Sara Paretsky’s Fire Sale is an entertaining novel. From the beginning, I knew to read it the same way I would read any other type of popular fiction. I don’t think too much about it and just let the story happen as the author intended. It is relaxing to be able to read a novel quickly and not have to worry about every little thing like I do when I read literary masterpieces. I was worried that the story of V.I. Warshawski would be a little confusing because she has had so many earlier adventures, but it was easy to figure out who Warshawski was. As a new reader to her series, I felt that I could understand Warshawski enough to enjoy the story. Paretsky’s character represents the good that always works for the best interest. She is similar the other good characters that are in media and other popular fiction.
What I found most interesting about the story was the picture of Chicago that Paretsky was able to draw. She makes Chicago feel like this whole new world of mystery and corruption. Half the time I was reading it, I forgot that it was taking place in Chicago.
You could definitely see Partesky’s politics in her novel. I wonder why she does not try to make a novel that would be considered more literary. I believe she easily could, especially after we read some of her autobiography. I think a more literary novel would make her beliefs stick out more. By hiding them in a mystery thriller, she is not going to open too many people’s eyes. When people read her book, they are looking for suspense, murder, action, not society’s ruthless hold on the lower class. I never felt like Paretsky was overbearing with her beliefs. Honestly, I think she is a wonderful storyteller, and sly in the way she inserts social problems in a mystery novel. It is not your normal testosterone pumped action mystery thriller. Warshawski will work for anyone if they are in desperate need of her help. She, like Paretsky, works with the poor and needy, except Warshawski probably gets involved in more interesting situations.
I didn’t really like any of the side characters in the story. I was never able to get a grip on who they were. This might be, because they are more described in greater detail in previous Warshawski novels, or Paretsky doesn’t feel they are really important. They move the story along, and that’s about it. The reader never learns more about them, especially Warshawski’s boyfriend. I feel that I know more about the girls on the basketball team and their parents than Warshawski’s boyfriend.