Sara Paretsky defies the old notion that regional detectives don’t travel well outside their home turf ... This is the kind of social consciousness we’ve come to expect from Paretsky, a committed political activist whose conscience informs everything she writes. She’s strong, she’s fierce, and she carries that chip on her shoulder with real pride.
Paretsky's tale of a big-city private investigator who turns a small town inside out put me in mind of Dashiell Hammett's classic Red Harvest. But here's a key difference: Hammett's Continental Op deliberately sets out to tear the burg apart. Warshawski's destabilizing magic is just the byproduct of the convoluted thread she keeps yanking — and of her passion for the underdog ... In contrast to loner private eyes of yore, Warshawski is a thoroughly related person who relies on a network of friends and helpers, and who finds time to care for her animal while saving the world. She balances old-fashioned door-knocking gumshoeing with DNA swabs and paid databases. She's also a person who listens to the voices of the elderly, the mentally ill and the often ignored. There's no sign that she'll run out of work any time soon.