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Claim of Innocence (An Izzy McNeil Novel) Mass Market Paperback – August 23, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"A sizzling roller coaster ride through the streets of Chicago, filled with murder, mystery, sex and heartbreak. These page-turners will have you breathless and panting for more."

-Shore Magazine on Red, White and Dead

"Chock full of suspense, Red, White, & Dead is a riveting mystery of crime, love, and adventure at its best."

-New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds

"Smart dialogue, captivating images, realistic settings and sexy characters...The pieces of the puzzle come together to reveal the secrets between the sheets that lead Izzy to realize who the killer is." on Red Blooded Murder

"Red Blooded Murder aims for the sweet spot between tough and tender, between thrills and thought-and hits the bull's-eye. A terrific novel."

-#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

"Izzy is the whole package: feminine and sexy, but also smart, tough and resourceful. She's no damsel-in-distress from a tawdry bodice ripper; she's more than a fitting match for any bad guys foolish enough to take her on."

-Chicago Sun-Times on Red Blooded Murder

"Caldwell's stylish, fast-paced writing grips you and won't let you go."

-Edgar Award–winning author David Ellis

"Told mainly from the heroine's first-person point of view, this beautifully crafted and tightly written story is a fabulous read. It's very difficult to put down-and the ending is terrific."

-RT Book Reviews on Red Hot Lies

"Former trial lawyer Caldwell launches a mystery series that weaves the emotional appeal of her chick-lit titles with the blinding speed of her thrillers... Readers will be left looking forward to another heart-pounding ride on Izzy's silver Vespa."

-Publishers Weekly on Red Hot Lies

"A fresh, intelligent and emotional thriller served up with snappy repartee and sassy dialogue." New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry on Red, White and Dead

"Chicago author Laura Caldwell will quench your thirst for mystery and suspense this summer with the release of her new trilogy. Red Hot Lies, Red Blooded Murder and Red, White & Dead follow the sexy, red-headed attorney Izzy McNeil as she attempts to uncover murder and lies. Luckily, she works well under pressure and she begins to push past not only the authorities, but her own limits.- Today's Chicago Woman on Red White and Dead

About the Author

Laura Caldwell, a former trial lawyer, is currently a professor and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She is the author of eleven novels and one non-fiction book. She is a nation-wide speaker and the founder of Life After Innocence, which helps innocent people begin their lives again after being wrongfully imprisoned. Laura has been published in thirteen languages and over twenty countries. To learn more, please visit

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Product Details

  • Series: An Izzy McNeil Novel (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Original edition (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778329321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778329329
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Caldwell is a former civil trial attorney, now Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, director of Life After Innocence, published author of 14 novels and one nonfiction book.

Before beginning her writing career, Laura was a partner in a Chicago law firm, specializing in medical malpractice defense and entertainment law. In 2001 she joined Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has taught Advanced Litigation Writing and International Criminal Law among others.

Laura began her writing career in women's fiction and soon turned to mystery/thriller. Her first book, Burning the Map, was voted as one of the best books the year by Barnes and Booklist declared "Caldwell is one of the most talented and inventive ... writers around," after the release of The Year of Living Famously and The Night I Got Lucky. The release of her trilogy in 2009 received critical acclaim and nominations for prestigious industry awards.

While researching her sixth novel, The Rome Affair, Caldwell was led to the criminal case of a 19-year-old man charged with murder, sitting in a Cook County holding cell for nearly six years with no trial date. After hearing about his case, Laura joined a renowned criminal defense attorney to defend him, ultimately proving his innocence and inspiring her first nonfiction book, Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him (Free Press, Simon & Schuster).

She is published in over 25 countries and translated into more than 13 languages. Laura is also a freelance magazine writer and has been published in Chicago Magazine, Woman's Own, The Young Lawyer, Lake Magazine, Australia Woman's Weekly, Shore Magazine and others.

Laura founded Loyola's Life After Innocence that assists wrongfully convicted individuals or other innocent persons affected by the criminal justice system in order to help them re-enter society and reclaim their lives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LAS Reviewer on September 1, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A mixture of a trial in criminal court and the trials in Izzy O'Neil's personal life creates a feeling of "Is anyone really innocent?".

Izzy, a lawyer once again working, finds criminal court different from civil court where she had worked before. Like her personal life, her professional life has taken a new road. She likes the change and the challenge, yet, she is reluctant to turn loose the past connections. As the reader travels the bumpy, uncertain, and often unsettling road with Izzy, expecting the unexpected becomes the norm.

