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Product Details

  • Series: Izzy Mcneil
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778326586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778326588
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Aims for the sweet spot between tough and tender, between thrills and thought - and hits the bullseye.. A terrific novel. --New York Times bestselling author, Lee Child

Take Izzy McNeil to bed tonight. You won't get much sleep, but you'll spend tomorrow smiling. At once a novel of sexual politics and an intricate thriller, Red Blooded is smoking hot and impossible to put down. --Marcus Sakey, author of Good People and The Blade Itself

This is a Red Blooded thriller that keeps you turning the pages. But there's more -- the wonderful surprise is that these characters will matter to you. You feel for them and fear for them and that's a serious achievement. Caldwell's writing is at the top of her game and just about everyone else's in this compelling novel that I dare you to put down! --International Bestseller, M.J. Rose, author of The Memoirist

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The bar, on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt hotel, had its doors propped wide, as if boasting about the suddenly dazzling April weather.

We stepped onto the bar's patio—an urban garden illuminated by the surrounding city lights.

"Spring is officially here," I said. "And God, am I ready for it."

The thing about spring in Chicago is that it's fast and fickle. A balmy, sixty-eight-degree Friday like tonight could easily turn into a brittle, thirty-five-degree Saturday. Which is why Chicagoans always clutch at those spring nights. Which is why a night like that can make you do crazy things.

The maître d', a European type in a slim black suit, spotted the woman I was with, Jane Augustine, and came hustling over. "Ms. Augustine," he said, "welcome." He looked at me. "And Miss…"

"Miss Izzy McNeil," Jane said, beaming her perfect newscaster smile. "The best entertainment lawyer in the city."

The maître d' laughed, gave me a quick once-over. A little smile played at the corner of his mouth. "A lawyer. So you're smart, too?"

"If so, I'm a smart person who's out of a job." I'd been looking for six months.

"Maybe not for long," Jane said.


Jane shrugged coquettishly as the maître d' led us over the slate floor to a table at the edge of the patio.

"Our best spot," he said, "for the best." He put two leather-bound menus on the table and left.

We sat. "Do you always get this kind of treatment?" I asked.

Jane swung her shiny black hair over her shoulder and looked at me with her famous mauve-blue eyes. "The treatment was all about Izzy McNeil. He's hot for you."

I turned and glanced. The maître d' was watching us. Okay, I admit, he did seem to be watching me. "I think I'm giving off some sort of scent now that I'm single again."

Jane scoffed. "I can't stop giving off that scent, and I'm married."

I studied Jane as the waiter took our drink orders. With her long, perfect body tucked into her perfect red suit, she looked every inch the tough journalist she was, but the more I got to know her, the more I listened to her, the more I was intrigued by the many facets of Jane. When I was lead counsel for Pickett Enterprises, the Midwest media conglomerate that owned the station where Jane worked, I'd negotiated her contract. And while she was definitely the wisecracking, tough-talking, shoot-straight journalist I'd heard about, I had also seen some surprising cracks in the veneer of her confidence. And on top of that was the sexiness. The more I knew her, the more I noticed she simply steeped in it.

"Seriously," Jane said. "I know you're bummed that you and Sam had that little problem—"

"Yeah, that little problem," I interrupted her. "We're seeing each other occasionally, but it's just not the same."

Six months ago, my fiancé, Sam, disappeared with thirty million dollars' worth of property owned by my client, Forester Pickett, the CEO of Pickett Enterprises, and it happened on precisely the same night Forester suddenly died. After nearly two agonizing weeks that seemed like two years—weeks in which my world had not only been turned upside down, but also shaken and twisted and battered and bruised; weeks during which I learned so many secrets about the people in my life I thought I'd been dropped into someone else's life—the matter had been resolved and Sam was back in town. But I'd lost all my legal work in the process and essentially had been ushered out the back door of my law firm. As for Sam and me, the wedding was off, and we weren't exactly back together.

"Whatever," Jane said. "You should enjoy being single. You're dating other people, right?"

"A little." I rubbed the spot on my left hand where my engagement ring used to rest. It felt as if the skin were slightly dented, holding a spot in case I decided to put it on again. "There's a guy named Grady, who I'm friends with, and we go out occasionally, but he wants to get serious, and I really don't. So mostly, I've been licking my wounds."

"Enough of that! Let someone do the licking for you. With that red hair and that ass, you could get anyone you want."

I laughed. "A guy at the coffee shop asked me out the other day."

"How old was he?"

