Wednesday, August 29, 2012

False Impressions by Laura Caldwell

Chicago attorney Izzy McNeil is ready to take a break from private investigation and focus on her career in criminal law. But as a favor, she agrees to work with Madeline Saga, a beautiful art gallery owner who fears that artwork she has sold is fake. Who in Madeline's tight circle of artists and gallery owners is guilty of the forgeries?
When Madeline's life is threatened, Izzy is suddenly asking a more troublesome question: Who wants the gallery owner dead?
As the case spins out of control, there's only one person who makes Izzy feel safe—Detective Damon Vaughn. But getting close to her former nemesis is full of surprises. Astonishing truths about the glittering Chicago art scene will introduce Izzy to the deadliest art of deception.…(Synopsis from

Paperback, Harlequin, 320 pages
I got my first taste of the Izzy McNeal series when I went to BEA ( Book Expo America) and got autographed copies of the first two books in the series. After voraciously reading them in my hotel room, I was ready for the next one and ran to the bookstore to get it when it came out shortly after. False Impressions is book number six in this excellent murder mystery series.
 Izzy is taking a break from detecting after she has lost one fiancĂ© and a serious boyfriend through involvement in previous cases.  She decides to concentrate on her legal career when n her old friend Mayburn asks her to take on another case as a favor. Izzy finds herself in the middle of the art world in Chicago trying to find out who has been targeting Madeline Saga and her art gallery. It's a heady world that Izzy finds herself in and she has to work to keep her wits about her.  Madeline is focused on her art collections and mentors Izzy in the appreciation of it. Madeline vacillates from friendly and focused to aloof and disoriented. Izzy finds out that there are many possible suspects, old lovers, competitors and customers who unknowingly purchased fakes. There are plenty of red herrings in the book and a final twist that works perfectly.
 During her investigation, Izzy finds herself attracted to a gallery customer involved in a messy divorce and also having run-ins with CPD's Damon Vaughn that seem to be leading down an interesting road.  She also discovers an wild side of her that she has not let loose in a long time, and finds that she enjoys letting go sometimes. She also meets a quirky group of artists and art lovers that help her add to her new self-awareness.
 One of the things I like about this series is that Izzy learns from her mistakes and listens when her experts give advice on her cases.  She has learned the hard way what can happen when you rush in unprepared. She mostly follows the law and doesn't do anything egregiously wrong. She has a difficult relationship with her father and brother and it doesn’t get whitewashed or neatly resolved.
Even though this is the sixth book in the series, it can stand alone so new readers don't need to be afraid to jump in.  I suspect that you will like it so much you will go back and read all of the prior books.  Enjoy them!

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