Sunday, March 2, 2014

Body Work (V.I. Warshawski, #14)Body Work by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is not a good sign if you are reading a mystery novel and when the plot approaches its conclusion, you get bored and put the book away to do the dishes, scrub the floors, and dust the house. Unfortunately, this is what happened to me when reading Sara Paretsky's "Body Work".

I have read 8 mysteries by Ms. Paretsky that feature the famous V.I. Warshawsky and most of them would earn at least three stars from me, which is a pretty high rating. I do not think "Body Work" is on the same level. Yes, it has Victoria Ifigenia as the heroine, but the plot is just not interesting and I have found it hard to focus on reading.

Some aspects of the premise are crazy enough to be entertaining: a performance artist, the self-proclaimed Body Artist, has her naked body painted by members of audience during the performance. Information is sent via messages encoded as series of numbers that are painted on the woman's buttocks. OK. Cool. Now add some serious issues - Iraq veterans, corporate greed, corruption, nanoparticles, etc. Not cool anymore. Ridiculous. Not 'funny ridiculous' but mind-numbingly ridiculous.

Ms. Paretsky's writing is not as excellent as in the previous books. The novel has precious little of the local Chicago flavor that makes her other novels stand out. Some scenes, for instance the visit to Frannie Pindero's place or the street battle with the bad guys, feel awkward to read; their implausibility is neither whimsical nor charming.

I still have 10 pages to read, but can't get myself to do it. If they change how I feel about the book, I will rewrite the review. My rating below is based on Ms. Paretsky's competent writing and on V.I.'s character that I know from the previous books.

Two stars.

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