a Roomba vacuum cleaner bouncing its way through a room, striking walls and obstacles, only to turn and keep going in a different direction, with no apparent pattern. There isn't a brain in this woman's head. A private investigator should have some smarts, but not this one. Like a blind squirrel, she occasionally finds an acorn, but it is purely by accident that she does so. The editing is better in this book than the one before it, but the characters are thinly developed and the dialog is not credible. If you like a good detective novel, this isn't it. She clearly has not done adequate research on some important aspects of the story, including the gun that she sometimes carries, and sometimes leaves in her apartment. Skip this one. The ending is anticlimactic, loose ends are left dangling and we are left wondering what ultimately happened to the bad guys. Not recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Bennett

    I have always loved the V.I. Warshawski character created by Sara Paretsky. Aside from getting the bad guys (always does in the end), she is self deprecating and has a good sense of humor. Makes for fun reading. In this caper, V.I. is following two different cases that in a way are interrelated. One has to do with an elderly woman who falls in her home and is hospitalized--resulting in neighbors having her dogs put to sleep and attempting to gain control of her life. The second case has to do wi I have always loved the V.I. Warshawski character created by Sara Paretsky. Aside from getting the bad guys (always does in the end), she is self deprecating and has a good sense of humor. Makes for fun reading. In this caper, V.I. is following two different cases that in a way are interrelated. One has to do with an elderly woman who falls in her home and is hospitalized--resulting in neighbors having her dogs put to sleep and attempting to gain control of her life. The second case has to do with the death of an elderly man who has fallen into a canal--or been pushed--and is dragged out dead. V.I. has a complex path to follow to right the wrongs that have been committed in these situations and she is in grave danger of becoming another victim while she does her investigating. Published in 1992, the story has a leisurely pace, but it's fun nevertheless. Comments about Donald Trump appear early in the book and seem very timely, as do her descriptions in another chapter of a group of older men who frequent a local bar where women aren't welcomed. This one isn't for me as intense and compelling as some whodunits but very enjoyable in retrospect.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathi

    I am always surprised at how many mistakes V.I. Warshawski makes before eventually stumbling into the solution of a case, and Guardian Angel continues the pattern. I like Vic and enjoy her evolving relationships with neighbors and friends. So, I liked this book well enough to read some more of Paretsky's books, but I will read them more for the "human interest" angle than for the mysteries. I am always surprised at how many mistakes V.I. Warshawski makes before eventually stumbling into the solution of a case, and Guardian Angel continues the pattern. I like Vic and enjoy her evolving relationships with neighbors and friends. So, I liked this book well enough to read some more of Paretsky's books, but I will read them more for the "human interest" angle than for the mysteries.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Also suitable for light afternoon reading. The dialogue is often strained, with people handing out information to forward the plot left and right without sounding natural. Had some funny, enjoyable parts, but mostly I found myself yawning through the character interactions.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aricia Gavriel

