Cover image for Brush back
Title:
Brush back
Author:
Paretsky, Sara.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Unabridged.
Publication Information:
[Grand Haven, MI] : Brilliance Audio, 2015.
Physical Description:
11 audio discs (13 hr., 7 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary:
No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she'd be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that's precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo's plea for help.
General Note:
Title from sell sheet.

Compact discs.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781501231292
Format :
Audiobook on CD

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Summary

Summary

Chicago's V. I. Warshawski confronts crooked politicians and buried family secrets in the gritty new novel from New York Times -bestselling author Sara Paretsky.

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she'd be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that's precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo's plea for help.

For six stormy weeks back in high school, V. I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full twenty-five years for her daughter's murder.

Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V. I. for help. V. I. doesn't want to get involved. Stella hated the Warshawskis, in particular V. I.'s adored mother, Gabriella.

But life has been hard on Frank and on V. I.'s other childhood friends, still stuck on the hardscrabble streets around the dead steel mills, and V. I. agrees to ask a few questions. Those questions lead her straight into the vipers' nest of Illinois politics she's wanted to avoid. When V. I. takes a beating at a youth meeting in her old hood, her main question becomes whether she will live long enough to find answers.


Author Notes

Author Sara Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa on June 8, 1947. She received a degree in political science from the University of Kansas and ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago; her dissertation was entitled "The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New England Before the Civil War." She also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She married a professor of physics (University of Chicago).

The protagonist of all but two of Paretsky's novels is V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. V. I. Warshawsky shows a female detective succeeding a traditionally male role.

Paretsky has won numerous awards for her work including the Silver Dagger Award for Toxic Shock, the Gold Dagger award for Blacklist, and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Association.

Her title Brush Back made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In an unlikely moment of sentimentality, Chicago private investigator V. I. Warshawski grudgingly agrees to spend a few hours investigating the possibility that her old friend Frank Guzzo's mother, Stella, was wrongfully convicted of murdering her daughter, Annie, 25 years ago. Stella, a nasty piece of work known for battering her children and slandering V. I.'s mother at every opportunity, punches V. I. at their first meeting, and Vic resolves to dump the case. But, then, Stella makes public claims that Annie's long-lost diary implicates V. I.'s beloved hockey-star cousin, Boom Boom Warshawski, in her murder. No way is V. I. going to let those accusations stand, and she's off fishing for new evidence from those involved in Annie's case. As intrepid and tenacious as she was in the series' first novels, V. I. battles the circled wagons of the tight-knit South Side Chicago neighborhood in which she grew up, which ultimately reveals a satisfyingly complex story of decades-old murder, family loyalties, dirty politics, and gangsters. A certain summer hit, this robust series entry harkens back to the outstanding Fire Sale (2005), which also returned V. I. to her roots. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: V. I. Warshawski remains one of the most-loved characters in crime fiction, and this episode, drawing as it does on Warshawski's personal history, will be of particular interest to fans looking for backstory.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Chicago PI V.I. "Vic" Warshawski's 18th anticrime foray takes her back to her old neighborhood and her second recorded case, the murder of her beloved cousin, hockey great Boom-Boom Warshawski (the basis for the plot of 1984's Deadlock). Frank Guzzo, her flame, approaches Vic with a sensitive issue: his mother, Stella, just finished 25 years in prison for murdering Frank's younger sister, Annie, and she's now proclaiming her innocence. Vic agrees to look into the matter, but is floored when Stella accuses the detective's beloved late cousin of having a hand in Annie's murder. Actress Peakes, assuming reading duty from Susan Ericksen, has the narrator-sleuth sounding a little younger and speaking a little faster, with the angry edge that was previously part of the characterization now reserved for the times when Vic really is angry. As for the other players, Peakes smoothly adds to Frank's weakness under pressure with stammering and halted speech, manages a bit of gravitas when limning the lawyers and rabbis on Vic's info-gathering list, and does a fair imitation of the Windy City Irish accent during her visits to the old neighborhood. A Putnam hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Paretsky's latest V.I. Warshawski novel (after Critical Mass) finds our intrepid Chicago private investigator doing a favor for old high school boyfriend Frank Guzzo. Back in the South Side neighborhood, the Warshawski clan and the Guzzos have a long-standing and seemingly inexplicable feud, but V.I. reluctantly agrees to look into an unlikely claim that Stella, Frank's mother, was framed for the bludgeoning death of her daughter Annie 25 years ago. But Stella's tactics turn on the Warshawski family, and V.I.'s famous cousin, Boom Boom, is implicated in the case on the word of a volatile and still violent 80-year-old woman. Against her better judgment, V.I. pursues the case, raising the hackles of her lawyer, her reporter friend who relies on her tips, and an assortment of friends and family readers have come to know. VERDICT Paretsky's novels are never boring, but this one is particularly well executed, combining family and city history with local political intrigue and a jaunt into the tunnels under Wrigley Field. The author's many fans won't be let down, while readers new to the series will be able to follow the story line without difficulty. [See Prepub Alert, 2/23/15.]-Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

