Synopses & Reviews
Set in the Kaw River Valley where Paretsky grew up, Bleeding Kansas
is the story of the Schapens and the Grelliers, two farm families whose histories have been entwined since the 1850s, when their ancestors settled the valley as antislavery emigrants.
Today, the Schapen family, terrified by the lawlessness of the 1970s when Lawrence was the most violent college town in the nation has turned to that old-time religion for security. The Schapens keep a close eye on all their neighbors, most especially the Grelliers. They maintain careful track of everyone's misdeeds, printing the most egregious on their family website. When Gina Haring, a Wiccan, moves into an empty farmhouse and starts practicing pagan rites, the family members are so outraged that they begin an active harassment campaign against the Wiccans.
The Schapens worry, too, about who stands better with the Lord: their family or the Grelliers. When a Schapen cow gives birth to what may be a Perfect Red Heifer needed if the temple is ever rebuilt in Jerusalem the Schapens feel convinced that God is indeed smiling on them.
Despite parental cautions, the Grelliers' teenagers are enraged by the Schapens. All their short lives, they and the young Schapens have fought. One particularly angry confrontation causes Chip Grellier to be expelled from school and consequentlyto join the army. Chip's death in Iraq is the catalyzing event for momentous changes in the lives of not only both the Schapens and the Grelliers but of all the families in the valley. The powerful, climactic scene at Gina Haring's Samhain bonfire will forever haunt the reader.
"The comparison to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is inevitable, given the shared rural Kansas setting of the two books....[H]aunting." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"In words, images, and the cadences of midwestern speech, Paretsky paints the landscape of the Kansas prairie and the cycles of the land in this memorable and tragic tale." Booklist
"[A] powerful tale with overtones of the Wild West that illustrates the ease with which communities become zealous, ignited by fear and ignorance." Library Journal
"[T]he multigenerational narrative bristles with the kind of prickly social issues that give substance to Paretsky's detective stories." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"[U]nforgettable....[Paretsky] has written a serious, multi-layered saga that requires her loyal readers to move away from the familiar world of V.I. Warshawski....In its place, she has created a wild, wicked world in present-day northeastern Kansas that is as complicated as it is mean." Jim Lehrer, The Washington Post Book World
"Paretsky shows a remarkable flair for teasing out the foibles as well as the strengths of her rural protagonists. Paretsky's heroes are deeply flawed and deeply human." Chicago Tribune
The New York Times bestselling authors most remarkable novel yet a story of two families, linked by their Midwestern pioneer pasts, and the dark family secrets that threaten to tear them apart.
The "New York Times"-bestselling author's most remarkable novel yet--a story of two families, linked by their Midwestern pioneer pasts, and the dark family secrets that threaten to tear them apart. A strong and stark portrayal of the Heartland.--The Associated Press. Available in a tall Premium Edition.
The New York Times bestseller from the author of Fire Sale.
In Kansas, three families have coexisted not-so-peacefully for more than one hundred and fifty years: the Grelliers, the Fremantles, and the Schapens. Into their lives comes Gina Haring, a relative of the Fremantles who is house-sitting the derelict family mansion while she puts her own life in order. Her lifestyle and beliefs will put her at odds with her neighbors?and test the mettle of a community being swept up in events beyond its control.
About the Author
Sara Paretsky is the author of fourteen previous books, including twelve V. I. Warshawski novels. She is the winner of many awards, including the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Crime Writers' Association.