Review: Overboard by Sara Paretsky


Title: Overboard {V.I. Warshawski #21}

Author: Sara Paretsky

Published: 10th May 2022, William Morrow

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:


Overboard is the 21st novel featuring iconic Chicago private detective, V.I. (Vic) Warshawski. The series, credited with transforming the role and image of women in crime fiction, written by award winning author Sara Paretsky made its debut 40 years ago, in 1982.

Vic is focused on three cases in this novel. The first involves a favour for her long term friend, Dr Lottie, who has asked her to investigate the harassment of a local synagogue. The second Vic stumbles into when, while walking her dogs along the foreshore, she discovers a badly beaten girl hidden amongst its rocky banks, who later vanishes from her hospital room under suspicious circumstances, and the third, a plea for help from a teenage boy who suspects his mother, whom Vic knew in highschool, is having an affair.

Readers who are familiar with series will know what to expect from Overboard. Vic is a methodical and dogged investigator who never backs down and is willing to take risks to defend the vulnerable and innocent. As adept at sifting through paperwork and databases, as she is committing the odd break-in, and fighting off attackers, Vic employs all her skills to resolve the mysteries she is faced with. I enjoy the complexity of concurrent cases, and the entertaining mix of tense action and intelligent investigation. Somewhat improbably, though not troublesomely so, VIc’s three cases also spawn loose links to, and between, a mobbed up developer, a corrupt cop, and elder care abuse.

I like that Paretsky references contemporary events within her storylines to ground them in time and place, and in Overboard she highlights several issues of the post-pandemic lockdown period, namely police violence and corruption, the rise of hate groups, and the societal changes wrought by CoVid, like the challenges of financial recovery and the use of masks.

Though Overboard can be read as a stand-alone as the plot is self contained, the story is definitely enhanced by familiarity with the characters and their world. I’d expect long time fans, like me, will enjoy and be satisfied with this new instalment.


Available from William Morrow

Or help support* Book’d Out

*Purchase from Booktopia*

*As an affiliate of Booktopia I may earn a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you.*

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Aug 02, 2022 @ 06:11:50

    I enjoyed this one more than some books in this series. There was plenty happening and it was plenty dangerous. The tasks here though which Vic set for herself make me wonder how she supports herself sometimes because many of these were not profitable. There was a bit more quirky than I am used to finding in her books. I did like the Covid aspects which she took seriously.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Mystica
    Aug 02, 2022 @ 19:30:46

    This is a new one for me. I like the Covid aspect covered as well.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Aug 02, 2022 @ 21:37:44

    I so much want to pick this series up, but at book 21 and about 40 years old, it’s pretty intimidating! I’m always on the look out for one that can stand alone and I note here you said people might miss stuff if they start here — is there a book in the series you think I could start with as a stand-alone and then pick up the series?

    Liked by 1 person


  5. laurareadingbooksagain
    Aug 05, 2022 @ 23:15:17

    I didn’t know that Paretsky was still writing. I will have to check this one out of the library.

    Liked by 1 person


I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s