Mickelbury, Penny. “You Can’t Die But Once”, (A Gianna Maglione/Mimi Patterson Mystery), Bywater Books, 2020.
Police Lieutenant Gianna Maglione is a new Captain in the Hate Crimes Unit and is recovering from a life-threatening gunshot injury. The unit has just been assigned a new boss, and a new squad—the Special Intelligence Mobile and Tactical Unit, of which hate crimes is a part. Gianna’s colleagues in the group are a team that is diverse and loyal. Mimi Patterson quit her job as the lead investigative reporter for the top newspaper in Washington DC’s top newspaper is persuaded to back to work. She quit because she did not want to apologize to a racist, sexist homophobe. The editor that ordered her to do so is now gone, and coworkers are glad to have her back but on the condition that she will not write about corrupt government officials and politicians as was her style and passion. They want her to focus stories that help people in the community.
The novel is set at a time when hatred is everywhere and seemingly become worse all of the time. Both Mimi and Gianna have no hope and certainly realize that women are those that receive most of this hate, especially young girls. When the two women get a tip that there is a group of men and women that are dealing in the sex trade reporter and the Captain are tipped off about a depraved ring of men and women by buying and selling young girls for profit, Mimi writes the story and opens the door for Gianna and her team to destroy the group. They become focused on helping the girls while at the same time working with themselves to get over past traumas.
This is not an easy read because of the subject it is about. It is, however, important for us to be aware of such things that happen in our world.
Mimi and Gianna are lovers who are self-forced into dealing with the situation and we are with them as they grow together. They have made mistakes and have continued to do so and by working together, their relationship becomes stronger as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their two storylines come together beautifully and this is the kind of book that, heavy as it is, does not let the reader rest while reading (and even afterwards).