    It’s another of those “hmm” moments … and I’m getting so many of them lately -- have only really enjoyed, unreservedly, one book in the last few months. I’d expected to love Guardian Angel, because it’s the sixth V.I. Warshawski novel I’ve read, and I loved the others, placing them in the four and five star category. So, what went askew with this one? I find myself wondering what mindspace Sara Paretsky was in when she wrote this one. I got to like V.I. in the BBC Radio dramatization of Killing O It’s another of those “hmm” moments … and I’m getting so many of them lately -- have only really enjoyed, unreservedly, one book in the last few months. I’d expected to love Guardian Angel, because it’s the sixth V.I. Warshawski novel I’ve read, and I loved the others, placing them in the four and five star category. So, what went askew with this one? I find myself wondering what mindspace Sara Paretsky was in when she wrote this one. I got to like V.I. in the BBC Radio dramatization of Killing Orders (with Kathleen Turner and Martin Shaw, whom I adored at the time, so I listened in, on spec). Then I watched the Kathleen Turner movie, and was more or less hooked … read the first bunch of books and was sold on V.I., even if I don’t really care for Chicago as depicted here any more than I like the look of it in Due South. I think you have to be native to the place to love it … it’s way too much city for me. But ― This is the first V.I.W. book in which Vic spends an inordinate amount of time, uh, well, bungling. She makes so many errors -- procedural, tactical, legal, personal -- that it’s a wonder she survives. She shouldn’t have. She’s always had a smart mouth, but in this book she’s shooting it off so often, so waspishly, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be her friend, or assisting her. Also, I have a problem with the book’s logistics. Plot development here relies heavily on flimsy connections. If the case she builds ever goes into court, I should think a thousand-buck-an-hour lawyer would utterly destroy it. Looking back over the novel, V.I. is too often overconfident, reckless, thoughtless, irresponsible, inconsiderate … inept, clumsy, even incompetent, and I *shudder* to write that, because Mizz W used to be the epitome of stealth, economic efficiency and smart-aleckiness (yes, I know there’s no such word). Vic is 39 in this book, and -- sorry, guys -- the way Paretsky writes her, she’s showing every sign of early stage menopause! Speaking as a veteran of same, I recognize the scatterbrain, the inability to concentrate on details and predict consequences, as surely as I know the fatigue, pain levels, and general “flusteredness” that beset V.I. throughout. I hardly think menopause is the point of what’s going on in the book (!) but I’m clueless as to why Paretsky would write the character this way, much less hang a long story on such flimsy wires. It’s not a “bad book” as such, but it’s far from the rewarding experience I’d hoped for. Still, I finished it out, and remembering the novel’s good points I have to say three stars. It makes statements about racial equality, and the rights of the elderly to be respected and treated fairly; it paints a very vivid portrait of a city and a time -- c. 1990 -- that are worlds apart from where I am, and therefore intriguing, which is always a plus. It has some characters you genuinely like (Mr. Contreras is irresistible), and it has … dogs. [grins, chuckles] It also encapsulates a time … before mobile phones, omnipresent video surveillance, CCTV, drones and all the rest, that would make 90% of Vic’s shenanigans utterly impossible today. This in itself makes it a “historical,” adding to its interest. What do I take away from this? Well -- Chicago is another planet! 1990 is another dimension. And American corporate law is just plain … bizarre. Can’t give Guardian Angel four stars, but I will give it three. It’s probably more readable for people who haven’t read the earlier books and therefore come to it with certain expectations.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I started in on Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series in late 2019. Sometimes I like in-depth, thought provoking reading, and other times I prefer to step aside and let the story tell itself without too much effort on my part. For me...and this is only one man's opinion...Paretsky's work falls into the latter category. One of the last books I read before Guardian Angel was Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers. It was an an absorbing book. When I was finished, I did not want to stop reading, I started in on Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series in late 2019. Sometimes I like in-depth, thought provoking reading, and other times I prefer to step aside and let the story tell itself without too much effort on my part. For me...and this is only one man's opinion...Paretsky's work falls into the latter category. One of the last books I read before Guardian Angel was Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers. It was an an absorbing book. When I was finished, I did not want to stop reading, but I did need something of a break. The Warshawski series fills this function admirably for me. The opening seems innocuous enough. Warshawski's retired downstairs neighbor, Mr. Contreras, is safeguarding a hugely pregnant Golden Retriever named Peppy. The case begins when Mr. Contreras' life is disrupted by the arrival of Mitch, a former co-worker and fellow union member. Mitch has a bit of a problem with the cooking sherry, and his drunken occupancy of Mr. Contreras' sofa is disturbing Peppy's "confinement." Mitch assures Mr. Contreras that he is about to hit it big financially, but he won't say how. Mitch then vanishes, and after engaging Warshawski to look into the disappearance, Mitch turns up very dead, his body having been pulled from an inlet off of the Chicago river. A common theme among Paretsky stories is that a routine crime turns into something bigger, and more widely known and more politically connected names begin to emerge. Guardian Angel is no different. A drunken drifter may very well have brought about his own death turns into Warshawski's intervention between her cantankerous elderly neighbor and the young yuppies across the street who just may be scamming her. which of course leads a closer inspection of the financial affairs of two of Chicago's corporate giants. That sounds like a lot for one story, but it is all in there, I assure you. Further, Paretsky regularly subjects her protagonist to some fearsome physical flogging, but V. I. always manages to escape debilitating injury. One note: I was uncomfortably reminded of my own sexism through this story. Warshwaski hopes into bed with a police officer helping her out on the case, and I found myself frowning, taking a Mr. Contreras-type protective attitude toward V. I. I have read other stories with male protagonists, and their bed-hopping never even registered in my thinking. It was a good and a necessary realization. Paretsky is a talented and capable writer, and her whodunnits provide welcome respite from more complex subject matter. I plan on pursuing the rest of the series, to see what happens as the character develops...when I want a break.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Robb