I didn't recognize him at first. He came into my office unannounced, a jowly man whose hairline had receded to a fringe of dark curls. Too much sun had baked his skin the color of brick, although maybe it had been too much beer, judging by those ill-named love handles poking over the sides of his jeans. The seams in the faded corduroy jacket strained when he moved his arms; he must not often dress for business. "Hey, girl, you doing okay for yourself up here, aren't you?" I stared at him, astonished and annoyed by the familiarity. "Tori Warshawski, don't you know me? I guess Red U turned you into a snob after all." Tori. The only people who called me that had been my father and my cousin Boom-Boom, both of them dead a lot of years now. And Boom-Boom's boyhood friends--who were also the only people who still thought the University of Chicago was a leftist hideout. "It's not Frank Guzzo, is it?" I finally said. When I'd known him thirty years and forty pounds ago, he'd had a full head of red-gold hair, but I could still see something of him around the eyes and mouth. "All of him." He patted his abdomen. "You look good, Tori, I'll give you that. You didn't turn into some yoga nut or a vegan or something?" "Nope. I play a little basketball, but mostly I run the lakefront. You still playing baseball?" "With this body? Slow-pitch sometimes with the geriatric league. But my boy, Frankie Junior, Tori, I got my fingers crossed, but I think he's the real deal." "How old is he?" I asked, more out of politeness than interest: Frank always thought someone or something was going to be the real deal that made his fortune for him. "He's fifteen now, made varsity at Saint Eloy's, even though he's only a freshman. He's got a real arm. Maybe he'll be another Boom-Boom." Meaning, he could be the next person to make it out of the 'hood into some version of the American dream. There were so few of us who escaped South Chicago's gravitational pull that the neighborhood could recite our names. I'd managed, by dint of my mother's wishes, and my scholarships to the University of Chicago. My cousin Boom-Boom had done it through sports. He'd had seven brilliant seasons with the Blackhawks until he injured his ankle too badly for the surgeons to glue him back in any shape to skate. And then he'd been murdered, shoved off a pier in the Port of Chicago, right under the screw of the Bertha Krupnik. When Boom-Boom and Frank hung out together, Frank hoped he'd be a real deal, too, in baseball. We all did--he was the best shortstop in the city's Catholic league. By the time I started law school, though, Frank was driving a truck for Bagby Haulage. I don't know what happened; I'd lost touch with him by then. Maybe he could have been a contender. He wasn't the only kid in South Chicago with a spark of promise that flared up and died. They start to spread their wings and then they fall to earth. It's hard to leave the world you know. Even if it's a painful place at times, you grow up learning how to navigate it. The world north of Madison Street looks good on TV, but it has too many hidden traps, places where a homey can make a humiliating mistake. Perhaps Frankie Junior would have the drive, the mentors and the talent to be another Boom-Boom. All I said was I hoped Frank was right, it would be great. "You stayed in South Chicago?" I added. "We moved to the East Side. My wife--uh, Bet--uh," he stumbled over the words, his face turning a richer shade of brick. Frank had left me for Betty Pokorny when we were all in high school. Her father had owned Day & Night Bar & Grill. When the mills were running three shifts, no matter what time you got off or went on, you could get steak and eggs with a boilermaker. When Betty started smirking at me in the high school hallway, I'd been heartbroken for a few weeks, but my dad told me that Frank wasn't right for me, that I was looking for love in all the wrong places because Gabriella had died a few months earlier. He'd been right: it had been years since I'd thought about either Frank or Betty. Looking at Frank this morning, in his ill-fitting jacket and uneasy fidgeting, he seemed vulnerable and needy. Let him imagine that hearing about Betty could cause me a pang or two. "How are Betty's folks?" I asked. "Her ma passed a few years back, but her dad is still going strong, even without the bar--you know they had to shut that down?" "Someone told me," I said. Day & Night had followed the mills into extinction, but by then I was so far removed from the neighborhood that I hadn't even felt Schadenfreude, only a vague pity for Frank. "Her dad, he keeps busy, he's handy with tools, builds stuff, keeps the house from falling over. I guess you don't know we moved in with him when, well, you know." When they got married, I guessed. Or maybe when Stella went to prison. "What did you do about your place on Buffalo?" "Ma kept it. My dad's insurance or something let her make the payments while she was in Logan. I looked in on it once a week, made sure nothing was leaking or burning, kept the rats and the gangbangers from moving in. Ma says she owns it clear and free now." "She's out?" I blurted. "Yeah. Two months ago." His heavy shoulders sagged, further stressing the shoulders in the jacket. Annie Guzzo had been three years younger than me and I was finishing my junior year of college when she died. I counted in my head. I guess it had been twenty-five years. South Chicago was a neighborhood where violence was routine, ordinary. Stella Guzzo had grown up in a hardscrabble house herself and shouting and hitting were her main modes of functioning. We all knew she hit her daughter, but what turned people's stomachs was that Stella had beaten Annie to death and then walked up to St. Eloy's to play bingo. Not even my aunt Marie, Stella's chief crony, stood up for her. "I never made those marks on my girl," Stella protested at the trial. "They're lying about me, making me look bad because I was trying to get Annie to see the facts of life. She was getting those big ideas, way above herself. She didn't think she ne