A bevy of characters play important roles. Some are red herrings but they help add a touch of mystery to the plot, while others range from not-very-nice to the super yummy Theo.

The reticent Valerie Solara, accused of murdering her best friend Amanda Miller, is a mystery woman doing little to help her own defense.

Izzy, with her need-to-know attitude, soon uncovers subplots galore that keep the reader hopping from Amanda's husband Zavy's unknown past to Valerie's daughter Layla's secret life, to Amanda's twelve and nine year old girls, and even to the back story of Valerie. Then there is the nanny Sylvia Zowinski, with a rap sheet, and the disgruntled neighbor Dr. St. John who had yelling matches with Amanda. My goodness, they do keep the reader guessing. Izzy's searching for something to create reasonable doubt stirred up a hornets' nest.

Martin and Maggie Bristol, criminal defense lawyer who asked Izzy to work with them have stories of their own, but nothing like the "life and times" of Izzy. She has a sexy, smart boyfriend Theo, ten years her junior, who revs up the heartbeat on a regular bases, while the reentrance of her old lover Sam creates conflicts that keep Izzy off-kilter much of the time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lori Johnston VINE VOICE on October 4, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love a good legal mystery and if the mystery comes with a hero or heroine that I really like and it has a good personal drama and/or romance thrown in, I am there. Claim of Innocence by Laura Caldwell delivered. It is a solid legal mystery with strong characters and addictive writing.

This was my first novel by Ms. Caldwell and she did not disappoint. Despite Claim of Innocence being the fourth installment of the Izzy McNeil series, and the first that I have read, I was easily able to pick up the book and delve in. And did I!

Claim of Innocence is a fast read, if for no other reason than you will find yourself as tenacious as Izzy is during the course of the book, flipping the pages and keeping that light on late into the evening to find resolution to both the legal case at issue and Izzy's personal life. In this regard, Claim of Innocence is unique because Izzy is both a main character driving a major plotline as well as being a secondary character to the legal drama.

I was pleased to discover that the mystery surrounding Valerie Solara was not quickly telegraphed from the beginning and had enough twists and turns to keep things humming. Valerie wasn't an easy to character to decipher, either by myself or by Izzy, and such questions were like an addictive drug, keeping me coming back for more.

I enjoyed Izzy because she seemed real. She works hard, she (stubbornly) rides a Vespa and she's torn between the present and what she could have in her future dependent upon her past. She's also a devoted friend to Maggie, who brings her into the legal fray of the questions surrounding Valerie Solara.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wendy L. Hines VINE VOICE on September 16, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Izzy hasn't practiced law in quite a while, but with the call of help from her best friend, Maggie Bristol, Izzy was back in the courtroom. Maggie is defending Valerie Solara, a woman accused of poisoning her best friend. Valerie swears she is innocent, but Izzy feels she is hiding something.

Maggie's father, Martin, is the lead on the case but is feeling poorly. He decides to rest at home now that Izzy is on the case. Izzy wants to know if Valerie is innocent or guilty but Maggie states it doesn't matter, they have reasonable doubt. However, it matters to Izzy so she implores the help of a friend and her father to investigate and see what clues turn up.

Meanwhile, Izzy's old flame comes back. Sam left her a while ago on the verge of their wedding with no explanation. Now he's back and freshly engaged, but implores Izzy that he won't marry if she doesn't want him to. Izzy already has hot Theo in her bed, but wonders if Sam is the love of her life. Such a quandary and matters of the heart though have to take backstage until her client is judged by a jury of her peers.

As Izzy's investigation deepens and the prosecutor's witnesses fail to give the defendant a break, Izzy decides to visit with Martin, who is all too quiet lately and immersed in law books. His story, along with what Valerie finally reveals, may be just what they need to get Valerie released, until Valerie refuses to implicate someone. Her refusal could be her execution. With Izzy's love life, Valerie's sealed lips, Martin's secrets and a thrilling court-room drama, Claim of Innocence is a lip-biting suspense that will leave you guessing until the gripping climax. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Caldwell puts another spin in the testimony and it's back to the drawing board. Captivating, solid and full of eccentric and magnetic characters, Claim of Innocence is a must read for any mystery suspense fan!!
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