Putnam, Oct 2003, 24.95, 432 pp.
The impact of 9/11 even in the heartland continues to have impact on residents. While her lover writer is in the Afghanistan or is that the Ubekistan area, private investigator V.I. Warshawski agrees to accept a strange case, at least from this particular client, longtime corporate customer Darraugh Graham. His ninety-year-old mother insists that she has seen lights looking out from her room in a nursing home from inside the nearby abandoned Larchmont Hall.
V.I. goes to the deserted building anticipating running into either homeless or teens, but instead finds the corpse of T-Square magazine reporter, Marc Whitby. Apparently, he was investigating 1950s dancer Kylie Ballantine, a victim of Olin Taverner's witch-hunt. The county declares Marc killed himself, but his wife Harriet hires her because she wonders if government officials murdered him. V.I. accepts the case though the FBI and local law enforcement want her to step back because they are investigating a case involving a possible terrorist that might have a bearing on the reporter's death.
BLACKLIST is Sara Paretsky's best tale in several years as the author effortlessly brings out the caring side of her sleuth without diminishing the strength of V. I. All that is placed inside a political thriller wrapped around a fast-paced who-done-it. This well written exquisitely exciting hooks the reader while also providing a warning message that the witch hunts of Salem and McCarthy are not isolated aberrations. They are a consistent part of history (same sh*t just after WW I) especially when people allow the flag and “security” to warp freedoms. After a dozen or so books, Warshawsky hopefully has more adventures like this one that is if she can avoid vanishing in front of a military tribunal.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner