Review

Red Hot Lies: An Izzy Mcneil Novel

by Laura Caldwell

RED HOT LIES, the first in a summer mystery trilogy by
critically acclaimed author and law professor Laura Caldwell,
offers more than little white lies to lead redheaded Chicago lawyer
Izzy McNeil to her missing fiancé. The novel starts unfolding
soon after the disappearance of Sam Hollings and $30 million worth
of real estate shares belonging to Izzy’s mentor, media mogul
Forester Pickett --- the same day Pickett is found dead in his
mansion. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and uneasy about her upcoming
wedding day was nothing compared to being alone to figure out if
Sam is who he says he is.

The FBI pays Izzy a visit in their search for Sam and the
missing shares. As Pickett’s attorney, Izzy was privy to his
business dealings and confidences. Pickett told her he had been
receiving anonymous letters saying he was too old for his job and
he should step down. A homeless man had threatened him on two
occasions, and the FBI thinks the man she was wild about and going
to marry in six weeks is implicated in Pickett’s murder.
Izzy’s world is spinning out of control and “where
is Sam, the lover who nicknamed her Red Hot, and why
hasn’t he called her?”

Izzy takes action, gathering her lawyer friends around her for
support and contacting private investigator John Mayburn to help
her find the “martini-green” eyed man she loves and
knows would not have killed Pickett. Mayburn connects Izzy to a
case he is investigating in return for his services. An affair and
the burning secret Pickett’s son, Chase, hides are all clues
to the puzzle that intensifies the heat of this series. Mayburn and
Izzy track Sam to Key West and Panama City, Panama. Izzy
can’t be stopped when they pinpoint Sam’s general
location, and she’s off to the Caribbean. Caldwell’s
fast-paced writing engages the reader through eight days of
agonizing uncertainty, clues and confusion to a cleverly conceived
ending.

Sam’s abrupt disappearance implores Izzy to ask herself,
“Had I been focusing only on the image of him that I saw and
wanted, without ever really looking at the dark chaos surrounding
him?” His behavior was totally uncharacteristic, yet there
are facts that make him look guilty. To add an element of
temptation, Caldwell inserts the romantic attentions of
Izzy’s co-worker, Grady, who takes full advantage of
Sam’s absence to shower Izzy with kisses. So how does an
engaged woman react when the fiancé is missing? She gives in
to red hot desire: “…something was released in me,
something primal and passionate and angry. And it only made me want
to kiss him more.”

The author’s ability to write steamy and passionate scenes is
demonstrated well. I was anticipating how Caldwell, whose personal
past has been spent dealing with the realities of the law, would
delve into romantic fantasy. She teases and tempts with sexiness,
creating a desire for more as she connects the characters.

All of Izzy’s yearnings for Sam turn to anger when she
first sees him again. Caldwell pushes and pulls the emotions of
love, temptation, desire and loss. Will Izzy and Sam’s
relationship survive? “No one in my life seems to be who I
thought they were” --- including Izzy. The unexpected events,
red hot lies and time separated from Sam are revealing for her.
Even though she considers “the new mystery of him
intoxicating,” Izzy finds herself “inhabited by the
power of potential, a strange exhilaration for the unknown.”
Lovers and experiences create the many facets of who we are --- and
who we want to be with.

RED BLOODED MURDER and RED, WHITE & DEAD will be released in
July and August respectively, keeping Izzy’s fans bathed in
anticipation of another crime story laced with love and lust.

Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 23, 2011

Red Hot Lies: An Izzy Mcneil Novel
by Laura Caldwell

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books
  • ISBN-10: 0778326500
  • ISBN-13: 9780778326502