    Again, I have to wonder how V. I. stays solvent with all the cases she takes for friends and relatives. In this book, it starts out with helping her downstairs neighbor Salvatore Contreras figure out what happened to his friend, Mitch. It evolves into helping a neighbor lady down the block, Mrs. Frizzell. All with very little pay--or at least very little pay that we hear about, despite Mr. Contreras's insistence that he'll pay her rates. (Not that I blame her for not charging him. It was a nice Again, I have to wonder how V. I. stays solvent with all the cases she takes for friends and relatives. In this book, it starts out with helping her downstairs neighbor Salvatore Contreras figure out what happened to his friend, Mitch. It evolves into helping a neighbor lady down the block, Mrs. Frizzell. All with very little pay--or at least very little pay that we hear about, despite Mr. Contreras's insistence that he'll pay her rates. (Not that I blame her for not charging him. It was a nice thing to do. But considering that through most of the book she's trying to figure out how she's going to buy new running shoes since hers are on their last legs even before they end up at the bottom of the canal as well as figuring out how she's going to pay to fix the Trans Am. . .) Mitch and Mr. Contreras worked together at Diamondhead. Mitch is now an alcoholic and claims that he's got something that will make Diamondhead's bosses pay him, despite the fact that he's well retired. Then, Mitch just disappears. While checking into that, V. I. also runs afoul of her ex-husband, Dick, and his father-in-law as well as others in the father-in-law's family. Though I was surprised when Dick and Terry confronted V. I. near the end of the book with how Dick acted. Mrs. Frizzell's dog, Bruce, is the father of Peppy's puppies, even though she won't admit it. When Mrs. Frizzell falls in her bathroom, V.I. and another neighbor, Marjorie Hellstrom try to take care of the dogs. Another neighborhood couple, Todd and Chrissy, go to court to get guardianship of Mrs. Frizzell and have all the dogs put down. This angers V. I. enough that she starts looking into Mrs. Frizzell's finances and finds that someone promised Mrs. Frizzell a 17% return on what turn out to be junk bonds. The issue between Lottie and V. I. isn't resolved by the end of the book--so I wonder if they will go back to being the way they were or if this will be a new normal. Also, I wonder if Carol Alvarado's role in the series will diminish based on her decisions. As seems normal for me with this author, I think things should be wrapped up and there's still more chapters to come. Sometimes I feel that the author needlessly complicates the plot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Luechtefeld

    Book: Guardian Angel (VI Warshawski Book 7) by Sara Paretsky Book 24/52 for the year Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Time to Read: 6 Days How Did I Get It? Digital Version via Library Mini Review: VI Warshawski is hired by her downstairs neighbor to look for fellow union retiree. Then her other neighbor falls ill and is taken to the hospital. VI takes it upon herself to help the neighbor’s dogs. But when she returns home from a work trip, she discovers her yuppie neighbors have been appointed guardians for the eld Book: Guardian Angel (VI Warshawski Book 7) by Sara Paretsky Book 24/52 for the year Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Time to Read: 6 Days How Did I Get It? Digital Version via Library Mini Review: VI Warshawski is hired by her downstairs neighbor to look for fellow union retiree. Then her other neighbor falls ill and is taken to the hospital. VI takes it upon herself to help the neighbor’s dogs. But when she returns home from a work trip, she discovers her yuppie neighbors have been appointed guardians for the elderly lady and had the dogs put down. VI vows to get justice for her neighbor but then the yuppie works for her ex husband. And these cases appear to be connected. Can she solve the case before winding up in the river? This is book seven in the VI Warshawski series. By now I know the flow of the book, however the last two books have made me annoyed with VI. She is strong and independent but these books have made her short tempered. And the short temper has made her do careless things putting people in danger. In the end I think VI sort of discovered part of her problems. I’m not sure if she will grow from them but I hope her ill temper with her friends and overreacting calms down in future books. Have you read this book? #bookstgram #books #bookworm #booksofinstagram #reading #bookreviews #bookrecommendations #readingchallenge #goodreads #amreading #currentlyreading #kindle #ebook

