As Directed by Kathleen Valenti
Thank you JKS for sending me an advanced copy of this one - all opinions are my own.
I occasionally worry about jumping into the middle of a series when I haven't read the previous books, but in the Maggie O'Malley series, you needn't worry at all. While reading the first two books would offer more insight, you can read this as a stand alone, as there is enough of the backstory to make heads and tails of what is going on.
Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read for me. I liked the central focus of the plot itself, and can say that I certainly didn't see where the mystery was going after the characters started dropping from being poisoned. I appreciated that things were not as you would expect, as I love a book that keeps me on my toes.
The only small downside for me, I must admit, is that I struggled a bit with why Maggie's character would think she was better equipped to handle investigating a series of poisonings than the police. I found parts of this aspect of the story a tiny bit distracting, as based on this book, no part of her character's background lends itself to being a natural investigator (i.e. shes not a former police officer, or a private investigator, or even a journalist). If anything I wanted to see her working WITH the police team rather than sort of off on her own. However, it wasn't anything that was so crazy that I hated it.....it just threw me off from time to time, as I wanted to yell at her to think through what she was doing. :)
Otherwise - a great read to pass away an afternoon! And I am curious to see what comes next for Maggie's impending marriage!
In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore. But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more. The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune. As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.