Hyzy, Julie A.
Hyzy, Julie A.
Born in Chicago, IL. Education: Loyola University, Chicago, B.A.
Peoples' Choice Award for best first novel, Love Is Murder Mystery Conference, 2004, for Artistic License, and for best traditional mystery, 2007, for Deadly Interest; Derringer Award for best short story, Short Mystery Fiction Society, 2007, for "Strictly Business."
Artistic License (novel), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.
State of the Onion (novel), Berkeley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor of short stories to books and periodicals, including Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
"ALEX ST. JAMES" MYSTERY SERIES
Deadly Blessings, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.
Deadly Interest, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.
Julie A. Hyzy wanted to be a writer from a very young age. As a child growing up on the southwest side of Chicago, she copied down the dialogue from her favorite television shows onto notebook paper in order to make books, and by the time she was ten years old, she was producing a handmade newspaper for the neighborhood. Her father would make copies for her at work, which she would then staple together and sell for a nickel apiece.
Hyzy attended Loyola University in Chicago, beginning as an English major but eventually switching to the more practical choice of business administration on the advice of friends and family. She soon learned that it was harder than she expected to carve out time from her schedule in order to write. Not until she made it a priority was she able to advance her writing career.
Artistic License, Hyzy's first novel, tells the story of Annie Callaghan, a full-time artist who, in the middle of extracting herself from a bad marriage, discovers she is pregnant. Things get worse when Annie finds herself a murder suspect. Booklist contributor Jenny McLarin found Hyzy's novel overly long but noted that "through the grace of her compelling heroine, it manages to keep readers' attention until the end." Rex Klett, in a review for the Library Journal, praised the author's "well-crafted narrative" and called Artistic License a "refreshingly different mystery debut."
In 2005 Hyzy debuted the first book in the "Alex St. James" mystery series: Deadly Blessings. Alexandrine St. James is a thirty-something researcher for a Chicago television news program. When she is removed from investigating a story of a dead Polish immigrant, supposedly pregnant with the child of a priest, and reassigned to a hair salon experience-gone-wrong story, she manages to make a connection between the two stories and investigates further at the risk of her own life. Jennifer Monahan Winberry, writing in Mystery Reader, noted that "the plot, while quite full, is interesting and very timely." A contributor to Publishers Weekly took issue with themes in the book that seemed anti-Catholic, commenting that Deadly Blessings "may leave a bad taste in some readers' mouths." Liz Sagui, writing in Armchair Interviews, disagreed with both critiques, noting that the characters, the "Church controversy, and the true vulnerability of immigrants in modern life, make this story a real page-turner."
Hyzy continues the "Alex St. James" series with Deadly Interest. After returning home from an awards ceremony, Alex finds her elderly neighbor, Evelyn Vicks, murdered. Vicks had earlier requested Alex's help in working through some irregularities at the bank where she worked. The large cast of suspects with motives keeps the mystery at a high level. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the sequel "a nicely balanced combination of detective work and high-wire adventure." A reviewer in Publishers Weekly concluded of Deadly Interest that Hyzy's "fast-paced plot builds to a spine-chilling ending."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of Artistic License, p. 953.
Books, November 12, 2006, Dick Adler, review of Deadly Interest, p. 8.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2003, review of Artistic License, p. 1427; August 15, 2006, review of Deadly Interest, p. 812.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Rex Klett, review of Artistic License, p. 128.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, Peter Cannon, review of Artistic License, p. 57; May 23, 2005, review of Deadly Blessings, p. 63; August 14, 2006, review of Deadly Interest, p. 183.
Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (June 1, 2007), Liz Sagui, review of Deadly Blessings.
AuthorsDen.com,http://www.authorsden.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Julie Hyzy."
Delta Sigma Pi Web site,http://www.dspnet.org/ (September 27, 2004), "Julie Hyzy."
Julie A. Hyzy Home Page,http://www.julieahyzy.com (September 27, 2004).
Mystery Ink Online,http://www.mysteryinkonline.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Julie Hyzy."
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (June 1, 2007), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of Deadly Blessings.