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  • Hodder Paperbacks
  • Hodder & Stoughton

Critical Mass: V.I. Warshawski 16

Sara Paretsky

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Crime & mystery, Thriller / suspense

The sixteenth V.I. Warshawski thriller from one of America's greatest female crime writers, combining contemporary issues, the fight against injustice and fast-paced suspense.

Private Eye V.I. Warshawski is roused one morning by an SOS from a woman on a farm south of Chicago. When V.I. gets there, she finds no woman - but a dead man in a cornfield, his body savagely mutilated.

V.I. is happy to leave the case to the local sheriff: it looks like a falling out among meth dealers. But back in Chicago, she learns that the missing woman is a protegee of her oldest friend and confidante, Dr Lotty Herschel, and is compelled to investigate.

What V.I. uncovers pulls her into a world of nuclear secrets and high-stakes computing, with roots reaching back to the Second World War. The detective soon finds herself in a hall of mirrors where she can't tell reality from video games, and her life is on the line. For V.I., this is her most profound, and terrifying, adventure yet . . .

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Praise for Critical Mass: V.I. Warshawski 16

  • A daring departure for Paretsky . . . and a career-crowning triumph. - The Sunday Times

  • Paretsky's most ambitious novel so far: interesting, exciting and well worth reading. - Literary Review

  • A literary comfort blanket with all the must-loved elements - Warshawski risking her neck for friends, cooing over cute dogs, exchanging sassy dialogue with her neighbour Mr Contreras and refusing to do housework - reassuringly present. And yet Paretsky never shies away from tough subjects: this latest case takes in everything from the Holocaust to abuses of power by Homeland Security. Paretsky is brave enough to write feel-good reads that often take you to places where you feel far from good. - Telegraph

  • Sara Paretsky is American's answer to P.D. James, with added violence. Her private eye, V.I. Warshawski, who comfortingly grows old alongside her readers, is so skilfully embedded in her landscape that I once drove through Chicago guided by a friend solely on her knowledge of the Warshawski oeuvre. Critical Mass is a heady mixture of crack cocaine and nuclear physics, not to mention Nobel Prizes and internet hacking by the security services. - The Tablet

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Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky was named 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. She is the winner of many awards, including the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers' Association and the CWA Gold Dagger for Blacklist. In 2015 she received the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. She lives on Chicago's south side.

Visit Sara's website,, find her on Facebook,, and follow her on Twitter at

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