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Valor Seguro (V.I. Warshawski #1)

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  9,907 ratings  ·  268 reviews
Another V.I. Warshawski novel. Meeting an anonymous client late on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. But trouble is Chicago private eye V.I. Warshawski's specialty. Her client says he is the prominent banker, John Thayer. Turns out he is not. He says his son's girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. Turns out that is not her real name. V.I.'s search turns up someo ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Alfaguara (first published 1982)
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Rob
Oddly, even though I've read many of the V.I. Warshawski novels, I'd yet to read the first one until; now.

I have certain expectations of one of Vic Warshawski's exploits: well-written; tightly plotted; intricately bound up with Chicago culturally, politically. and topographically; gritty, and, of course, depressing as all get-out.

That Vic is always always under the hammer isn’t surprising; most detectives are. That she faces tall odds is also expected. However, she's the only detective I’ve read
...more
StoryTellerShannon
A steady debut novel in which we meet V.I. Warshawski, a female P.I., who sets out to handle her first case dealing with rich people and (you guessed it) . . . treachery!

The clue trails are solid, the characters are well developed and the pacing is a tad slow at times.

That said, this novel was written in the 80s when pacing wasn't as big as it is now.

OVERALL GRADE: B
Renee
Totally within the (small, exclusive) pantheon of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone. Can a pantheon be small and exclusive? Sure it can. I just said so.

Chicago, big unions, big banks along-side small inner city clinics and a public defender turn PI. And V.I. Warshawski drives a Monza... that's a Chevy that they don't make anymore for good reason. It's what my father bought used for my oldest sister with the plan that all five of his daughters would drive it in their
...more
Stephanie
At a recent book signing hosted by the delightful mystery book store Murder by the Book, I mentioned to the clerk that I thought Sue Grafton’s twice-divorced, no make-up-wearing, junk food-loving sleuth Kinsey Millhone had influenced my becoming a feminist. In response, he recommended that I read Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski novels, saying that if Grafton was “there” on the spectrum of feminist writers then Paretsky was way over “here.”

I’m not sure by what scale he was measuring because I did
...more
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Typical PI mystery series told in first person. Slightly above average.

VI is a female private investigator. She is often short on money to pay her bills. A few times I thought I have no idea what I would do if I were the investigator. Then VI did something, and I was impressed. She is tough physically. For example, a bad guy has a gun, she jumps him, breaks his arm, rolls to the floor, and grabs the gun. The result is some good investigating ideas and some pretty good action scenes.

The
...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
V. I. Warshawski is a Chicago private investigator, and this is the first in her series. I can't quite put my finger on it, but she is strikingly masculine, the most male-like of the women P.I.s I enjoy reading about. She is also the most alone, no living mother or father or siblings. She started out being a lawyer, but switched careers after helping a friend with a problem that required detective work.

Vic (don't call her Vickie!) has a late night visitor, who hires her to find a girl. But every
...more
Kathleen Dixon
This is the first of “three complete novel” in one volume that Rupert lent to me some several months ago. I wanted a bit of light reading so I took it off the wait-shelf. V.I. Warshawski (Victoria Iphigenia, which is why she avoids telling anybody her middle name! – and she always introduces herself as V.I. because otherwise the men take the liberty of calling her by her first name and talking down to her) is a private detective in Chicago in the 1980s. She’s got a real smart mouth, which makes ...more
Geoffrey Feller
This is one of those series of mystery books I'd heard about for ages but never read until now. So I started with the first novel in the series, "Indemnity Only". I had seen the one movie based on the V. I. Warshawski character back when it was released more than 20 years ago. I barely remember anything about that film except that I hated it and the experience probably had something to do with no longer being a Kathleen Turner fan after the 80s. As for the real Vic Warshawski, Sara Paretsky's cr ...more
Mark
I don't understand why this had to suck so much. The first in her apparently very successful series of V.I. Warshawski stories, this freshman outing—pre-sophomoric; don't freshmen write too?—is good enough in terms of plot that I read it through. But the writing (style, characters, dialogue, etc.) is so freshman-like that I found myself longing for a cliché or two—not the comic-book kind you expect from immature writing but the imaginative and often ingenious kind you find in a Raymond Chandler ...more
Gary Sedivy
Female detective: nothing wrong with that. Tough, okay. Set in Chicago, which is
kind of intriguing since our son had lived there for a few years. It is kind of fun to visualize parts of the city as described in the book. Of course the story has Chicago mobsters and union thugs (sometimes one and the same). Pretty good pacing of the plot, and enough hints to be able to make a few guesses whodunit. May read at least one more in the series.
Ann
It was good to see the early V.I. in her introductory book. I have enjoyed later books and always meant to go back and catch up with the back list. Recalling the times of 1979-1982 from Vic's perspective then, and from my perspective now some thirty years later, stirred up a lot of memories, not all good, not all bad. The times then were different, and progress has improved some things, while some remain the same.
V.I. starts out with the kind of case she always seems to pick up, one that turns
...more
Olga
2012 marks the 30 year anniversary of the first publication of Sara Paretsky's debut novel and after listening to the BBC World Book Club program where she was the guest I decided to pick it up.
You can definitely see that Indemnity Only is a debut novel. There is the minute detail often present in authors' first works, from what exactly their characters wore to what they ate. There are inconsistencies in quantities of family heirlooms and thorough accounts of habits and routines. Things like th
...more
Erin
Paretsky's writing style is just really comfortable. You slip into the narrative instead of falling and it all just seems like you are catching up with an old friend...except you've never met this character before, probably. One of the best first books for a series that I've read.

