Bleeding Kansas

Sara Paretsky

The latest novel from the creator of private eye V.I. Warshawski is a modern take on an old parable. Set in rural Kansas, it chronicles the current generation of three families, saddled with the birthrights of their anti-slavery pioneering forebears. The settlers took care of each other, but their descendents haven’t always done so. After one family lost nearly everything, they held a grudge that’s been passed down ever since. Denied material success, they turned to religious fervor and against their neighbors. Superficially a tale of a culture war—right-wing Christian against liberal Christian and pagan—at a deeper level it reveals that the soul-killing effects of severe poverty happen on the farm to the same extent as in the inner city, and to be good, you must care for your neighbor.