Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not Quite a Cozy - Review of Artistic License by Julie Hyzy

Author: Julie Hyzy
Publisher/ Format: Smashwords edition, NOOK, 623 pages
Year of publication: 2010
Setting: Chicago
Genre: cozy mystery with romance
Source: Barnes & Noble Nook download

I had been led to believe that Julie Hyzy was a cozy mystery writer, so I wasn't expecting the well written romance blossoming within the rather sophisticated cozy setting that Artistic License presented me.  I got this from one of Barnes and Nobles' free book offers and figured I'd see if Hyzy was an author I wanted to pursue.  She is. 

She starts us right off with Annie Callahan, the protagonist, crying her eyes out because she's just discovered she's pregnant.  Obviously, since her divorce from the baby's father is about to be finalized, she is anything but happy.  Life goes downhill from there.  At 623 pages, this one is much longer than your average cozy, but my interest was cemented so well at the beginning, that I never wanted to put the book down.  I was thrilled that I had this on my NOOK, because toting around a 600+ pager would not have been very convenient.  As it was, I read several hundred pages at the beach, another 200 hundred while chaperoning the g-babe's wild spree through "bracelet day" at the fair, and finished it up that night.

I loved the characters.  Annie, a mural artist, is trying so hard to be self-sufficient, but hasn't quite learned yet how to follow through on resolutions of independence.  The villains are realistic enough to avoid being stereotypes, the lackless husband and his dum-dum buddy are perfectly scripted to be hateful, and the romantic lead Sam is one of those tender-hearted men any woman would love to have in her household.  And then there's Annie's Uncle Lou,  retired journalist, who can provide just enough private eye expertise to help out.

Without spoilers, the plot involves a Durer drawing stolen from the Chicago Museum of Art, a crooked attorney, bratty kids, and an unwitting Annie caught in the mess.  It's a delightful story with a plot that moves forward nicely, and a different setting (Chicago) for me.  I'm definitely going to be reading more of Julie Hyzy's books.  Her style is perfect for me.  I've already downloaded another on my NOOK for later this year.


  1. I have liked her Manor series, but haven't read the White House ones yet. Missed this as free, will keep it on the wishlist!

  2. I have two Nooks...which we will not discuss now.
    but I must say that 600+ pages seems a bit excessive.

  3. I'm sure this is still available in print, there's no need to have a NOOK to read it! Besides, you can download the NOOK App for your computer and also read it that way w/o actually buying a NOOK!

    Anyway you want, this was an enjoyable book.

  4. I didn't know Julie wrote romances as I have only read her mysteries, which are pretty good, btw.


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