ip of the Ice PickIt has been more than two years since the last V.I. Warshawski novel from Sara Paretsky, and her fans will be delighted to hear their long wait is over. They will be even more delighted to hear that her latest, Total Recall, is perhaps the best Warshawski novel ever, delving deep into the history of ongoing character Lotty Herschel, a Jewish New York surgeon and Holocaust survivor. Lotty Herschel has been something of a mentor and mother figure to private investigator V.I. Warshawski for a number of years, a safe harbor for V.I. to return to when the detective's life gets a bit too hectic. Now it is Lotty's turn for some upheaval, as memories of her long-buried past are suddenly dredged up by Paul Radbuka, a strange man who claims to be a long lost relative. Radbuka's story checks out, on the surface, at least: he emigrated from Germany with his father to America after WWII and he has recently gone through grueling recovered-memory therapy which unearthed a chilling story of his tortured past. Clearly Radbuka is a bit of a loose cannon, and Lotty wants nothing to do with him. When Radbuka's obsession escalates into unwanted visits, phone calls and stalking, V.I. steps in to offer assistance, little realizing that a petty annoyance is about to culminate in murder. Total Recall is a complex and many-layered suspense novel, one of the most intense in recent memory, and worthy of our award for mystery of the month.
Nashville-based writer Bruce Tierney is a lifelong mystery reader.