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Total Recall (2001)

de Sara Paretsky

Séries: V.I. Warshawski (10)

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9681316,733 (3.72)7
The bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels have dazzled readers and earned the acclaim of critics everywhere. "V.I. Warshawski rules," writes Newsweek, crowning her "the most engaging woman in detective fiction." Of V.I.'s creator, the Chicago Tribune says "Sara Paretsky has no peer." Now Paretsky brings her incomparable storytelling brilliance to her most powerful Warshawski novel yet. Total Recall follows the Chicago P.I. on a road that winds back more than fifty years -- and into an intricate maze of wartime lies, heartbreaking secrets, and harrowing retribution. For V.I., the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. Replayed on the evening news is the scene of a slight man who has stood up at the conference to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust -- a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.'s cherished friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel. Lotty was a girl of nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children wrenched from their parents and saved from the Nazi terror just before the war broke out. Now stunningly -- impossibly -- it appears that someone from that long-lost past may have returned. With the help of a recovered-memory therapist, Paul Radbuka has recently learned his true identity. But is he who he claims to be? Or is he a cunning impostor who has usurped someone else's history ... a history Lotty has tried to forget for over fifty years? As a frightened V.I. watches her friend unravel, she sets out to help in the only way she can: by investigating Radbuka's past. Already working on a difficult case for a poor family cheated of their life insurance, she tries to balance Lotty's needs with her client's, only to find that both are spiraling into a whirlpool of international crime that stretches from Switzerland and Germany to Chicago's South Side. As the atrocities of the past reach out to engulf the living, V.I. struggles to decide whose memories of a terrible war she can trust, and moves closer to a chilling realization of the truth -- a truth that almost destroys her oldest friend. With fierce emotional power, Sara Paretsky has woven a gripping and morally complex novel of crime and punishment, memory and illusion. Destined to become a suspense classic, Total Recall proves once again the daring and compelling genius of Sara Paretsky.… (mais)
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I was not able to get book #9 (still on hold) but snatched up book #10 when I saw it was available via Overdrive. So I am missing one whole book and some things are mentioned here and there that of course I assume get brought up in the last book.

"Total Recall" was interesting. We get two POVs in this one. VI and her friend and mother figure Lotty. I wish that we had gotten more of Lotty's POV in this one. It seems to come in random places here and there. And I have to say that I honestly wish that VI had knocked some sense into a few people.

VI now has an assistant in this one and is charging more money upfront in order to make ends meet. She's happily involved with a war correspondent who is getting ready to head to Afghanistan. She seems more settled in this one. And doesn't seem reluctant to share his living space like she did with past lovers.

When VI is asked to look into a case where an African American family (close to her old lover Conrad) claims that the insurance company is incorrect about them cashing a deceased's life insurance policy. This case doesn't seem that important, until it gets tied up into protesters demanding slave reparations by insurance companies that operated before and during the Civil War. To make matters more complicated, there are protesters demanding recovery of Holocaust assets from insurance companies too.

Paretsky someone does a good job juggling these two cases. You wonder how everything is tied together, and it takes til almost the very for all to be revealed.

At this point I can't tell how many times that VI has been knocked out. She has to have permanent brain damage though. Also I don't see how she is up fresh as a daisy everytime she gets into a brawl. I have bruises from hiking and could barely walk for a day afterwards and I am not 40 like she is at this point. That's another thing, VI's age changes in this one. In book #8 she turned 40. In this 10th book it's said she will be turning 40. I was a bit confused by that.

I do like how Paretsky gets into recovered memories though. It becomes really apparent that a man claiming to be a Holocaust survivor is unhinged. His therapist was a hot mess and I wanted her to get into trouble for revealing information about Lotty's longtime companion Max. It seemed very odd to me that no one was concerned that this guy changed his story every five minutes and was stalking Max and his family. We do get the Streeters in this one who take over bodyguard duties for Max and his family.

