False Impressions


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 ...

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False Impressions

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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.…

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Caldwell's trial scenes, breezy but effective, are key to the unmasking of the real culprit. Izzy's successful juggling of personal and professional roles should win her more fans."

-Publishers Weekly on Claim of Innocence

"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 & 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."

-BookReporter.com 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 on Red Hot Lies

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778313731
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Series: Izzy McNeil Novel Series, #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,466,996
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.44 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet 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 www.lauracaldwell.com.
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Read an Excerpt

"I need you on something, Izzy," Mayburn said, looking serious, his brown eyebrows pushed together.

"Can't," I answered without asking what the assignment was. I leaned back to give the waiter room to place our plates.

Mayburn continued to talk as if he hadn't heard me, as if the waiter wasn't between us. "It's a part-time gig. Just part-time."

I waited until the waiter finished.

"That's nice," I said to Mayburn. "But since I have a full-time job now…" My friend Maggie Bristol, who was also my boss, was pregnant and due in nearly a month. She needed me to take more responsibility at the criminal defense firm of Bristol & Associates, so I had little or no time for a freelance private investigation gig.

"You have to do it." Mayburn bit into a lobster roll, then looked around the restaurant on North Sheffield. "When did all these damn fish places open in Chicago?"

"You don't like your lobster roll?" I tasted my crab cake, which was delicious.

"It's not that I don't like the food." He gestured around with his sandwich. "But when did every second bar start looking like a boathouse from northern Michigan?"

I glanced around. Kayaks, rowboats and oars hung from the ceiling, accented by netting and fishing poles.

"Anyway," Mayburn said, putting his lobster roll on his plate. "This is an assignment only you can do."

"Put Christopher on it," I said. My dad worked occasionally for Mayburn, as well. Somehow the part-time private detective work that I did with them had become a family affair.

"I did get Christopher on it. Sort of. Research. But I need you at the front of the house."

"What house? Does this have to do with Lucy?"

The love of Mayburn's life, Lucy DeSanto, was a lovely woman, someone I admired for her kindness and her devotion to her family.

"It's not Lucy," he said.

"Then who's the client?"

Mayburn pushed aside a bottle of hot sauce. There were two more still on the table. He lifted one—Mojo Hojo Caliente—then another—Crazy Billy's Brain Damage. He pushed them away.

He looked at me. "It's the Saga."

"Madeline Saga?" I couldn't keep the surprise from my voice. "From what you told me about her, I guess it's good that you're pushing away the hot sauce. Stay away from the heat."

"Ha. Yeah." According to Mayburn, he and Madeline had engaged in a very sexy and tumultuous relationship. Mayburn was the first to admit that the tumult was his own. He'd always feared she didn't love him as much as he did her, that her true love was art and her gallery.

"Does she still have her own gallery?" I asked. He nodded. "She moved it from Bucktown to Michigan Ave. But now she might lose it."


He glanced around to see if anyone was listening. "She found out that some of the paintings she's sold were forged. But they were not fakes when the gallery acquired them."

I returned a bite of crab cake to my plate and sat back. "Whoa." I didn't know much about art, but that didn't sound good. "What did the cops say?"

"She hasn't contacted the cops."

"Why? Something was stolen from her, right? The paintings would have to be stolen before they were replaced with fakes."

"Right, but the CPD doesn't have an art crime division. Almost no local police departments do. And it can take decades for a stolen piece to show up on the market again. Plus, Saga doesn't want anyone to know this is happening. Reputation, for an art gallery owner, is everything."

"What about security cameras? Did she have them?"

"Yes and no. She didn't at the Bucktown gallery, but when she built out the new space, they were installed. I've analyzed the video for her. Nothing strange. Just Madeline in and out all the time, people she had working with her, customers."

I continued eating my crab cake.

Mayburn looked deeply troubled. "The worst part," he said, "is that whoever is stealing the paintings is trying to hurt her."

"What do you mean? Was she attacked?"

"Not yet. But things have been weird—finding doors open at her house that she swore she'd closed and locked. Things that seem moved around in her office, although she can't be sure. And then there's the fact that anyone who knows Madeline knows that taking her paintings away would cause her great pain."

