Character Guest Post: AS DIRECTED by Kathleen Valenti

Good morning and my apologies for the tardiness (migraine, vertigo, and family issues). I’m extremely excited to welcome today’s guest, Maggie O’Malley, as she takes a few minutes and steps off the pages of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series, including As Directed by Kathleen Valenti, to discuss new beginnings. I’m hoping I could start this day over just so I could give Ms. O’Malley the timely welcome she deserves. I hope you’ll make her feel welcome.

I’ve never been big on new beginnings.

If you knew my past, you wouldn’t blame me.

Day one of my first real job, I began to receive calendar alerts informing me that I had meetings I never scheduled with people I didn’t know—people who later met with death.

The early days of my next job didn’t go much better. I lost my temper and my job, then found myself in the middle of a murder investigation. It seemed that no matter how I hard I tried, doing the right thing was the wrong thing.

I have a good feeling about this new start, though. I’ve traded the shelter of my lab as a medical researcher for the human interaction of the corner drugstore. I’m a pharmacy tech, working at Petrosian’s Pillbox. It’s the perfect job for me. Not too easy. Not too stressful. A chance to stretch my wings and test my mettle.

Mr. Petrosian, the store’s owner, has left to run errands, leaving me in charge. I take phone calls. I talk to insurance companies. I corral pills and nudge elixirs.

I finish up behind the counter then grab a bin of bottles, intent on restocking shelves before Mr. Petrosian’s return. I bypass the analgesics, skirt the skin soothers and park myself in front of the digestive aids.

As I place the bottles on the shelves, turning out labels, I think about past beginnings. Sudden ends. Bodies discovered and peace shattered.

My heart double-times with the memories, beating a Morse code of fear and dread. I square my shoulders and push back the disquiet, the sense that something new and dangerous lies in wait in the next aisle.

I push face out the label on the Pepto bottle and head for the end of the aisle, readying to round the corner where fear feels tangible. Palpable.

Don’t be silly, I tell myself. There’s nothing to fear. A new job doesn’t mean new danger, new disasters, new risk.

This time, I tell myself, will be different. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

As Directed

(A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

About the Book

As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
3rd in Series
Henery Press (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114705
ISBN-13: 978-1635114706
Digital ASIN: B07LB6N22B

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.

Purchase Links

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About the Author

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at

Author Links


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Author: thebookdivasreads

I'm a reader, an avid reader, or perhaps a rabid reader (at least according to my family). I enjoy reading from a variety of different genres but particularly enjoy fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, ChickLit, romance and classics. I also enjoy reading about numerous non-fiction subjects including aromatherapy, comparative religions, herbalism, naturopathic medicine, and tea.

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