Hard Time

Hard Time - Sara Paretsky

Not much to say here besides the fact that I really enjoyed this one a lot. We get to see VI go into the prison system in order to find out how an escapee from a woman's prison was found on a road in Chicago. We get to see VI and other characters go through some changes in this one due to a new age of American politics as well.

VI in this one is accused of a hit and run after she barely misses hitting a woman's body in the road. Though VI has her run ins with the law at times, she still doesn't know why the police are looking hard at her for this one. When she turns up details on the dead woman which ties her into a high profile private security firm, it becomes pretty clear that VI may not be able to get herself out of trouble in this one.

 

VI is a bit slower in this one. She is definitely feeling her age. She also feels a bit flat since her long time rival and friend Murray is now being pushed to do more public friendly stories and the era of print media has seemingly died in Chicago. What I think made me like this one a lot more is that honestly VI is left friendless in this one and has to survey by her own wits. Her assistant pretty much quits and blames VI for how she behaves which is why she is always targeted. And VI has a power crazed Chicago cop on her heels who is not going to stop until he has her arrested.

 

The book shifts gears though with it's smart insight into the prison system and how easy it is to abuse women behind bars. Some of the descriptions were stomach inducing.

 

I do have to say though I loved this book, I found most of the circumstances involved to be highly implausible. I have finished a bunch of the books in this series recently, and I do have to say that after "Fire Sale" I started to just feel a shift in quality. I constantly compare VI to my other favorite female private eye, Kinsey Malone. And I think what gets me the most is that VI is antagonistic towards everyone and even the police. With what she gets up to I am surprised she hasn't been arrested for how many times she gets involved in a police matter. And I just don't like how she treats others around her. That said, I would be a happy person if the character of Mr. Contreras would be written off from this series along with the two dogs that VI ends up bringing everywhere in the latest books.