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nranger7

    Boy this one was hard to get through and I was starting to wonder why I thought I loved this series. I wanted to only give it two stars. Vic was incredibly unlikeable in this one. She was pissing off people left and right and they were justified in being angry. I was getting really fed up with her bitchy tough girl act which got so bad that she even ticked off Lotty. Didn't help that I was supposed to feel sorry for an old woman down the street who routinely let her dogs loose and one knocked up Boy this one was hard to get through and I was starting to wonder why I thought I loved this series. I wanted to only give it two stars. Vic was incredibly unlikeable in this one. She was pissing off people left and right and they were justified in being angry. I was getting really fed up with her bitchy tough girl act which got so bad that she even ticked off Lotty. Didn't help that I was supposed to feel sorry for an old woman down the street who routinely let her dogs loose and one knocked up Peppy. I have no sympathy for bad owners who worship their dogs but don't keep them quiet and on a leash. Don't care if they get put down. Vic must love the ridiculous and inhumane no kill shelters they have now. I did enjoy how Mr. Contreras was used more in this one which is likely why I still gave it three stars. Some of the plot was really far fetched. Honestly, Vic should be dead. Guardian Angel is a good title because I don't know how Vic got through to the end. Hopefully the rest of the series isn't so bad and this is just a low point. Still better than that idiot Stephanie Plum any day though.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna Siebold

    Peppy is in season and V.I. is on the road. She wants the Streeter boys to walk her so that there are no unplanned male visitors, but of course, Mr. Contreras can't bear this insult to his man-hood and insists he can walk Peppy with no problems. Well, none except that when V.I. gets home Peppy is in the family way! V.I. spends a significant amount of time in the book assuring Mr. C that they will not be adding to their menagerie! Of course, they do, but only one of the eight puppies remains in t Peppy is in season and V.I. is on the road. She wants the Streeter boys to walk her so that there are no unplanned male visitors, but of course, Mr. Contreras can't bear this insult to his man-hood and insists he can walk Peppy with no problems. Well, none except that when V.I. gets home Peppy is in the family way! V.I. spends a significant amount of time in the book assuring Mr. C that they will not be adding to their menagerie! Of course, they do, but only one of the eight puppies remains in their care. Mr. C's friend Mitch has fallen on hard times and is caging a bed (pull-out sofa) from Mr. C. When he disappears V.I. is hired to look into the disappearance. This investigation leads to a foray into the world of junk bonds, pensions, mergers and corporate sales among other hot topics. We even spend some time with V.I.'s ex as he is on the periphery of the case - at least in the beginning he gets more involved as time passes. In addition, V.I. has gotten involved in attempting to assist her elderly neighbor - the one who owns the father of Peppy's litter. She has fallen and injured herself. She is in the hospital and seems to be suffering from senility in addition to her physical woes. While V.I. is investigating Mitch's disappearance two of the other neighbor's become the injured woman's guardians. In this guise, they have her beloved dogs euthanized. No one wants to break this news to the patient as the love of the dogs seems to be her only link to reality. Eventually V.I. uncovers the true wrong-doers, finds Mitch - too late - he has been murdered. With the help of Lotty's nurse she helps the neighbor find her wits and she and Mr. C are able to home all but one, his favorite, of the puppies.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Sciubba

    I tried so hard. Paretsky comes highly recommended by those who love female protagonists in mysteries by female writers. But it just wasn't for me. Warshawski was highly unlikeable, as was nearly every character in the book. They were rude, brash, and miserable. Perhaps I'm too Southern and do better with the grace of China Bayles or the humor of Stephanie Plum. I'll try one more since Paretsky is great with plot and description and is a fine writer overall. I tried so hard. Paretsky comes highly recommended by those who love female protagonists in mysteries by female writers. But it just wasn't for me. Warshawski was highly unlikeable, as was nearly every character in the book. They were rude, brash, and miserable. Perhaps I'm too Southern and do better with the grace of China Bayles or the humor of Stephanie Plum. I'll try one more since Paretsky is great with plot and description and is a fine writer overall.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Though the series is getting a little formulaic -- Vic reluctantly roped into an investigate by a friend or family member, breaks into a corporate office at night, almost dies, wins the day... -- I'm still enjoying it, especially because the characters (those that warrant more than a passing reference) are so great. And this book especially developed both Mr. C's and Lotty's, two of my favorites. Though the series is getting a little formulaic -- Vic reluctantly roped into an investigate by a friend or family member, breaks into a corporate office at night, almost dies, wins the day... -- I'm still enjoying it, especially because the characters (those that warrant more than a passing reference) are so great. And this book especially developed both Mr. C's and Lotty's, two of my favorites.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I'm afraid most of the fun here came from the prehistoric tech references. Poor Vic has to type invoices on her Smith Corona, and needs to visit a law office or the library to get a dial-up connection on someone else's computer. DOS rules, and the info she seeks comes up in green letters on a black screen. Not a cell phone in sight, and of course no Google earth when she gets lost. Talk about The Perils of Pauline! I'm afraid most of the fun here came from the prehistoric tech references. Poor Vic has to type invoices on her Smith Corona, and needs to visit a law office or the library to get a dial-up connection on someone else's computer. DOS rules, and the info she seeks comes up in green letters on a black screen. Not a cell phone in sight, and of course no Google earth when she gets lost. Talk about The Perils of Pauline!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy M Thatcher

