The last time I read a Sara Paretsky (Check out Paretsky’s Tunnel Vision, 5/5/08 if you care.) she sent her favorite character, V.I. Warshawski, into Chicago’s long-forgotten subterranean depths to rescue a mom and her children. Nothing quite so bizarre in Fire Sale, and it’s a good thing because neither that situation nor her interactions with the main antagonist were particularly believable.
The schtick that time was spousal abuse and society’s neglect of the victims. This time, the issue is corporate abuse of the poor and defenseless.
Warshwski is called in to sub as girls basketball coach at her old high school on the South Side. When she seeks some industrial money for uniforms, etc., she stumbles on a nefarious scheme that involves not only the corporation itself, but the families of several of her players. There’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance, some interesting Spanish, and some heartrending looks inside the world of poverty and miseducation. As I write, I realize that Paretsky has a bit more of a social message than I thought she did. All that and mindless entertainment too. Nice package.
Can’t I ever get enough? Guess not.