"About forty."

"That'll work. As long as he's eighteen, he's doable."

The waiter stepped up to our table with two glasses of wine.

"Would you go out with her?" Jane asked him.

"Uh…" he said, clearly embarrassed.

"Jane, stop." But the truth was I was thrilled with the randomly warm night, with the hint that the world was somehow turning faster than usual.

"No, honestly." Jane looked him up and down like a breeder sizing up a horse for stud. "Are you single?"

The waiter was a Hispanic guy with big, black eyes. "Yeah."

"And would you go out with her?" Jane pointed at me.

He grinned. "Oh, yeah."

"Perfect!" Jane patted him on the hip. "She'll get your number before we leave."

I dropped my head in my hands as the waiter walked away, chuckling.

"What?" she said. "Now you've got three dates when you want them—the waiter, the coffee shop dude and that Grady guy. We're working on the maître d' next. I want you to have a whole stable of men."

A few women walked by. One of them gasped. "Jane Augustine!" She rushed over. "I'm so sorry to bother you, but I have to tell you that I love you. We watch you every night."

"Thank you!" Jane extended her hand. "What's your name?"

The woman introduced her friends, and then the compliments poured from her mouth in an unending stream. "Wow, Jane, you're attractive on TV but you're even more gorgeous in person…. You're beautiful…. You're so smart…. You're amazing."

"Oh, gosh, thank you," Jane said to each compliment, giving an earnest bob of the head. "You've made my day." She asked what the woman did for a living, then graciously accepted more compliments when the woman turned the conversation back to Jane.

"How do you do that?" I asked when they left.

"Do what?"

"Act like you're so flattered? I know you've heard that stuff before."

Jane studied me. "How old are you, Izzy?"

"Thirty this summer." I shook my head. "I can't believe I'm going to be thirty."

"Well, I'm two years away from forty, and let me tell you something—when someone tells you you're beautiful, you act like it's the first time you've heard that." She looked at me pointedly. "Because you never know when it'll be the last."

I sipped my wine. It was French, kind of floral and lemony. "How's your new agent?"

"Fantastic. He got me a great contract with Trial TV."

"I've seen the billboards."

Trial TV was a new legal network based in Chicago that was tapping into the old Court TV audience. The billboards, with Jane's smiling face, had been plastered up and down the Kennedy for months.

"It's amazing to be on the ground floor," Jane said. "They've got a reality show on prosecutors that's wild. It's gotten great advance reviews. And we're juicing up trial coverage and making it more exciting. You know, more background on the lawyers and judges, more aggressive commentary on their moves."

"And you'll be anchoring the flagship broadcast each morning." I raised my glass. "It's perfect for you."

Jane had always had a penchant for the legal stories. When she was a reporter, she was known for courting judges and attorneys, so that she was the one they came to whenever there was news. She got her spot as an anchor after she broke a big story about a U.S. Senator from Illinois who was funneling millions of dollars of work to one particular law firm in Chicago. It was Jane who figured out that the head partner at the firm was the senator's mistress.

Jane clinked my glass. "Thanks, Iz." She looked heavenward for a second, her eyes big and excited. "It's like a dream come true, because if I was going to keep climbing the nightly news ladder, I'd have to try and go to New York and land the national news. But Zac and I want to stay here. I love this city so much."

Jane looked around, as if taking in the whole town with her gaze. This particular part of Chicago—the Gold Coast and the Mag Mile—had grown like a weed lately as a plethora of luxury hotel-condo buildings sprang into the skyline.

"Plus, aside from getting up early, it's going to be great hours," Jane continued. "I don't have to work nights anymore, and trials stop for the weekends. They even stop for holidays."

"Is CJ. going with you?" Jane's current producer was a talented, no-nonsense woman who had worked closely with Jane for years.

She shook her head. "She's staying at Chicagoland TV. That station has been so good to me I didn't want to steal all their top people. Plus, I wanted to step out on my own, start writing more of my own stuff." She gave a chagrined shake of her head. "You know how I got all this?"

"Your new agent?"

"Nope. He only negotiated the contract. It was Forester."

Just like that, my heart sagged. I missed him. Forester had not only been a client, he'd been a mentor, the person who'd given me my start in entertainment law, the person who'd trusted me to represent his beloved company. Eventually, Forester became like a father to me, and his death was still on my mind.

"I miss him, too," Jane said, seeing the look on my face. "Remember how generous he was? He actually introduced me to Ari Adler."