    Paretski has done it again! V.I. Warshawski is back in action and as usual is hip deep in trouble. She is doing good deeds that do not bring in any money but that she could annot resist getting involved in. She is out to rid Chicago of bad people who prey on the elderly and those who do bad things. Somehow she has to prove that there is a connection beteeen the two. This book draws you in and you hate to see the end coming.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beth Birnbaum

    A V I Warshaswki novel is always a cause for celebration, old, new, and not written yet. I enjoyed it so much, I want to reread more of them. The problem, bliking the elderly of their assets, and stock fraud, hasn't gotten any better since 1991 when the book was written. If only there were real private eyes who could right these wrongs! A V I Warshaswki novel is always a cause for celebration, old, new, and not written yet. I enjoyed it so much, I want to reread more of them. The problem, bliking the elderly of their assets, and stock fraud, hasn't gotten any better since 1991 when the book was written. If only there were real private eyes who could right these wrongs!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ted Sibley

    Absurd, juvenile junk. Adolescent boys might believe and admire Warshawski's late night adventures, but adults know that detectives in the real world don't break and enter every night, or dangle from an industrial trolley in a warehouse. I tried to suspend my disbelief, but Warshawski belongs in a silly fantasy novel, not a legitimate murder mystery. Absurd, juvenile junk. Adolescent boys might believe and admire Warshawski's late night adventures, but adults know that detectives in the real world don't break and enter every night, or dangle from an industrial trolley in a warehouse. I tried to suspend my disbelief, but Warshawski belongs in a silly fantasy novel, not a legitimate murder mystery.

  27. 4 out of 5

    susan maynes

    Another WOW book from Sara! Absolutely love the V. I. series! She certainly isn't the typical private detective. V. I. has the guts of forty beefy men and the instincts a real live detective would give their eye tooth for. Ms. Paretsky, you are the best of the best of authors! Thanks for bringing V. I. into my life! Another WOW book from Sara! Absolutely love the V. I. series! She certainly isn't the typical private detective. V. I. has the guts of forty beefy men and the instincts a real live detective would give their eye tooth for. Ms. Paretsky, you are the best of the best of authors! Thanks for bringing V. I. into my life!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    This was a decent enough story. There casually racist language used was off-putting for me. V.I. includes Mr. Contreras in this case and parts of the story are not believable. V.I. makes several bone headed moves, one of which harms her friend Lotty. There's murder, property damage, car chases and financial crimes. This was a decent enough story. There casually racist language used was off-putting for me. V.I. includes Mr. Contreras in this case and parts of the story are not believable. V.I. makes several bone headed moves, one of which harms her friend Lotty. There's murder, property damage, car chases and financial crimes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynette

    Argh... the overall story was interesting, but V.I.'s behavior is becoming nearly intolerable. She gives feminism a bad name - she's selfish and angry, impulsive and stupid... the character has degenerated into someone who is barely readable... sigh... Argh... the overall story was interesting, but V.I.'s behavior is becoming nearly intolerable. She gives feminism a bad name - she's selfish and angry, impulsive and stupid... the character has degenerated into someone who is barely readable... sigh...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kit Potter

    I really enjoy Paretsky's writing. As I have been in Chicago some, it is fun to actually have a basis to imagine the places she visits. V.I. Warshawski is a well-developed character. I've read the series now! I really enjoy Paretsky's writing. As I have been in Chicago some, it is fun to actually have a basis to imagine the places she visits. V.I. Warshawski is a well-developed character. I've read the series now!

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