Vic is a perfect mix of rough and feminine. She does the nicely dressed woman thing and is kind and empathetic, but then turns around and puts up a great fight against some mobster's muscle. She's got way more curiosity
...more
Christyn
This was my first venture into Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski world. It was interesting. I can't say I loved it but I didn't hate it. It wasn't bad, the mystery was interesting and so were the characters. Considering this was written in 1982 (or at least published then) it's a bit dated (in terms of some of the lingo, terminology, etc. i.e. Broad and Kelly Girl - I mean I could guess what a Kelly Girl was but I looked it up just to be sure). I probably would've liked this more if I liked V.I. m ...more
Venkatraman Ramachandran
Nice and simple presentation of an investigative effort from a female private detective. Passion towards her profession, hunger to find the truth and elements of humanitarian thinking make the character likeable. Couple of other powerful nicely presented personalities do their bit to pep up the tale. A diminutive and simple detective story that keeps the reader just about interested during the course of reading the novel. Indemnity only demands minimum indemnity as far as reader is concerned.
Simeonberesford
I find Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski Series very readable. The first Indemnity Only makes it clear that this is an homage to Film Noir and hardboiled detectives with V.I. Warshawski meeting her client in a darkened office (the fuses have blown)Lite only by the neon of a nearby bar.[return][return]In her subesquent adventures V I is beaten up. shoot at and refuses to given in with a tenacity Marlow would admire. I like the slow march of technology through the series in the first book she has a ...more
Paul
Reading this book again over twenty years later has been a revelation. At the time of the first reading it was a contemporary crime novel (published in the UK in 1982) unusual mostly for the fact that the detective was a woman. Reading it now the protagonist's gender seems unremarkable but the striking thing is that it feels much closer to Chandler in literary style than anything written in the last ten years, and VI, the hero, is closest as a character to Marlowe, linked not least by the wisecr ...more
Bob
V. I. Warshawski is hired to find the missing daughter of a big time labor boss, but when she goes to the address where the girl was living, she finds the body of the girls boyfriend. This is the start of a twisted case that finds V. I. assaulted and left with bruises and black eyes as she works the case even though her client fires her after a couple of days. Some high level miscreants and low level thugs make the case interesting and deadly, but V. I. soldiers on to finally close down some nas ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
An excellent read. It's refreshing to find a modern author who can handle the hardboiled noir idiom successfully. Paretsky knows how to use elements from the noir canon to great effect without falling into pastiche.

An anonymous client makes an appointment with V. I. Warshawski on a hot summer night, being careful to keep his face nearly hidden in the dim light. He gives her a false name both for himself and the girl he wants her to find. Warshawski is immediately suspicious, but the innate curi
...more
Hapzydeco
Good introduction to V.I. Warshawski, Private Investigator. Novel brings a feminist perspective to the hard-boiled Private Eye genre.
Phyllis
I have read many other Paretsky books because I just love the Chicago connection. I had never before read this, the first book in the V.I.Warchoski series.
I liked it, and it did fill in some background that leads to the other books in the series.
Without trying to spoil anyone's interest, I do find the books 'predictable', but, still, I read them because of the totally accurate descriptions of the Chicago neighborhoods.
Megan
I read the 30th anniversary edition of the first V.I. Warshawski book, which included an intro by the author that gave me an even deeper appreciation for this character and the series (not to mention the author herself!). At the time it was originally published, the main character, Chicago-based female private investigator V.I. Warshawski, was ground-breaking, and it showed that a female protagonist could be strong, smart, and take the readers on one heck of a thrill ride in a job not typically ...more
Wendy
This is the first mystery in the V.I. Warshawski series. Vic is a female detective in a man’s world. She is hired by a man pretending to be someone else and is asked to find a young woman. The investigation takes many twists and turns, placing Vic and her friends in danger. Vic is a strong and resourceful woman. I enjoyed this book—it was fairly fast paced. Written in the first person narrative, this book takes the reader into the thoughts and musings of the main character. As the mystery was un ...more
F
I thought I time I read a novel by Sarah Paretsky and made the acquaintance of V I Warsawski.
I enjoyed it, but felt the one thing that really dated it as far as I was concerned was that Vic was able to remove a 14 year old girl from her family's home and take her to live somewhere else and no-one stepped in shouting 'child protection'. The family seemed deeply unconcerned - but perhaps that was the point. However, Vic made the decision to take her without questioning her right to do that. I susp
...more
Carrie
It was a fast read (lots of action). The protagonist was interesting overall. I caught myself focusing on what a modern detective would do in response to certain situations, such as using a cellphone or internet research, which Paretsky could not have predicted at the time of the writing. Many characters and character actions were cliche, though perhaps they weren't considered cliche in 1979 (1982). I can certainly see how V.I. challenged social norms at the time. I especially liked how she ate ...more
Lesley
3.5 Stars

I was looking for a mystery novel with a female lead, and the V.I. Warshawski series caught my eye. It’s a decent mystery - not shocking, but intriguing enough to keep me hooked - and the main character is pretty badass. She takes a beating, but she doesn’t give up, holding her ground against some very intimidating characters. Her investigative strategy is essentially to piss off all parties and see what shakes loose - stupid, yet amusing. Overall, Indemnity Only is a page-turner that s
...more
Jennifer Schaper
Indemnity Only was a really good story although I felt like I had gone back to my childhood–the material culture dates the book. It was published in 1991. Without knowing that, I would have guessed it was set in the 1980s.

The main character, V.I. (Vic) Warshawski is very likable. The book is well-paced. I was kept guessing by the mystery.

I took off a star because I couldn’t really relate to anything besides Vic’s personality, not just because of the time period but because of the subject matter.
...more
Wanda
It was okay but no sizzle. It took me a while to get through the novel because I kept putting it down and not going back to it.
I didn't buy V.I.'s shooting skills with an S&W .38 chambered for eight rounds...hmm..., especially under the described high-stress situation, and doubly especially considering that she is out of practice. Under such life-threatening circumstances I would put multiple rounds CoM on every threat and hope I hit something important.
Maybe I shouldn't call that out, but i
...more
Melissaannfield
Now, I'm only writing a review of one of Sara Paretsky's books for now, just to say that she is one of my favorite authors. Sure, I know what to expect - more or less - when I start a V.I. Warshawski story, though that doesn't mean there aren't suprises. Paretsky is the best writer of this kind of fiction that I know of. I know, because I have TRIED to find another (because she just doesn't write fast enough). I love her storytelling, her characters, the flow of the storyline... please, please, ...more
Zackrid
Indemnity Only is hardboiled to the core, and tells a tale of insurance double-crosses and big business convolutions propelled by corruption and the bigwigs' personal secrets.

So far, so noir, but Indemnity Only also has its sights set on something else: female represenation. In the foreword Paretsky tells of her love of the genre and her discomfort with its treatment of women, so she consciously set out to do better. The men of the story are on the sideline - the police officers, the gangsters,
...more
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Sara Paretsky is a modern American author of detective fiction. Paretsky was raised in Kansas, and graduated from the state university with a degree in political science. She did community service work on the south side of Chicago in 1966 and returned in 1968 to work there. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago, entitled The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New E ...more
More about Sara Paretsky...

Other Books in the Series

V.I. Warshawski (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Deadlock (V.I. Warshawski, #2)
  • Killing Orders (V.I. Warshawski, #3)
  • Bitter Medicine (V.I. Warshawski, #4)
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
  • Burn Marks (V.I. Warshawski, #6)
  • Guardian Angel (V.I. Warshawski, #7)
  • Tunnel Vision (V.I. Warshawski, #8)
  • Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9)
  • Total Recall (V.I. Warshawski, #10)
  • Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski, #11)
Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5) Body Work (V.I. Warshawski, #14) Hard Time (V.I. Warshawski, #9) Fire Sale (V.I. Warshawski, #12) Hardball (V.I. Warshawski, #13)

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