It is evident that Sarah Paretsky had something to say about the times she was living in and definitely showed her true feelings throughout Blacklist. Paretsky published this novel in 2003, just years after the attack on 9/11 and obviously commented on the parallels she saw between this new scare of terrorism to the red scare of the 1950s. The connection is clear between the feds’ reaction to Benji, thinking he’s a terrorist because he’s muslim and the blacklisting of various writers who were thought to be members of the communist party during Calvin and Kylie’s time, also Renee’s willingness to murder over clearing her and her husband’s name.
She interconnects these two storylines and illustrates how quick people are to make judgements on things that are widely perceived as bad.
Paretsky also mentions the Patriot Act bill put in place after 9/11. It allowed the government access to reading lists, documents files, your house if they had a slight inkling that you were involved in suspicious activity.
Cops broke into V.I.’s workspace because they thought she was harboring Benji. In her essay Truth, Lies and Duct-Tape, Paretsky talks about how this bill impedes on our first amendment right to freedom of speech and if we can’t talk or write about how we feel it’s death to the people and how the government tries to silence us. In Blacklist these were prominent themes. After Marc talked to Olin he was silenced by Renee. Kylie was silenced by Calvin when he turned her in, as were the other writers.
The examples from her book show what she was talking about in her essay that fear is one of the most powerful emotions and is used a lot to control people/situations and cover things up.