Hyzy reaches out to readers with her debut novel, featuring a likeable heroine and her loser ex-husband. Chicagoan Annie Callaghan is embarking on a new career painting murals, as her divorce to Gary becomes final. She makes the mistake of sleeping with him one last time, which results in an unplanned pregnancy. When hired to paint a mural at Millie's Ice Cream Parlour, she meets the owner, Sam Morgan, a kind soul with a tragic past of his own.

Annie's life remains in upheaval, as her ex and his lowlife friend Pete move into her home when they're evicted from Pete's apartment. While Annie's acceptance of Gary and Pete in her home seems somewhat unrealistic, her decision to allow Gary to accompany her to her mural commission at the home of wealthy attorney Richard DeChristopher seems even more unlikely.

Then Gary is murdered and his death looks like a professional hit. Annie overhears Richard's phone conversations, which easily become pieces in the puzzle surrounding a priceless missing painting. Though the mystery is somewhat predictable, the characters seem genuine, and Annie's unplanned pregnancy and romance with Sam add profundity to this novel. (Jan., 336 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick