You Can’t Die But Once by Penny Mickelbury is not an easy read. It is an excellent mystery and intrigue novel, but because of the subject matter, I found myself often having to walk away from the book for a while.
The main characters in the story are Police Lieutenant turned Captain Gianna Maglione and Mimi Patterson, a former investigative journalist who is coaxed back to her DC newspaper job at the beginning of the novel. They are also girlfriends. Through their jobs they both end up working to bring down a ring of people trafficking young girls for profit.
It is an exciting, almost nonstop action story that begins on page one and doesn’t let up until the end. The characters are already well developed since this novel is part of a series of books about this couple. This particular book, however, can be read as a standalone. I did sometimes feel I had missed out learning about Mimi and Gianna’s past as a couple, but the mystery is completely told in this book.
As I said above, the subject of this mystery novel is a heavy one. It is never easy to read about children being sexually exploited even though I know it is something that happens in real life. Sometimes it’s necessary to read about subjects that make us uncomfortable, even in fiction. Trying to ignore them don’t make them disappear. Now that I’ve said that, I will give a trigger warning here for those who may have real problems reading about child trafficking.
If you are looking for an exciting, nonstop action mystery novel, then this book and this series might be a good one for you.
I received an ARC from Bywater Books for an honest review.