I noticed he referred to the paintings as if they were her children. "Sounds complicated."

"It is."

I thought about it. "You know what's interesting? A lot of jobs you've had me on have dealt with your love life."

"What do you mean?"

"A lot of these cases have had to do, in one way or another, with Lucy or Madeline."

"Look who's talking!" He was clearly annoyed. "You came to me last year because of Sam, when he up and disappeared. And then last year? You had me on Theo's case. Both involved were your boyfriends. One was your fiance, if I remember correctly."

Zing. That hurt. The relationship with the fiance— Sam—was done, fault of no one. And the boyfriend— Theo—had taken off to Thailand.

Mayburn saw my look. "Sorry," he mumbled. He picked up his sandwich and began eating again.

"It's okay," I said. I put my fork down. "So this thing with Madeline Saga, you really need me?"

"I do. I need you to work as her assistant in the gallery."

"I know absolutely nothing about the art world. You sure you want to throw me into this?"

"I need someone on the inside. We need to figure out who would have access to the paintings and any pertinent info on those paintings, plus we need ideas of anyone who might want to hurt Madeline."

I thought about Maggie. I could talk to her. "How long would you want me?"

"Shit, I don't know. Two weeks. Max." He looked across the restaurant, past the net curtain festooned with shells. "God, it would just kill me if something happened to Madeline or her business."

"Kill you?"

He shot me an irritated glance. "Hey, I might not be in love with the Saga anymore, but…" He took another bite of his lobster roll. He chewed, shrugged. "I just want her to be happy, okay? It's like…I don't know. This is hard to explain. But Madeline draws energy from everyone around her. Really. Everyone. And even though I don't see her much, she'll sense if I'm gone. She's like that. And I want her to be content, settled, before I can totally move on to Lucy."

"It still sounds complicated."

"It is." A pause. "Which is why I need you. For two weeks at the gallery. Cool?"

Because he was a friend now, because he had helped me out of more than one bind, I nodded.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Izzy McNeal takes on the Chicago Art Scene

    I got my first taste of the Izzy McNeal series when I went to BEA 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 fiancé 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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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    Thursday, August 23, 2012Review: False Impression by laura Caldw

    Thursday, August 23, 2012Review: False Impression by laura Caldwell
    < 4 STARS This is the second Izzy McNeil Mystery that I have read.
    Thier is a lot of swearing in it. The story is complex and riveting. I
    did guess who the guilty party was before the end. Had no idea about the
    early part. Izzy has a full life and background of supporting characters
    that I have seen. Izzy is a defense lawyer and she does some P.I. work
    too. Her boss & friend at the P.I. asked her to go work undercover
    at his old girlfriend Madeline Saga art gallery. Someone has forged some
    paintings that she has sold. They were not fakes when she bought them.
    Madeline does not want to go to the police with the thefts because her
    gallery would suffer. Izzy likes Madeline and Madeline likes teaching
    her about art and offering her art experiences. Izzy and Madeline go to
    a nightclub when Izzy can't find Madeline. She learned that Madeline had
    paid the tab. Izzy was walking back and forth on the sidewalk looking to
    make sure Madeline was not outside fallen down when A cop car pulls up
    and it is Police detective Vaughn. Vaughn talks to her and offers her a
    ride home. He lets her know the bar owner was a friend and said thier
    was call girl out front of his place. Izzy is clueless about that they
    meant her. Izzy does not let Vaughn know that she is a P.I. and working
    a case. Just says she was with a friend and the friend disappeared after
    paying the tab. Vaughn tells her to call if they cant find her tomorrow
    that she probably thought she had too much to drink and went home. They
    find out that someone is following Madeline all the time. They know what
    restraunts she goes to. What clubs, knows the places she has been. Thier
    is a piece of art that arrives with a threat to it. Also emails and on
    the quest book. Izzy is getting frustrated to find out the answers. I
    like Izzy and look forward to reading more about her world. I was given
    this ebook to read in exchange for honest review from Netgalley.
    08/21/2012 PUB Harlequin Mira 400 pages

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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