Title: Red, White and Dead (Izzy McNeil bk 3)
Author: Laura Caldwell
Length: ~400 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Former Chicago lawyer Izzy McNeil is still trying to put her life back together after being involved in two murder investigations. She's still moonlighting for PI John Mayburn, trying to take down a mob player. When a sleuthing evening goes badly, Izzy is rescued by a person from her past -- one she thought was dead. Determined to find out what's going on, Izzy sets off for Italy to uncover family secrets and to try to stay one step ahead of a mobster determined to make sure she doesn't find out the truth.
Banter Points: So back in December, when Word Nerd read the second one she lamented that the book was too long. And lo and behold, Laura Caldwell herself commented on that post, promising a faster pace in the third book.
And she was right. The third book was the best in the series, by far. The action kept up through the whole book. There was no subplot that threatened to overtake the book like in the first two. While the plot is a little out there (she can't say more without spoilers), it read well and Word Nerd was totally willing to suspend her disbelief and just go with it. Sometimes, that's exactly what Word Nerd wants a book to be and this one hit the mark.
Bummer Points: At this point, there is no more Izzy McNeil. Izzy's character ended up at a really interesting place at the end of this book. It's one of those endings where if this is it, Word Nerd's OK imagining what might happen to her. If however, Caldwell is writing more, she's set herself up well for where this character can grow in the future.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Get to know Izzy McNeil. It's three books, but by the third one, you'll be glad you did.