"Wow, and so Ari brought you in." Ari Adler was a media mogul, like Forester, but instead of owning TV and radio stations, newspapers and publishing companies all over the Midwest, as Forester did, Ari Adler was global. His company was the one behind Trial TV.

"Forester knew I loved the law," she said, "so he brought me to dinner with the two of them when Ari was in town."

"Even though he knew it meant he might lose you."

"Exactly." Jane put her glass down and leaned forward on her elbows. "And now I'm bringing you to dinner because I want you."

I blinked. "Excuse me?"

"The launch is Monday. We've been in rehearsals for the last few weeks." She paused, leaned forward some more. "And I want you to start on Monday, too."

"What do you mean?"

"I want you to be a legal analyst."


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 13 novels and 1 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 19 year-old a young man charged with murder, sitting in a Cook County holding cell for nearly six years with no trial date. After hearing about his case, Caldwell 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 22 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.

Inspired by Mosley's case and his challenges of rejoining society, Caldwell 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

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
Have not finished it yet and hit a lull in the book but know it will pick back up.
Melissa Dupont
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.
I really like to listen to or read books that are mysteries, so this fits the bill.
Eleanor S. Lienau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Neal C. Reynolds VINE VOICE on September 7, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Basically, there's a whole lot to like in these first two novels. I especially enjoyed the continued conflict with Detective Vaughn and the detective subplot with John Mayburn. However, the on and off relationship with Sam and the other two guys were a bit of a turnoff to me...just too many romantic scenes slowing down the action. Both of the first two books are good reads though, and I'm looking forward to the 3rd.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on September 5, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like the first book in the series, this was another that was impossible to put down -- I read it in a single day, which is amazing considering how long the book is.

While I enjoyed it almost as much as the first, I had to go with a four-star rating because of all the Sam stuff, which got boring and repetitive halfway through the book. I understand the author wanting to keep some semblence of a relationship going for the series, but it was too much of the same thing over and over again -- Sam and Izzy can't decide where they stand, they go on a date, they rekindle old feelings, something happens that gets one of them angry or upset, they fight, lather, rinse, repeat. A few times would've been fine...but this seemed to be happening every chapter or two and it got old real fast.

Looking forward to starting the third book of the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kharabella on June 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to call it an "awesome" read, but that seemed too cliche. And I don't really think Ms. Caldwell's story is cliche. These books are highly underrated. If you are looking for a good mystery novel that does not leave you rolling your eyes -- and with a (relatively) realistic romance inside, this is it. The criminals are not simple, the mystery is not easily revealed, the characters know something is surreal about it all, and the girl doesn't get a happy, romantic ending. And no one is evil! As I said before -- keep 'em coming!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger W. Wright on September 8, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviews here don't come close to doing this book justice.

Reading this story, I forgot these were characters and started thinking of them as people I knew. And I really wanted to find out what happened to them.

Which wasn't hard, because the writer really knows how to move the action along. That Lee Child wrote the blurb is not a surprise.

This is also not a "woman's book"--an impression that the marketing and cover could leave. This is, instead, a really good book.

The unspoken star of this book is Chicago. If you live here, as I do, you'll know immediately that this is not like one of those movies pretending to be Chicago when it was really shot in Toronto. This is Chicago at the heart. I once lived exactly where some of this book was set, and this author got the setting perfectly. If you don't live in Chicago and would like to know what it's like but can't afford the trip----buy this book instead. It will bring you here. Terrific book that is also a lot of fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wanda B. Red VINE VOICE on September 30, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The second Izzy McNeil mystery measures up to the first. The (double) plot is complicated but well managed; though long, the book is crisply written and very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the third installment, and hoping for more.

I agree with other reviewers here that the romantic subplot (especially with Sam) grows tiresome. I also find it a bit strange that Izzy preens herself on her fidelity all the while concealing from Sam that she is sleeping with another guy and contemplating a relationship with a third. Still, I don't think Laura Caldwell was aiming for dramatic irony here -- nor in Izzy's puerile paean to passion in the book's final pages.

Caldwell is great, though, (as in the first book in the series) at revealing her heroine's insecurities. Isabel is clearly a great beauty, but she can break out in a major and embarrassing attack of perspiration. Her hi jinx in the lingerie shop where she agrees to spy for the PI John Mayburn are also quite enjoyable. Once again, she barely gets away with murder.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Haennicke on August 24, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Great thriller. Laura Caldwell has done it again. Couldn't put the book down.
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