I have to say though I did enjoy Lott's POV, her behavior during VI's POV was out of hand. I called BS on her whole story and when we get to the end to figure out why Lotty has been acting the way she has I was kind of appalled. I wonder what this is going to do to her relationship with Max and her former lover that is part of their group now? ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I love every one of the V.I. Warshawski books, but I may just love this one the best. This is a wonderful, meaty read. V.I.'s friend, Lotty Herschel, is totally freaked by a guy who, through therapy, has recalled the memory of his mother. His newly recovered memory places him in Nazi territory during the occupation and makes him Jewish. While Paretsky generally weaves a decent plot around really interesting characters, this time she has a great plot, too. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
3.5 stars (rating shown may vary depending on whether site allows half star rating)

In this book, we get to learn some of the history of V. I.'s friend, Lotty Herschel.

V. I.'s former boyfriend's sister recommends V. I. when a family's life insurance claim is denied because the insurance company claims they paid out the policy 10 years ago.

I guessed parts of the plot long before V. I. figured them out. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Mar 1, 2020 |
One of V.I.'s most interesting and baffling mysteries! ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
Total Recall is set in Chicago and is quite a complex read. The story covers three separate plots that may or may not be connected. The main mystery is centered around an insurance scam, with protestors demanding the recovery of Holocaust assets. PI Warshawski soon finds herself in the middle of another issue concerning the identity of troubled holocaust victim looking for his family. For some unknown reason, this has a devastating affect on Warshawski's friend, Lotty Herschel. As Warshawski bounces between these two themes like a pinball (authors own term), it is difficult at times to remain focused on either plot.

The chapters with Lotty's personal interjections are a little jarring at first, although her story is one of the mystery threads the reader is following, so it is helpful to see things from her perspective. Lotty's chapters are also quite moving.

Not all the characters in this book are likable: Paul Radbuka's behavior is irrational and a little hard to stomach, and Lotty's treatment of her friends is questionable. The ending is also a little flat with unresolved issues for some of the characters. Totall Recall is a long book, with a lot of information for the reader to digest, however, the story is engrossing. The suspense starts with the discovery of the first murder and continues to build. Paretsky creates good tension between her characters, all of whom are flawed, and the secrets between them keep the reader turning the pages. Total Recall is a decent read. ( )
  JFHilborne | Jun 24, 2013 |
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For Sara Krupnik and Hannah Paretsky,
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Please distinguish between the film, Total Recall (1990; featuring the work of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Paul Verhoeven, Buzz Feitshans and Ronald Shusett) from Sara Paretsky's similarly-named novel, Total Recall: A V.I. Warshawski Novel (2001). Thank you.
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The bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels have dazzled readers and earned the acclaim of critics everywhere. "V.I. Warshawski rules," writes Newsweek, crowning her "the most engaging woman in detective fiction." Of V.I.'s creator, the Chicago Tribune says "Sara Paretsky has no peer." Now Paretsky brings her incomparable storytelling brilliance to her most powerful Warshawski novel yet. Total Recall follows the Chicago P.I. on a road that winds back more than fifty years -- and into an intricate maze of wartime lies, heartbreaking secrets, and harrowing retribution. For V.I., the journey begins with a national conference in downtown Chicago, where angry protesters are calling for the recovery of Holocaust assets. Replayed on the evening news is the scene of a slight man who has stood up at the conference to tell an astonishing story of a childhood shattered by the Holocaust -- a story that has devastating consequences for V.I.'s cherished friend and mentor, Lotty Herschel. Lotty was a girl of nine when she emigrated from Austria to England, one of a group of children wrenched from their parents and saved from the Nazi terror just before the war broke out. Now stunningly -- impossibly -- it appears that someone from that long-lost past may have returned. With the help of a recovered-memory therapist, Paul Radbuka has recently learned his true identity. But is he who he claims to be? Or is he a cunning impostor who has usurped someone else's history ... a history Lotty has tried to forget for over fifty years? As a frightened V.I. watches her friend unravel, she sets out to help in the only way she can: by investigating Radbuka's past. Already working on a difficult case for a poor family cheated of their life insurance, she tries to balance Lotty's needs with her client's, only to find that both are spiraling into a whirlpool of international crime that stretches from Switzerland and Germany to Chicago's South Side. As the atrocities of the past reach out to engulf the living, V.I. struggles to decide whose memories of a terrible war she can trust, and moves closer to a chilling realization of the truth -- a truth that almost destroys her oldest friend. With fierce emotional power, Sara Paretsky has woven a gripping and morally complex novel of crime and punishment, memory and illusion. Destined to become a suspense classic, Total Recall proves once again the daring and compelling genius of Sara Paretsky.

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