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Extended Audio Sample Hardball Audiobook, by Sara Paretsky Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,006 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sara Paretsky Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The V. I. Warshawski Series Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781423319955
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Chicago’s unique brand of ball is sixteen-inch slow pitch, played in leagues all over the city for more than a century. But in politics, in business, and in law enforcement, the game is hardball. When V. I. Warshawski is asked to find Lamont Gadsden, a man who’s been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile turns lethal. Old skeletons from the city’s racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets — her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her — rise up to brush her back from the plate with a vengeance. To complicate matters, Petra, a young cousin whom V.I. has never met, arrives from Kansas City to work on a political campaign. It does not take long for the high-spirited yet likable Petra to win over V.I.’s affections. When Petra goes missing after a break-in at the office, V.I. is determined to find her beloved cousin. As the search to locate Petra becomes more desperate, V.I. is also having difficulties tracking down Lamont Gadsden. Unable to catch a break, she learns that a nun who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., has died before she can reveal crucial evidence. V.I. herself almost dies in a blazing fire, and new information has emerged about her father’s role in a politically and racially charged trial almost forty years ago. Afraid to discover that her adored father might have been a bent cop, V.I. takes the investigation all the way to its frightening end. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The thing about Sara Paretsky is, she’s tough—not because she observes the bone-breaker conventions of the private-eye genre but because she doesn’t flinch from examining old social injustices others might find too shameful (and too painful) to dig up…There's a real sting to both the anger of a black man who took care of a friend beaten to insensibility by racist cops and the grief of an old white woman displaced from her family home. Voices like these can ring in your ears for—oh, forty years and more.”

    New York Times

  • “Packed with Chicago history and racial and personal conflict, this story picks up quickly and is a finely honed mystery with serious depth.”

    Library Journal

  • “An ambitious novel layered in the grit of recent American racial history. Paretsky has always written intelligent mysteries, but sometimes…she strives for more, realizing the potential of the homegrown hard-boiled detective genre to investigate the more troubling mysteries at the heart of our national identity…V.I. may be graying and sometimes a tad grim, but she's still the gal you want beside you in a fight, be it short, dirty and physical or a longer campaign for social justice. In Hardball—a standout, nuanced mystery about civil rights struggles past and present—V.I. demonstrates, once again, that when push comes to shove, the scrappiest street fighters are from Chicago.”

    Washington Post

  • Selected for the November 2009 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie Scheirman | 1/19/2014

    " This is Paretsky's first book in a while. I had not read any of her other novels, but saw a review in the paper and had to be on the waiting list for about a month to get this book. It was great! I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. V.I.Warshawski is a detective who gets involved in a 40 yr. old disappearance of a client's nephew. It gets tangled with her family ties and looks bleak, but V.I comes through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 1/13/2014

    " The beginning is a bit confusing and it takes long to develop but otherwise it's fantastic! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Jane | 1/8/2014

    " I enjoy reading mystery novels now and then. Am not sure if I ever read a Paretsky book before. It was very entertaining - good plot, good characters, good background work by the author. Read the last 150 pages during our powerless October snowstorm. Enjoyable! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Virginia Walter | 12/29/2013

    " V.I. searches for a man who has been missing for more than 40 years and stirs up memories and consequences of racial animosity. One of her best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ms. Green | 11/18/2013

    " It took me a little while to get into this book. I enjoyed it if I turned my plausibility questioner off. A lot of it felt too coincidental. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 10/29/2013

    " Great addition to a great series! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Wood | 10/27/2013

    " There is a fine line between courage and recklessness. I like Vic because she tries so hard to walk that line and not cause too much damage to herself and those aronund her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty410 | 10/20/2013

    " It's always fun chasing around Chicago and suburbs with V.I. Warshawski. This one brings a hard look at crooked cops and politicians back in the 60's during the race riots. Taking place in current times whil Vic tries to find a missing person. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Kennedy | 10/6/2013

    " Another great book. Thank you Sara. Keep up the good work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alan Holdgate | 9/10/2013

    " I could not get in to the book, but gave up half way sorry Sara "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 1/4/2013

    " Well written, not too violent, interesting story and interesting characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 11/15/2012

    " this one's a winner. Lots of tension, fast pace, crimes from past civil rights struggles carrying over to today. FA, RF "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peg | 10/10/2012

    " V.I. Warshawski investigates more of the underbelly of Chicago's problems except this time it may involve her own father. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica Moss | 8/25/2012

    " You know, I just like Sara Paretsky, and this is one of her good ones. It's got some interesting Chicago civil rights era history, and Paretsky always makes me think I can take on the world...and win. I hope that V.I. Warshawski keeps kicking tail and taking names for a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn Rose | 8/12/2012

    " Great plotting and I loved the cold case angle, but at times the protagonist felt too weepy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pia | 6/15/2012

    " her books keep getting better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jayne | 1/14/2012

    " I loved it. Its good to see Paretsky keeps her character current and interesting. You care about V.I. ha dher life and her life interweaves into her PI jobs. Its great! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marty | 5/22/2011

    " Paretsky in top form! Really enjoyed this one - tightly written, interesting characters (both the new and the familiar) and a fast paced story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Mcnab | 5/20/2011

    " An interesting mystery, although I find V. I. Warshawski, the main character, a little annoying at times. Thus the 3 stars rather than 4, which I otherwise feel that this book warrants. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 5/15/2011

    " V.I. Warshawski is a great heroine and her strong character gets her into lots of trouble. The books are well written and interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 5/10/2011

    " I love VI Warshawski - love her! But this book was sad, like the character is old and tired and the writer was tired of her as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M-J | 5/9/2011

    " Hard to put down! Just a darn good investigative story and a continuation of the life of V.I. with a couple of new characters being introduced - that will be around for a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 4/9/2011

    " Love the way Sara Paretsky combines social issues with great mysteries...A nice counterpoint to tough private eye VI Warshawki is her young cousin, Petra, bright-eyed and naive, and in over her head. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ms. Green | 2/4/2011

    " It took me a little while to get into this book. I enjoyed it if I turned my plausibility questioner off. A lot of it felt too coincidental. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Virginia | 2/4/2011

    " First time I've read Sara and enjoyed it immensely. It was a readers choice for local Sisters in Crime chapter. I will check out more of her books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn J. | 12/25/2010

    " Great plotting and I loved the cold case angle, but at times the protagonist felt too weepy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 12/19/2010

    " The beginning is a bit confusing and it takes long to develop but otherwise it's fantastic! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 10/31/2010

    " V.I Warshawski is my favorite female detective and Paretsky continues to develop her fallible personality in this book. The plot is not totally believable but the characters are worth the read. "

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About the Author
Author Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky is a modern American author of detective fiction. She is credited with transforming the role and image of women in the crime novel.

About the Narrator

Susan Ericksen is an actor and voice-over artist. She has been awarded nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award. As an actor and director, she has worked in theaters throughout the country.