Feint of Art (An Art Lover's Mystery #1)
By Hailey Lind (Pseudonym for Juliet Blackwell and her sister Carolyn)
This cozy was fantastic! It had a little more action than most cozies, enough that I'd totally watch it as a show on USA or TNT. Annie is a struggling artist who had a little run in with the law as a teen when she joined her grandfather in a forgery spree. After quickly learning her lesson and going straight, she tried to make a career in art restoration, only to have her past bite her in the butt as she got booted out personally by the Brocks of the Brock Museum.
Fast forward several years and after a short spurt in ho-hum office drudgery, she was inspired to turn to interior design, with faux-finishes and the like. Until an ex asked her to verify a painting. Chaos, murders, kidnappings, thievery, and shenanigans ensue.
Annie was a great heroine, with a lot of spunk, some moral fiber, and a healthy helping of knowledge about the world of art forgery (her grandfather is one of the greats, after all). In addition, there were a lot of minor characters that I also loved - Inspector Annette was pretty darn awesome (I'm totally picturing Gina Torres), neighbor Pete was endearing, and the X-Man was very Neal Caffrey, and Fender Bender has the potential of joining X as a potential suitor.
I'm oddly drawn to books about art forgery. I don't know why - it's not like I can draw anything better than a stick figure - but I find it fascinating. Hence, the career background and plot set up for this particular amateur sleuth was a lot of fun. It also made sense that Annie would find herself investigating, considering she has a very distinctive skill set and knowledge base that even experts in the field wouldn't be able to compare to. I prefer my cozy detectives to have a good reason for getting mixed up in the investigations.