Sara Paretsky Books

Description /Buy link takes you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Sara Paretsky is an American author born in 1947 and who is best known for her detective novels following the adventures of V.I. Warshawski. Born in Ames, Iowa, Paretsky’s father, a microbiologist moved the family to Kansas in 1951. Zoning laws at the time meant that the family’s Jewish heritage limited their options with regards to living space, and they were eventually forced to take up residence on an old farm.

Get notified when Sara Paretsky releases a new book at

Order of V.I. Warshawski Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Indemnity Only 1982 Description / Buy
2 Deadlock 1984 Description / Buy
3 Killing Orders 1985 Description / Buy
4 Bitter Medicine 1987 Description / Buy
5 Blood Shot / Toxic Shock 1988 Description / Buy
6 Burn Marks 1990 Description / Buy
7 Guardian Angel 1992 Description / Buy
8 Tunnel Vision 1994 Description / Buy
9 Hard Time 1999 Description / Buy
10 Total Recall 2001 Description / Buy
11 Blacklist 2003 Description / Buy
12 Fire Sale 2005 Description / Buy
13 Hardball 2009 Description / Buy
14 Body Work 2010 Description / Buy
15 Breakdown 2012 Description / Buy
16 Critical Mass 2013 Description / Buy
17 Brush Back 2015 Description / Buy
18 Fallout 2017 Description / Buy
19 Shell Game 2018 Description / Buy
20 Dead Land 2020 Description / Buy
21 Overboard 2022 Description / Buy
22 Pay Dirt 2024 Description / Buy

Order of V.I. Warshawski Short Stories/Novellas

# Read Title Published Details
1 Photo Finish (Short Story) 2011 Description / Buy
2 Wildcat (Short Story) 2017 Description / Buy
3 Death on the Edge 2018 Description / Buy

Order of V.I. Warshawski Collections

# Read Title Published Details
1 Windy City Blues 1995 Description / Buy

Order of Sara Paretsky Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 Ghost Country 1988 Description / Buy
2 Bleeding Kansas 2007 Description / Buy

Order of Sara Paretsky Short Stories/Novellas

# Read Title Published Details
1 Taste of Life (Short Story) 2017 Description / Buy

Order of Sara Paretsky Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published Details
1 A Taste of Life and Other Stories (Short Story) 1995 Description / Buy
2 Love & Other Crimes: Stories 2020 Description / Buy

Order of Sara Paretsky Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published Details
1 Writing In An Age Of Silence 2007 Description / Buy
2 Words, Works, and Ways of Knowing 2016 Description / Buy

Order of Deadly Allies Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Deadly Allies ( With: Sue Grafton, Jan Grape, Susan Dunlap, Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, Loren D. Estleman, Julie Smith, Jeremiah Healy, Max Allan Collins, Benjamin M. Schutz, John Lutz, Robert J. Randisi, Carolyn Hart, Lia Matera, Michael Collins, Marilyn Wallace, Rob Kantner, Sandra Scoppettone, Sarah Andrews, Bob Randisi) 1992 Description / Buy
2 Deadly Allies II ( By: Susan Dunlap, Loren D. Estleman, John Lutz, Robert J. Randisi) 1994 Description / Buy

Sara Paretsky Anthologies

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Eyes Have It 1984 Description / Buy
2 Mean Streets 1986 Description / Buy
3 Beastly Tales 1989 Description / Buy
4 City Sleuths and Tough Guys 1989 Description / Buy
5 Sisters in Crime 3 1990 Description / Buy
6 A Woman's Eye 1991 Description / Buy
7 1st Culprit 1992 Description / Buy
8 Women of Mystery 1992 Description / Buy
9 Deadly Allies 1992 Description / Buy
10 Sisters In Crime 5 1992 Description / Buy
11 The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1991 1992 Description / Buy
12 Female Sleuths 1993 Description / Buy
13 The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1992 1993 Description / Buy
14 Great Mystery Series: Top Female Sleuths 1993 Description / Buy
15 The New Mystery 1993 Description / Buy
16 3rd Culprit 1994 Description / Buy
17 Seventh Annual Collection 1994 Description / Buy
18 The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1993 1994 Description / Buy
19 Bad Behavior 1995 Description / Buy
20 Women on the Case 1996 Description / Buy
21 Murder For Love 1996 Description / Buy
22 First Cases, Volume 1: First Appearances of Classic Private Eyes 1996 Description / Buy
23 First Cases, Volume 1 1996 Description / Buy
24 The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1995 1996 Description / Buy
25 Win, Lose or Die 1996 Description / Buy
26 Mystery's Most Wanted 1997 Description / Buy
27 Women of Mystery III 1998 Description / Buy
28 Crime After Crime 1999 Description / Buy
29 The Oxford Book of Detective Stories 2000 Description / Buy
30 The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century 2000 Description / Buy
31 Crime Story Collection 2000 Description / Buy
32 Writers on Writing 2001 Description / Buy
33 A Century of Great Suspense Stories 2001 Description / Buy
34 The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction 2004 Description / Buy
35 Sisters on the Case 2007 Description / Buy
36 Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe 2011 Description / Buy
37 Suspense Magazine December 2013 2013 Description / Buy
38 Mystery Writers of America Presents Ice Cold 2014 Description / Buy
39 Chicago Blues 2014 Description / Buy
40 The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For 2015 Description / Buy
41 Gary Phillips' Hollis for Hire 2018 Description / Buy
42 Bullets and Other Hurting Things: A Tribute to Bill Crider 2021 Description / Buy
43 Crime Hits Home 2022 Description / Buy
44 The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2022 2022 Description / Buy
Print: Print PDF

