Picks and Pans Review: Ghost Country
by Sara Paretsky
The tough streets of Chicago are still the setting, but this time ace private eye V.I. Warshawski is nowhere to be found. Instead, Sara Paretsky's latest is a murkier kind of mystery, centering on a trio of dispossessed Chicagoans—Luisa Montcrief, an alcoholic opera diva; Dr. Hector Tammuz, a beleaguered psychiatric resident; and Mara Stonds, a troubled teen—drawn together by a homeless woman's claims to have seen a holy vision on the wall of a downtown parking garage.
Paretsky paints her hapless heroes with vivid strokes and, for the most part, spins a story that is as absorbing as it is ambitious. But when she weaves in another homeless woman, this one a messianic earth mother with enormous breasts, a headful of hornlike curls and a reputation for Jesus-like miracle-working, Paretsky's fable veers a bit too far out of the realm of credibility. (Delacorte, $24.95)
Bottom Line: Where's that hooey-hating Warshawski when you need her?
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