By Mary Feliz
A Maggie McDonald Mystery #3
Lyrical Underground, 2017
As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .
Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Now Maggie must devise a strategy to sort through secrets and set him free—before she’s tossed into permanent storage next . . .
“This Maggie McDonald, the one who had friends being held by
the police, the one who just blew off questions from a
detective and who’d been asked to keep secrets from friends,
was someone I scarcely knew. But it looked like we were going
to have to get acquainted quickly …”
I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series, but Dead Storage is a story that stands tall in its own right and becomes one of my favorites. It combines elements of both cozy and traditional mysteries – amateur protagonist along with some police-related involvement – but it’s the emotional impact and complexity that elevates it above other similar novels. There’s a depth beyond what one would expect in a cozy mystery and the theme revolves around serious issues like immigration, the homeless, and PTSD - all wrapped up in the importance of community. The storyline is multilayered, the writing flows smoothly, and I never wanted to put it down for a minute.
Maggie herself is delightful as a caring wife, mom, and friend. As for her career, who wouldn’t want the help of a personal organizer?! Each chapter begins with thoughtful tips and insight, a few of which I made note of. What started out as an organizational meeting, however, quickly evolved into efforts to help a friend and his dog who were in serious trouble. Former Marine Stephen, along with the dog he depends on, both suffer from the effects of PTSD – and both are loved and respected by the community they help. I connected with Stephen back in the first book and have enjoyed getting to know him better. But now Stephen is a murder suspect and Maggie is trying to find out why a teenager was worth protecting … “Stephen in jail was like a caged wild bird. He might survive, but he might never be the same after this experience.”
I think it’s the emphasis on character development and community that makes me enjoy this series so much. The novel’s concluding sentence is, in its simplicity, profound – and too good not to share …
As it so often does, good had won out and those doing the
right thing had overcome those bent on doing evil.
Dead Storage is a wonderfully entertaining mystery and I hope there will be many more Maggie McDonald stories.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming.
She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust.
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One print copy of Dead Storage!
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