Multimedia Corporation, a major player in the entertainment industry, has purchased the Chicago Herald Sun and V.I.Warshawski attends a party in honor of her old friend Murray Ryerson, a reporter whos landed a plum TV job. On the way home, V.I. wraps her car around a pole to avoid hitting a woman laying in the street. The woman dies and, after failing to pin a hit-and-run on her, the police try to force her off the case. V. I. is more angry than scared, and determined to investigate.

V. I.s findings surprise even her. The dead woman was a runaway prisoner who had been badly abused. Furthermore, the woman had connections to some of Chicagos most powerful peoplewho soon become V.I.s enemies. Her credibility is shattered, and shes forced to endure a hellish womens prison, before she can figure outand provethe truth.

With a suspenseful, hard-hitting plot and numerous twists and turns, HARD TIME shows Sara Paretsky at top form. This emotionally charged tale will grab your interest immediately and not let you goone of the seasons hottest reads. (Dec., 383 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg