A Chicago protest centered on recovering funds for Holocaust victims brings grief to private investigator V. I. Warshawskis dear friend, Lotty Herschel. Not only does it bring back memories of young Lottys flight from Vienna to London, but it brings present terror in the form of a man named Paul Radbuka. Radbuka claims to have been a child in a concentration camp whose heritage was taken from him by an abusive former nazi masquerading as his father. For some reason, the sight of this man brings fear into Lottys heart.

V.I. is concerned for Lotty, so she investigates Radbukas past but only uncovers more mystery. Perhaps hes who he claims to be, perhaps hes had false memories planted, or perhaps theres something even more sinister at work.

V.I.s also working for a client who claims that an insurance company cheated his aunt out of a life insurance benefit. This case is more difficult than expected and contains its own surprising twist.

The flawless interweaving of two different storylines makes TOTAL RECALL a powerhouse of a book. This strong outing shows Paretsky at top form. (Available now, 414 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg