Review

Red Blooded Murder: An Izzy Mcneil Novel

by Laura Caldwell

Readers were introduced to sassy and sophisticated Izzy McNeil
in June with RED HOT LIES. Izzy has a knack for being in the middle
of scandalous situations, and in RED BLOODED MURDER --- the second
novel in a summer trilogy by rising star Laura Caldwell --- our
redheaded, “red hot” heroine once again finds herself a
suspect in a police investigation.

On the verge of turning 30, the former entertainment lawyer is
invited to lunch by past client and TV host Jane Augustine. Jane
renews her relationship with Izzy, offering her a job on Trial TV
as a reporter followed by a night on the town to celebrate. Things
are looking up for Izzy, especially when young, sexy, hot Theo
can’t keep his eyes and hands off of her. Newly single, Izzy
succumbs to the allure of temptation.

The picture quickly becomes cloudy when Izzy learns of
Jane’s sex addictions and frequent infidelities. Jane’s
house is broken into, and her signature red scarf is left tied in a
noose on her bed. The lens of the TV camera is blind to the
skeletons that lurk in Jane’s closet and the deep stain left
upon her marriage to Zac. Jane is addicted to “the rush of
someone new…the feeling of instant intimacy with a
stranger.” She explains to Izzy, “When I am with them,
I get to see myself in a different way…” “There
isn’t just one person who can be everything to me.”
Bed-hopping had become intoxicating for Jane --- intoxicating
enough to get her killed by one of her obsessive lovers.

The silver lining in Caldwell’s novels is her ability to
lead the reader methodically with smart dialogue, captivating
images, realistic settings and sexy characters. There is no
mistaking the dominance of the color red on all three of her book
covers. These images convey unbridled passion and a penchant for
living life to the fullest --- a red rose, red stilettos, spilled
red wine.

When we learn that the opening scene is a preview of the death
of Jane Augustine, we are stunned, especially when we are also
alongside Izzy when she finds Jane’s blood-soaked body
looking like a “piece of art from the gallery.” The
press loves a good sex triangle, and Izzy finds herself stalked
relentlessly by the media and none other than Detective Vaughn, who
suspected Izzy in RED HOT LIES. Named a “person of
interest,” Izzy frantically searches for the killer with help
from her private eye friend Mayburn, her friends and her family. As
a favor, our gutsy heroine fearlessly helps Mayburn investigate
ruthless criminals by posing as an employee in a lingerie store.
Ladies, the perks of working retail begin with pearl thongs! 
 

The pieces of the puzzle come together to reveal the secrets
between the sheets that lead Izzy to realize who the killer is. The
revelation is so well written by Caldwell that I guessed who it was
at the very same time and rode the roller coaster with Izzy to a
climactic finality.

Izzy’s lovelife undergoes a revealing metamorphosis in RED
BLOODED MURDER. Free and single again, she takes advantage of the
mantra “something old” (Sam, Izzy’s former
fiancé), “something new” (Theo, a twenty-something
man who ignites her sex life and licks the juice of blood oranges
from her wrist while preparing screwdrivers), “something
borrowed” (adoring Grady, whom Izzy calls when she needs
someone reliable to lean on) and “something blue” (a
blue-eyed man is the preferred accessory for any woman, including
Izzy).

Caldwell explores infidelity and whether we ever really know the
people we get involved with romantically. Someone Jane trusted
killed her. When relationships go terribly wrong, can we go back?
Izzy and Sam feel “it’s not right between us.”
When a guy says, “I’m into you,” is that always
enough? Timing and fate, along with a poor choice in men, leaves
Izzy confused and wondering why “I didn’t know this
guy.” Why do the complexities of a secret relationship make
us feel alive?

Izzy’s life is a roller coaster ride that hasn’t
ended. Caldwell’s final novel in the series, RED, WHITE &
DEAD, is set to be released in August. The heat is on. Summer
isn’t summer without a good beach read filled with romantic
liaisons and exotic locales. Indulge in a little wicked dalliance
of your own. Izzy McNeil is paving the way for the modern woman to
rise to the occasion, adorned in red stilettos, merlot in hand,
navigating the sea of men.

Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 23, 2011

Red Blooded Murder: An Izzy Mcneil Novel
by Laura Caldwell

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books
  • ISBN-10: 0778326586
  • ISBN-13: 9780778326588