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The King's Justice by Susan Elia MacNeal
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The King's Justice

by Susan Elia MacNeal

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1131,256,426 (4.75)None
"London. December, 1942. As the Russian army repels German forces from Stalingrad, Maggie Hope, secret agent and spy, takes a break from the Special Operations Executive division to defuse bombs in London. But Maggie herself is like an explosion waiting to happen. Shaken by a recent case, she finds herself living more dangerously--taking more risks than usual, smoking again, drinking gin and riding a motorcycle--and the last thing she wants is to get entangled in another crime. But when she's called upon to look into a stolen Stradivarius, one of the finest violins ever made, Maggie finds the case too alluring to resist. Meanwhile, there's a serial killer on the loose in London and Maggie's skills are in demand. Little does she know that in the process of investigating this dangerous predator, she will come face to face with a new sort of evil...and discover a link between the precious violin and the murders no one could ever have expected"--… (more)

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Readers of the Maggie Hope Mystery series by Susan Elia MacNeil, are in for a real treat. Maggie's loyal followers have been through the emotional ringer with Maggie as she's gone from clever math whiz and code breaker, through aide to Churchill, high-end nanny, secret agent, security liability to bomb defuser. She's been shot at, maimed and somehow she always comes back for more. Yet we see a definite shift in her mien as World War II takes its toll on her and on those she holds most dear.

In this installment, we find Maggie almost as explosive as the bombs she's defusing. The "Black Out Beast" who had attacked her in a previous installment has been sentenced for various murders and for the failed attempt on Maggie's life. Her dreams are haunted by his existence. Meanwhile, there appears to be a copycat executing more of these heinous crimes. What's the connection between the copycat and the Black Out Beast? Maggie refuses to assist in pursuing the clues to yet another murder. But helping to figure out the whereabouts of a stolen Stradivarius violin, is a whole other story.

Again, we readers are on an emotional rollercoaster ride with Maggie. The gears of her mind are cranking away a mile a minute as she tears through the streets of London. We are white-knuckling it right beside her for the entire ride. There were quite a few red herrings throughout the story. Yet, as exciting as the story was, I was disappointed to have figured out who the copycat was long before the ending. But the writing is too good to gloss over and I wanted to devour the the story right through to the end. It was a satisfying conclusion to yet another wonderful adventure with Ms. Hope.

The anticipated publication date of "The King's Justice" is sometime in February, 2020.

I am grateful to author Susan Elia MacNeil and Bantam Books for having provided a free advance uncorrected proof of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. Their generosity, however, has not influenced this review - the words of which are mine alone.

Synopsis (from publisher's website):
Can a stolen violin lead secret agent and spy Maggie Hope to a new serial killer terrorizing London? Find out as the acclaimed World War II mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal continues.

Maggie Hope started out as Winston Churchill’s secretary, but now she’s a secret agent—and the only one who can figure out how the missing instrument ties into the murders.

London, December 1942. As the Russian army repels German forces from Stalingrad, Maggie Hope takes a much-needed break from spying to defuse bombs in London. But Maggie herself is an explosion waiting to happen. Traumatized by her past, she finds herself living dangerously—taking huge risks, smoking, drinking, and speeding through the city streets on a motorbike. The last thing she wants is to get entangled in another crime.

But when she’s called upon to look into the theft of a Stradivarius, one of the finest violins ever made, Maggie can’t resist. Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose in London, targeting conscientious objectors. Little does she know that investigating this dangerous predator will pit her against a new evil—and old enemies. Only Maggie can uncover the connection between the robbery, the murders, and a link to her past. ( )
  KateBaxter | Dec 6, 2019 |
England, war-is-hell, WW2, bomb-defusal, PTSD, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, prejudice *****

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really commend the clear exploration of the effects of psychological trauma on individuals during a war on home soil as well as that experienced by law enforcement and military personnel. Maggie has previously suffered serious wounds while working at the Met, but she still has serious problems with institutional murder of the perpetrator. And now, in 1943 there is another sequential killer on the loose. But while she can't deal with working on that case, she can deal with excess alcohol, cigarettes, and defusing bombs left over from the Blitz. There is also a hard look at the prejudices of that time, and the wise will extrapolate to those of today. It's a darker story than some but very well done. Held me to it well past bedtime.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley. Thank you!
  jetangen4571 | Nov 14, 2019 |
I was delighted to get the opportunity to read an advice copy of Susan Elia Maclean's latest Maggie Hope book as I have read and enjoyed the whole series. I think this one is even better than the previous books as it reveals more about Maggie's complex feelings as she recovers from the trauma of the events in the last book. I found the book did a great job covering many of the issues people had to deal with during WWII. The book not only was a good mystery, but also a fascinating character study. I highly recommend the book. ( )
  Loried | Oct 20, 2019 |
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