Deadlock, V I Warshawski’s second case, involves the huge Great Lakes shipping industry. Once again the subject is murder—this time the “accidental death” of Boom-Boom Warshawski, an ex-hockey star and V I’s beloved cousin, who fell—or was pushed—off a rain-slicked pier on Chicago’s busy waterfront. Convinced that Boom-Boom was in fact killed because of information he had uncovered about criminal doings on the shipping lines, V I begins a long and frustrating search for her cousin’s murderer. In the course of an investigation that takes her to a remote Canadian port city and a calamitous trip on a sabotaged freighter, V I finds all too many possible candidates for the killer, including a grain company executive involved in extortion; and rival heads of two shippers, one of whom is being blackmailed for his criminal past; a hockey player whose specialty is graft; and Boom-Boom’s lover, an icily beautiful dancer with expensive tastes in men and merchandise.
Reviews and Quotes
There are a lot of tough private investigators in the world of mystery fiction. One of the best is also one of the newest: V I Warshawski. Warshawski is smart, tough, sexy…and, of yes, female…Warshawski’s car is rammed, a ship she is on is blown up, somebody tries to drown her, and she ruins some of her best outfits. But she—and the book—end up winners.
— New York Daily News
An absorbing, well-written tale, a top-notch mystery.
— Publishers Weekly
Paretsky delivers solid Chicago atmosphere…and a knowledge of corporate crime worthy of Emma Lathem. The scenes inside grain elevators rival Hitchcock’s effects in Vertigo.
— Chicago Sun-Times
V I (Vic) Warshawski is one of the toughest and perhaps the most persuasively written of the new breed of female private eyes. Making her second appearance in Deadlock, a fast-action adventure involving sabotage and murder in the Great Lakes shipping industry, Sara Paretsky’s Chicago-based investigator illustrates (as she did in last year’s Indemnity Only) how an intelligent and energetic woman can manuever with ease in hardboiled detective fiction.
Its heroine’s sex aside, Deadlock is swift-paced and engrossing, vividly set in the fascinating dockside world of giant freighter ships and grain elevators. Once she starts investigating the death of her cousin in a dock “accident,” Vic Warshawski sticks around to solve four murders, the destruction of an $80-million cargo ship and the near-sabotage of the entire North American shipping industry.
There is nothing unfeminine, though, about Paretsky’s detective; much of her appeal, in fact, derives from the clearsighted observations she makes as a woman. (Baffled by all the corporate chicanery, she dismisses one man as a serious suspect because he’s too good a kisser.)
The novel should come as a surprise to genre fans who regard the new female private eyes as a literary curiosity. Considering the action, the well-researched background and the high thrills, you might consider the tough-minded heroine as a pure bonus.
— Cleveland Plain Dealer