Red Blooded Murder is book 2 in Laura Caldwell’s Izzy McNeil mystery series (I reviewed book 1, Red Hot Lies, for last month’s review). I was so impressed with book 1, I wondered how I would feel about book 2. It was even better.

The first book was very fast-paced and introduced many characters and at times I was on overload and had to take breaks now and then. I’m not used to reading such fast-paced books, especially since Laura Caldwell’s earlier books were more of a slower-paced suspense, ramping up to thriller, and now mystery. As mystery readers know, there are a lot of details in a mystery and probably why many are drawn to them – and the fast pace with page-turning excitement.

But what made me enjoy book 2 even more than book 1 (and I loved book 1) is that the mystery in book 2 centered around personal relationships even more than book 1. And that’s what I love about Laura Caldwell’s writing. Even in her mystery series, she has strong characters with interesting relationships, so you don’t just feel like you’re solving a mystery. No, there’s dating, dive bars, Blue Moon Beer, and in the case of book 2, hot, hot, hot sex – or the illusion of it. That’s where I prefer mysteries over romance – Laura Caldwell has romance in her mysteries, the sexual heat is suggested, but the door is mostly closed. I don’t need to read pages and pages of intimate details. I’d love to give you an example and share the best line of book 2, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. 🙂 Instead, I’ll leave you with an excerpt and blurb on the back cover:


For the first time in my adult life I was flying without a net. Fear was nibbling at my insides, creeping its way into my brain. I was buzzing with apprehension. But the job offer from Jane was a bolt of calm, clean sunshine breaking through the murky depths of my nerves.


Chicago is the Windy City, and these days the winds of change are whipping Izzy McNeil’s life all over the map. A high-profile job on Trail TV lands her in the hot seat. After a shocking end to her engagement, she finds herself juggling not only her ex-fiance, but a guy she never expected. And a moonlighting ndercover gig has her digging deep into worlds she barely knew existed.

But all of this takes a backseat when Izzy’s friend winds up brutally murdered. Suddenly, Izzy must balance the demands of a voracious media and the knowledge that she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought.

Next month: you guessed it – book 3, Red, White, & Dead– it just gets better and better.


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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.