Friday, November 3, 2017

Protocol (A Maggie O'Malley Mystery Book 1)

Author:  Kathleen Valenti
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635112429; 9781635112399
Henery Press Publishing
276 Pages
$31.91; $15.95; $2.99 Amazon
September 5, 2017


Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O'Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past.  As a pharmaceutical researcher, she's determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab.  But on her very first day she's pulled into a world of uncertainty.  Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she's never scheduled with people she's never met.  People who end up dead.  With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer.  She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission - and her life.  Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.


Maggie O'Malley, fresh out of college, lands a job at a prestigious pharmaceutical company, Rxcellence.  She's really interested in working toward a cure for cancer, which killed her mother, but winds up working on an acne drug.  Not an auspicious start, but the pay is good and there's room for advancement.

She has a second-hand cell phone and one night while out with friends from work, receives an appointment reminder for a meeting with a woman she's never met nor an appointment she never made.  Shortly after she's stunned to find out the woman was killed, apparently in a hit-and-run accident.  Then a day or so later she receives another reminder, and this person is killed as well.

You'd think that would be mystery enough, but it's not.  Maggie herself becomes the target of something sinister, she is suspended from work, and discovers that the dead people have a connection to Rxcellence.  With the help of her childhood friend Constantine, she's trying to find out what the connection means, and who is framing her.

I really wanted to like this book more, but Maggie doesn't seem capable at all.  She's clumsy, breaks things, spills things, etc.; not the type of person anyone would want to have in a lab around breakable items.  By the frequency of her little accidents, every vial and test tube should have winded up on the floor in pieces at some point.  This is the one area I had problems with.

Aside from that, the plot was very good, and there was just enough intrigue and suspense to keep one interested.  I think my favorite character was Constantine, and I hope to see a lot more of him in future books.  This is a first novel by this author, and as such, a worthy effort.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.


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