Deadlock, Sara Paretsky, Dial Press, 1984, 263 pp
In her second V I Warshawski mystery, Paretsky has her private investigator looking into the Great Lakes shipping industry. Vic's cousin Boom-Boom, a former hockey star with a ruined ankle, is supposedly the fatal victim of an accident on Chicago's waterfront. He had taken a job with one of the shipping lines and gotten a tad too interested in certain discrepancies.
In the course of determining whether or not her cousin's death was truly an accident, Warshawski prowls the Port of Chicago and ends up stowing away on one of the ships headed for godforsaken Thunder Bay at the northern tip of Lake Superior. One of my favorite things about Paretsky's books is the crackpot, unusual and desperate ideas that Warshawski comes up with to find out what she wants to know. Putting herself at extreme risk is her trademark. She will not be denied and she usually gets badly hurt, which worries me even though I know she will live. That is good mystery writing.
A rather daunting cast of characters required me making a list to keep them all straight and I had to resort to map study in order to picture all the locations. All worth it because the suspense was intense, the plot twists were hairpin turns and the criminals were ruthless.
Warshawski is still my top crime investigator. So smart, so tough and so intrepid.
(This book is available in paperback by special order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)