Monday, April 23, 2018

39 Winks (A Maggie O'Malley Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Kathleen Valenti
Genre:  Mystery

Digital Book
Henery Press Publishing
$2.99 Amazon
May 22, 2018


Former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O'Malley is losing sleep.  Constantine's aunt is a multitasking sleepwalker who, in addition to wandering her stately home, prepares meals, folds laundry and, one winter night, stumbles across her husband with his throat slit.

It's a rude and gruesome awakening that upsetting to Aunt Polly.  And interesting to the police.

Maggie and Constantine work to uncover who killed the cosmetic surgery mogul and why.  As they dig into the lives of those who knew him best, they discover that the truth is only skin deep and doctoring perception is a treatment with deadly side effects.

A gripping page-turner with more twists than a surgeon's suture, 39 Winks is a tale of lies, betrayals and greed that will keep you up at night.  And looking over your shoulder.


Maggie O'Malley is an ex-pharmaceutical researcher who was basically forced out of her job after exposing a company scandal.  She's now working for a high-end lingerie company as a sales clerk - that is, until she confronts the owner with a wrong and loses her job.

Things go from bad to worse when she receives a call from her boyfriend Constantine telling her that his aunt Polly has had a bad sleepwalking incident and found her husband murdered in the kitchen of their home.  While Maggie doesn't want to get involved - she's had enough of murder, thank you very much - she really has nothing to prevent her from going to Polly and seeing if she can help.

But Maggie's 'help' only puts Polly in more danger and higher on the suspect list of a cop who already hates Polly for a perceived wrong done long ago.  Now she has to find out who really killed Polly's husband because if she doesn't, Polly is going to be on the wrong side of a jail cell for a really long time...

Maggie O'Malley is back again trying to put some order in her life and figure things out.  Unfortunately, before any of that can happen, she finds herself smack dab in the center of another murder.  And this one, unfortunately, hits closer to home when it's her boyfriend Constantine's aunt.  It's not long before Maggie's curiosity gets the better of her and she knows there's more to the death than what appears.  Maggie's medical knowledge leads her to questioning why Polly has been sleepwalking, and the past of Polly's late husband.

Soon Maggie discovers that Polly's husband Howard had a previous life before Polly...a previous life with a different name.  Once Maggie and Constantine start to dig into Howard's past, Maggie starts learning that Howard left his past behind for very unsavory reasons.  And those reasons might be what got him killed.  But proving it is something entirely different, especially when the detective in charge of the investigation hates Polly, and by extension, Maggie; and is determined to see Polly convicted of Howard's death.

The one light in the tunnel is that Maggie's ex-boyfriend Austin is also on the case and seems (sort of) willing to listen to her.  But it's almost too late when Maggie discovers that what she knows might get her killed, too, if she doesn't get someone to believe her.

This is the second book in the series and just as suspenseful as the first.  Maggie is an intelligent, independent woman who wants to do things her own way, and sometimes she doesn't realize that she just might need help to survive.  But she never backs down, and through her own perseverance manages to find all the pieces she needs to complete the puzzle before it's too late.

I liked this fact most of all - that she wasn't a weak-willed woman who just 'happens' upon things but actively looks for answers; and while she at times can be a little too independent and put herself in danger, she never does so with others.

The plot was extremely well done, the story filled with subplots that while at first seemed to be separate from the death pulled together in a nicely woven tale of murder, fraud and revenge that left surprises right until the end.  Ms. Valenti is a skilled writer who is able to keep her readers involved from the first right up until the end.

When the ending came and the murderer was revealed, it all came together nicely and made for an engrossing mystery that is well worth reading.  There was plenty of suspense and intrigue, and even a revelation that shows how far some people will go to achieve their ends.  Quite nicely done.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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