Friday, August 8, 2014

Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky

Old secrets do not die as long as there exist those who know them. Long-hidden under layers of painful memories of the Holocaust and loss, V.I.’s friend, Lotty Herschel, asks for her help.Tied together by their shared Kindertransport experience, Lotty and Kitty have a long, strained relationship. Kitty’s mother, Martina, was a brilliant physicist at a time when women were grudgingly, if at all, allowed to work in the field. But the Nazi’s were trying to split the atom and initially accepted any workers, even a Jewish woman. Martina was last known to be transferred to a concentration camp. Kitty’s grandson, who apparently inherited his great-grandmother’s genius, had been reading her notes and has disappeared from the energy technology firm where he works. His mother, hopelessly addicted to drugs, has also gone missing after escaping a meth house where her boyfriend is found murdered.

The story moves through time and location – Europe in the 30’s and 40’s; Chicago in the present, but manages to move fairly smoothly through its transitions. Critical Mass is a thriller and commentary on society all wrapped in fascinating historical detail. I loved it.  


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