Sorry, this book started off really well and then floundered in the middle and fell flat at the end.
in this fourth installment in the V.I. Warshawski series, we have V.I. settled in her new co-op and not doing any life or death cases. She gets involved with Lotty's friend's family woes. Teen Counselo is expecting her first child. She has some medical issues (diabetes and other things which is affecting her health due to her pregnancy) and a husband who is pretty worthless and doesn't want to work. When Counselo dies in the hospital after her newborn child also dies, Warshawski at first doesn't think a thing is amiss until a doctor working alongside Lotty turns up beaten and murdered too.
I have to think to myself that this book when it was written (1987) was definitely pushing the envelope. Paretsky, through V.I. talks about abortion and the pro-life movement which I did shake my head at, doesn't seem much changed. Everyone seems pro-life until the baby is born and then it's well you just need to strap on your boots and deal with things. Vic is pretty upfront about being a "radical" and a feminist. But I think that this book also shows how out of touch Vic is with the world and also how her actions (though she thinks that they are benign) affect other people.
Case in point, Vic thinks that since she got a high profile drug dealer less time in prison, he would be willing to talk to her and possibly dime out Counselo's husband about possibly being behind the doctor's death that worked with Lotty. The incident doesn't go off the way that Vic thinks, but the man brings up that he could read contempt on Vic's face the whole time. The whole thing shakes her and it's brought up throughout the book. Honestly, I have to wonder how Vic even kept investigated after a while. She is getting pushed by Lotty, and the dead man's girlfriend to get to the bottom of things.
The case takes a turn and once again we have one of Vic's love interests cautioning her to be careful and not being really appreciative of her job. Also, can I say right now, I am a little over Vic dating people that are tied into her case. Maybe wait to make sure that they are on the up and up. Gah.
We have references to Bobby (thank goodness he is not in here) and we have some new characters, a Black Chicago detective whose name is eluding me right now, and a downstairs neighbor of Vic's that is retired and nosy.
I honestly thought the whole case was a bit confusing and we get data dumped as I like to say via a character we have never met before who I detested (his name is Max and he is dating Lotty). We literally have a gross whose on first thing happening with Max, Murray, and Vic, as those three get increasingly drunk (or at least it read that way) as they explained things to Lotty who was upset about how glib they were all being.
To make matters worse, they set things up to catch the "bad" guys (for no reason I could tell) and then there's a couple of scenes involving a dog that was just devastating and terrible. At least the dog thing gets redeemed by the end of the book though. Up until then I was thinking I was going to just be done with this series.