Paretsky’s mother was an alcoholic; along with her father’s harsh mannerisms, the author’s relationship with the pair was very strained. She eventually acquired a degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

Sara Paretsky writes crime and detective novels. Most of her books have the same protagonist, a female investigator called V.I. Warshawski. Paretsky has been lauded for changing the way women in crime novels are perceived. Beyond merely writing novels, Paretsky also helped create an organization called Sisters in Crime that works to promote the image of women in the mystery genre.

Sara Paretsky Awards

Paretsky’s first major nomination was for the Anthony Award for Best novel, and it came in 1986. Since then, she has been nominated for various other Anthony awards, this along with winning one in 1992 for Best Short Story Collection.

She is also a winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award (lifetime achievement) from the Crime Writer’s Association, this as well as the Gold Dagger Award and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Sara Paretsky Books to Movies

V.I. Warshawski was supposed to be the first movie in a series about Sara Paretsky’s protagonist. Released in 1991 and directed by Jeff Kanew, the movie was based on Deadlock, one of Paretsky’s books.

The book followed a seemingly hard-boiled female Chicago-based freelance private detective with a soft heart that enters into a relationship with an ex-Blackhawks hockey player.

When the player is killed in a boat explosion, the private detective, who has been paired with his 13-year-old daughter Kat, sets out to crack the case.

The movie took a few liberties with the original Deadlock story. Paretsky has repeatedly criticized the direction the screenwriters went, not only turning her serious mystery into a comedy but also placing her independent female detective under a male colleague because they didn’t think a woman had what it took to hold the lead role.

The movie performed poorly at the box office and plans for sequels were scrapped.

Best Sara Paretsky Books

If you want to understand Sara Paretsky as an author, then these books will probably give you the clearest picture of her style:

Blood Shot: V.I. Warshawski always keeps her promises. This is the only reason she is going back to her old South Chicago neighborhood despite the bad taste the idea leaves in her mouth. But her friend’s mother is dying, and Caroline is determined to find her father.

Victoria’s probing proves too successful, revealing corpses new and old and stirring up something deadly. This is a great book for first time Paretsky fans. Not only does the author inject plenty of well-paced mystery into the equation but there is enough action and excitement to satiate the impatient mind.

Victoria is forced to return to her old neighborhood to help out a friend. She soon ferrets out a dangerous mix of big business and chemical corruption. Every rock that Victoria turns over only reveals a new cover-up. And the threats only continue to escalate, leaving the private investigator with few avenues of escape.

Indemnity Only: John Thayer told Chicago Private Eye V.I. Warshawski that he was a banker. It isn’t until the two meet on a sizzling summer night that Victoria learns how hot he is. John wants Victoria to look into Anita Hill, her son’s girlfriend who also happens to be missing.

It doesn’t take Victoria long to discover that Anita Hill isn’t her real. She is even more shocked to learn that John’s real son is actually dead, which leaves her to question why she was sent on a wild-goose chase.

The stakes rise when Victoria realizes that a young woman’s life might be at stake. This book was something special when it first came out in 1982, revealing a female private investigator at a time when there were so few in the landscape.

While it broke so much new ground, this story isn’t without its problems, boasting so many holes and weaknesses. And the resolution is a little messy, depending on a number of coincidences to succeed. It is interesting to read the rest of Paretsky’s books and to watch as her skills undergo drastic improvements.

When Does The Next Sara Paretsky book come out?

Sara Paretsky doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Pay Dirt and was released on April, 16th 2024. It is the newest book in the V.I. Warshawski Series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *