Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct

by Mary Feliz

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Overview

""Professional organizer Maggie McDonald manages to balance a fastidious career with friends, family, and a spunky Golden Retriever. But add a fiery murder mystery to the mix, and Maggie wonders if she's finally found a mess even she can't tidy up . . .

With a devastating wildfire spreading to Silicon Valley, Maggie preps her family for a rapid evacuation. The heat rises when firefighters discover the body of her best friend Tess Olmos's athletic husband-whose untimely death was anything but accidental. And as Tess agonizes over the whereabouts of her spouse's drop-dead gorgeous running mate, she becomes the prime suspect in what's shaping up to become a double murder case. Determined to set the record straight, Maggie sorts through clues in an investigation more dangerous than the flames approaching her home. But when her own loved ones are, can she catch the meticulous killer before everything falls apart?

"A skillful amateur detective with an impressive to-do list."
-Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW, Address to Die For
""

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516105298
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 218
Sales rank: 393,839
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

A crisis is a terrible time to develop an emergency plan. Be prepared.

From the Notebook of Maggie McDonald Simplicity Itself Organizing Services

Sunday, August 6, 8:00 a.m.

I told the kids it was a drill. I told myself it was a drill. But I wasn't fooling anyone, especially not the cats.

Late summer in California is fire season, and the potential consequences had never been more apparent, nor closer to home. Air gray and thick with smoke and unburned particulates was so dry it hurt to breathe. My compulsive refreshing of the Cal Fire website throughout the night revealed that the cause was an illegal campfire abandoned on the coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thirty-six hours later, it now encompassed miles of state- and county-owned hiking areas and threatened to jump the ridge and barrel down on the South Bay, Orchard View, and our family home.

This morning, a dry wind originating in the Central Valley had driven the firestorm back across land it had already transformed to charred desert. Firefighters hoped it would burn itself out due to lack of fuel, but I knew anything could happen at any time, and I needed my family to be ready.

Like everyone else in flammable California, we work year-round to keep vegetation from growing too close to our house. Wide stone and concrete verandas surround our hundred-year-old Craftsman house on three sides, while our paved driveway and parking area protect the east-facing walls. A plowed firebreak separates our barn and field from the summer-dry creek that borders our land.

"Do you want these in the car, Mom?" Brian, now thirteen, would one day tower over me. For now, I pretended that perfecting my posture and straightening my spine would maximize my five-foot six-inches and preserve my position as the taller one. Brian held an empty cat carrier in each hand.

"Leave them here in the kitchen for now. Leave the crate doors open."

"David," I called to my fifteen-year-old, who was now unquestionably the tallest in the family. To the chagrin of my husband, Max, David had recently gained the few inches he required to realize that Max's luxuriant walnut-colored curls were thinning. "Make sure to leave room on the back seat for the animals and two passengers."

"Two?" David entered the kitchen from the top of the basement stairs.

"Ideally, we'll take both cars. But I want to be prepared for anything." I tilted my head toward the view outside the kitchen windows. A plume of smoke filled the sky on the far side of the ridge to the west. "If that blaze shifts direction and marches this way, we'll need to clear out fast, no matter what. If one of the cars breaks down, I want us all to be able to jump into the other one."

"We could strap Brian to the roof." David's eyes twinkled as he nudged his younger brother.

I rolled my eyes, but a smile escaped when I saw that both of my thrill-seeking boys were intrigued by the idea. I turned my attention back to packing up snacks, water, and our perishable food. Our initial plan, should we be forced to evacuate, was to camp out in the living room of my dearest friend, Tess Olmos, whose son, Teddy, was fourteen and a buddy of both Brian and David.

Tess's house was a great Plan A, but I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of gal and I needed a backup strategy. We packed as though we might resort to Plan B and end up in a shelter for a day or two. As a professional organizer, it's part of my job to help people anticipate emergencies. It's my superpower and my business. I sighed and pushed my wavy light-brown hair back from my forehead. Using my skills to streamline the lives of friends and strangers was a snap compared to getting my own family in line.

I heard a scuffle on the kitchen tiles, looked up, and burst out laughing. All three of our animals, Belle, our boisterous golden retriever, and Holmes and Watson, our marmalade-colored cats, assisted Max as he loaded their food, travel dishes, water, and kitty litter into a plastic bin. Watson's head was buried in a bag of cat kibble, while Belle nudged Max's arm with her snout. She knocked Max's steady hands out of alignment as he poured dog chow from a ten-pound bag into a one-gallon screw-top container. Dried nuggets skittered across the floor. Belle scrambled to help by gobbling up each morsel as quickly as possible. Holmes, Watson's more reserved brother, batted at a tidbit that had bounced to a stop at his feet.

"When you're done with that, hon, can you help the boys gather up the electronics? It's too soon to put them in the cars, but I'd like them all down here charging up and ready to go."

"Yes, ma'am," Max said, saluting without looking up from his task.

"Too many orders? Too bossy?" Under stress, I tended to bark out instructions without thinking about how they might be received by the folks around me — even the people I loved the most.

My phone rang, saving Max from responding. I pulled it from my pocket and glanced at the screen as I answered. "Hey, Tess," I said. "We're nearly there. Did Patrick show up?"

The day before, Tess had told me that Patrick hadn't responded to her phone calls. She'd wanted to let him know we might be camping out at their house for a few days to get out of the path of the potential firestorm. She'd speculated that he'd gone on an extended run or become caught up in a project at work. A devoted engineer, he often vanished into the thicket of a thorny technical problem and lost track of time, especially on weekends. But Patrick had been out of touch longer than usual, and I knew Tess was worried.

"That's just it." Tess's voice caught, and I could hear her take a deep breath.

"What's wrong? What's happened? Do you want us to make alternative plans? If it's not convenient —"

"No. No. No. It's not that. It's ..."

"It's what? You're scaring me. Spill."

"It's Patrick. The police think they've found him."

"The police?" The words I was using and the strained tone of my voice must have worried Max. He looked up and furrowed his brow.

"Does she need help?" he asked. "Take off if you need to. The boys and I can finish up and meet you in half an hour."

I flapped my hand at Max, urging him to stop talking so I could hear Tess, who was, uncharacteristically, having trouble completing a sentence. She sighed.

"Oh, Maggie. The sheriff's office just called. Around dawn this morning, they found a man up off the old Pacific Gas and Electric maintenance road. It looks like he fell. Patrick runs there all the time. They ... they think it's Patrick."

"Is he hurt? Where is he now? Do you need a ride to the hospital? Is he conscious? Why don't they just ask him who he is?"

"He's dead." Tess's voice broke with a sob. "I mean, the guy they found is dead. It's not Patrick, but they think it's him."

I couldn't think of a thing to say, and Tess didn't give me time.

"Can you get down here, Maggie? Can Max and the boys stay with Teddy? They want me to identify the body, and ..." Tess coughed and soldiered on. "I mean, they want me to confirm that it's not my Patrick so they can figure out who he really is, poor guy." Tess struggled to get her voice, tears, and breathing under control. In her grief, she sounded as if she'd just finished a marathon. Breathless and exhausted.

"Of course. Whatever you need. We'll be right —"

Tess didn't let me finish. "I don't think I can drive safely, Maggie. It's in Santa Clara. The medical examiner's office." She sniffed. "This is so stupid. I keep bursting into tears. But it's ridiculous. Of course it's not Patrick. He's at work. Only he's not answering his phone. The battery is dead, I'm sure. You know how he is."

I did know Patrick. Keeping his phone charged wasn't high on his priority list. But my skin rippled with goose bumps and I shivered. Whatever we discovered at the medical examiner's office, I suspected the lives of Tess and her son, Teddy, would never be the same again.

CHAPTER 2

Emergency plans should include provisions for your pets and for anyone in the family such as infants, small children, the elderly or those with special needs who might need extra help or individualized supplies.

From the Notebook of Maggie McDonald Simplicity Itself Organizing Services

Sunday, August 6, Morning

I'd driven as quickly as I could to Tess's house, a typical Northern California ranch-style tract home built in the early 1960s, down the street from the local middle school. I parked in the driveway and took a moment to collect myself. I'd dashed out of the house so fast that I hadn't taken the time to consider my outfit. Were the jeans, T-shirt, and clog sneakers I'd thrown on at dawn appropriate for meeting with a county official? Looking in the rearview mirror, I finger-combed my hair and plucked a cobweb from my shoulder. It would have to do.

I walked through the side gate and into the backyard, where a well-appointed covered deck served as an outdoor entertainment area in all but the worst winter storms. Tess's kitchen door was always open to friends of the Olmos family. I opened the door without knocking, entered the kitchen, and smiled at Teddy, who sat cross-legged on the checkerboard-patterned tile floor, hugging Mozart, a German shepherd with a perpetually puzzled expression.

Mozart looked up and wagged his tail, but stuck close to Teddy. I wasn't sure what to say to a fourteen-year-old who was waiting to learn if his father had perished. I didn't know what Tess had already told him.

"Hey, Teddy," I said.

Tess, with high heels clicking, burst into the room, saving me from finding words appropriate to the situation.

"Is this stupid? This is stupid. No one gets dressed up to visit the medical examiner." She tugged on her black suit jacket and straightened her already perfectly aligned skirt. I had a hunch she'd chosen her outfit to boost her confidence. Her fashion sense had two modes. At home, she was schlumpy Tess in sweats and Uggs. At work, in the rocket-fast, megabucks world of Silicon Valley real estate, she was a fashionista in designer shoes and suits, with her velvet-black hair confined in a neatly pinned French twist.

In her kick-back clothing, Tess was my best pal. Dressed up, she was scary, and I referred to her not-so-secretly as "the dominatrix." The Tess who stood before me now was terrified and had donned the suit as armor to help her face today's horrifying news. I pulled her into a reassuring hug. Whether the gesture was for her comfort or my own, I wasn't certain.

"Don't you dare say anything nice," Tess said. She returned my embrace, then gently pushed me away. "If you do, I'll fall apart." Teddy cleared his throat and spoke in a voice an octave lower than his normal boyish alto. "I want to go with you." I turned from Tess to Teddy. Teddy still had his arm wrapped around Mozart, who nudged the chin of his boy with his snout. The young teen's eyes filled with tears. I couldn't say whether his wish to accompany Tess was that of a nearly grown man desperate to protect a loved one, or that of a young boy looking for comfort from his mother. I suspected Teddy wasn't sure either.

Tess shook her head, took a deep breath, and knelt by Teddy's side. Instead of the hug I'd expected, she leaned into him, mirroring the posture of the German shepherd on her son's right. It was a portrait of love, made irresistible by the befuddled look on Mozart's face created by the combination of his tilted head and one-up, one-down ears. Nobody spoke. At least not in words.

I heard car doors slamming in front of the house, and assumed that my chaos-inducing family was about to dramatically alter the atmosphere in the Olmos kitchen.

"Teddy —" I began, but stopped as soon as I realized Tess was speaking softly to her son while patting his arm.

"It would be a waste of time," she told him. "You know it's not Dad. He wouldn't have been running up there in the smoke. Not with the fire approaching. Not on the ridge. There were actual flames up there late last night. He's smarter than that. Much smarter." Mother and son looked into each other's eyes, with a big, unspoken "but what if ..." suspended between them.

I interrupted. "Teddy," I began. "Your mom is right. You need to stay here to answer the phone in case your dad calls. Or so you can text your mom to let her know if he turns up here."

What sounded like an entire cleat-shod football team of young men clomped across the redwood deck. It was Brian and David, along with Max and Paolo, a friend of the family and the youngest officer in the Orchard View Police Department.

Brian and David burst through the door as usual, but then stopped quickly and took a step back. Both boys glanced from Teddy to their dad, as if terrified that losing a father was contagious. Max, thankfully, seemed sensitive to all the emotions in the room. He patted each of his boys on the back, then rubbed his hands together, stepped forward, and tossed his keys to Teddy. With an athlete's instincts, Teddy deftly palmed the keys.

"We need your help to unload the car, Teddy," Max said. "Up and at 'em. You wouldn't believe what's packed in there. I've been tasked with taking you all to In-N-Out for lunch. Unless we start shifting the boxes, I'll have no room for an extra passenger."

"Or unless we put Brian on the roof," David added.

Teddy grinned, looking reassured by Max's action-filled agenda. He dangled the keys at the other two boys and said, "Where should we go? Is there a concert at Shoreline?" His teasing words clashed with the heavy dose of anguish in his voice, but my boys played along.

"If we're stealing a car, we're heading to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz," David said. "Roller coaster here we come."

But Brian was impatient. "Hurry up," he called over his shoulder as he headed out to the deck. "Where do you want the cats? Holmes and Watson will be super ticked off after the car ride. We got to get 'em out of there first."

The rest of the conversation trailed off as the boys moved toward the cars.

Max gave Tess a quick hug, and Paolo held up his keys. "Stephen and Jason will stop by later, but they asked me to drive you to Santa Clara, using full lights and siren if needed. They're thinking that with a police officer in tow, you'll cut through any bureaucratic red tape as quickly as possible. We'll go in, get it done, and get out in a flash. Let's go."

Paolo turned, looking over his shoulder as if he expected us to troop behind him as ordered. His demeanor seemed rushed, impersonal, and not at all like Paolo. But then I realized ... He was doing it on purpose — helping Tess by keeping her moving and preventing her from thinking too much. He'd apparently been thoroughly briefed by Jason Mueller, the current chief of the Orchard View Police Department and Paolo's first partner on the force. A marine veteran with years of law enforcement under his duty belt, Jason knew how to care for the worried and bereaved. Stephen, Jason's husband, had been injured in Afghanistan and now worked with human and canine survivors of America's wars at the Veteran's Administration in Palo Alto.

But Tess looked hesitant to leave her home, where undoubtedly she still felt confident Patrick might walk through the door, apologizing for worrying everyone.

"Come on, Tess." I held her arm and pulled gently. "There won't be room for us in here in a moment anyway. Stephen and Jason will bring Munchkin. With Mozart and Belle here, it'll be like doggy day care. If we get a move on, we'll beat the Sunday traffic as beachgoers get ready for work tomorrow."

Max followed us, blocking Tess from any means of retreat. "We've got our plan. First the car. Then a run for the dogs. And the boys. Then food. I'll keep 'em moving 'til they drop. Your Teddy is in good hands."

Tess lifted her chin without responding, squared her shoulders, and stepped toward the door. I guessed it was the hardest move she'd ever had to make. I stayed glued to her side as we walked to the car.

CHAPTER 3

Become familiar with the emergencies most likely to threaten your area, especially if you're new to the region. Annually, prior to the danger season, refresh your plans and your emergency supplies.

From the Notebook of Maggie McDonald Simplicity Itself Organizing Services

Sunday, August 6, Morning

Our journey south on Interstate 280 to the Santa Clara County medical examiner/coroner's office went smoothly. In my efforts to focus on anything other than the matter at hand, I noted the windborne scent of burning vegetation and blinked my stinging eyes. Looking out the car's rear window, I could still see billows of carbon-colored smoke, but I spotted no flames rising from beyond the ridge. I tore my gaze from the scene, forcing myself to concentrate on Tess. I could help her, but the fire was beyond my control.

Tess sat in the front seat of Paolo's Subaru with her hands clenching and unclenching on her thighs. I suspected she'd be bruised tomorrow, with no idea how those bruises had formed.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Disorderly Conduct"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Mary Feliz.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Disorderly Conduct 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Sara Puckett More than 1 year ago
Disorderly Conduct is the fourth book in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series written by Mary Feliz. Maggie McDonald is a Professional Organizer in Silicon Valley, California. Maggie was preparing her family for an emergency evacuation from a firestorm to evacuate to her friend Tess’ house. Right before Maggie was ready to evacuate her house she received a phone call from Tess that they found a body that could be Tess’ husband. Even though this is the fourth book in the Maggie McDonald Mystery this story could be a stand alone. Disorderly Conduct is a story that continues on Maggie McDonald’s story in how she manages to get in the middle of murder mysteries. This story is a great page turner with unpredictable twists and turning of events. I look forward to reading the previous books in the Maggie McDonald series. I highly recommend this book. For my honest review, I received a copy of this book.
BunnySTx More than 1 year ago
Maggie McDonald is in a less than pleasant situation. Raging wildfires threaten her home and community. She and her family are preparing to evacuate to a friend's house, Tess when Tess calls frantic. The police have told her they've found a body and believe it to be that of her husband, Patrick. Tess is in a panic, and understandably so. She doesn't want to think or believe that the worst could be true. Sadly, it is. They believe it initially to be an accident but soon fingers, rumors and evidence point the police in a different direction. So when the fires begin to abate and be contained by the firefighters, the investigation by Maggie and those around her begin as they seek to learn the hard-hitting questions. Who wanted Patrick dead or out of the way? Why? Who stood to gain from him being out of the picture? Who potentially has it out for Tess to see her take the wrap for the murder? Prepare yourself! This mystery will pull you in to the end! Disorderly Conduct by Mary Feliz is an engaging mystery novel from beginning to end. I enjoy Maggie McDonald so much as a character and I love the tidbits of organizational segments that the author has her give at the beginning of each chapter. They are informative and definitely make the reader think about their own preparedness concerning emergencies and disasters that might arise. This story is well put together. Maggie and her family are packing up to relocate to Tess's house, only for Tess's world to be rocked on learning of the untimely death of her husband. Now, the author gives us people who spread rumors, a strange website pops up slurring the family and the marriage. I feel like I was attached to a rope and the author was just gradually pulling me in deeper a little bit at a time. I couldn't get enough! As Maggie began the work of trying to learn what happened to Patrick and the people he associated with I felt like I was right there with her on the trail. If you are an avid mystery reader then this book is most definitely for you. For the most part, I can easily say that this book has been professionally edited. I do have to admit that there are a couple sentences that feel like they are incomplete. Like the author was writing and got so excited to jump to the next sentence that they forgot to finish. I will admit that when Maggie goes to meet with a Debra to discuss Patrick and they meet up again at Google, I'm a bit annoyed with Maggie. She'd been there the day before with Kath. I had expected her to be prepared for the weather/temperature conditions from what she experienced previously. Kath knew Maggie wouldn't know what to expect, so she took that into consideration and was prepared. The second time around I expected Maggie to be prepared and not rely on someone else. All in all, I truly enjoyed this book. It has a good pace that is not too slow and not too fast. Maggie and her family are fascinating characters and I couldn't put this book down if I wanted to. I was on the edge of my seat to learn what really happened to Patrick, who did it and why. I liked the added elements of the wildfires and other minor situations throughout that added to the thrills and mystery of this story. I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. I couldn't get enough. If you are a looking for a good mystery novel that will keep you guessing as to "who done it" to the end and trying to figure out the motive then this is the book for you.
lynnsreadingcorner More than 1 year ago
Disorderly Conduct was a great book! Being a resident of California, I really enjoyed the setting of the book as it was in Santa Cruz, very close to my own backyard. It was a very relevant story also as we are currently going through many fires within our great state. The helpful tips at the beginning of each chapter were very spot on and made very important points that are also quite helpful in day to day life! The mystery was well rounded and pulled me in from page 1. I enjoyed the characters and their caring relationships with each other. I haven't read the other books in this series and I felt it was very easy to get into the story and never felt like I was missing information to be able to move through the story or understand the relationships within the story. I'm excited to see what the other stories in this series are about and enjoy being introduced to this new to me author. Well worth your time to pick up this book soon!
LBD88 More than 1 year ago
Disorderly Conduct is the fourth book in a wonderful series about a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald, who also solves murders that affect someone close to her using her skills of observation and list making. In this book, it is the murder of her best friend's husband. Having read the other books, I was shocked by the victim in this book. Because the victim was someone quite close to the main character, the author was able to add depth to the characters by describing the grief and concern for each other that can sometimes be missing in other cozies. One of my favorite things about this book is the backdrop of current events- the California Wildfires. I felt the author addressed concerns about evacuations and escaping wildlife realistically. She even includes some tips and a bibliography so the reader can find out more information. In sum, I feel this book stands out, even in a sea of my favorite cozy mysteries.
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
I love the Maggie McDonald mysteries, and Disorderly Conduct is my favorite so far. This book really hit home for me because we were experiencing a wildfire about 14 miles north of where we live, and Maggie and her family were having to evacuate their home because of a much closer fire. At the beginning, each chapter starts with tips on how to deal with a forced evacuation, and the information was detailed and very timely for us -- I definitely took notes. As the book progresses, the reader also gets valuable tips for other circumstances. But the fire is not the only crisis facing Maggie and her family, and this book just takes off from the very beginning. Maggie is dealing not only with a wildfire, but also a murder, vicious rumors, and illegal drugs. With her family and best friend, Tess Olmos and her son, Teddy, at risk, Maggie is doing everything she can to protect them and save all of them. Luckily, she also has the help of her husband Max and her sons, as well as good friends, Jason, Stephen and Paolo. Maggie is a wonderful protagonist, and I would definitely want to have her in my corner because of her friendship, loyalty, and determination. Disorderly Conduct is definitely a page-turner and the action literally never stops, which I loved. This book can easily stand alone, but I think that you would be missing out by not reading the first three books in the series, which are also very good. I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
K_Kendler More than 1 year ago
This story is contemporary. Within the past years wildfires in the west have been a major concern along with their aftermath, especially in California. Ms Feliz puts you there! You can feel the characters’ uncertainty, their fears, and their hopes as they endure this major fire in Orchard Hills’ vicinity. The fire has caused them to evacuate their home and has claimed a few lives. Now find out if any of those deaths were due to unnatural causes. There are plenty of twists and turns, red herrings, and suspense. The story begins with Maggie’s family packing for evacuation of their home due to the ensuing wildfire. Then it moves into a murder investigation. This is the first in the series that I have read. I found it engaging and it held my interest throughout the story. Looking forward to reading more from this author. What I liked: Tips at the beginning of each chapter on disaster preparedness. The characters- so diverse. Family and community oriented. Well-crafted story. Gave me a lot to think about: the environment wildfires relationships with communities and families teen development Detractors: A lot happened on 6 August (the first day in the book). I’m not so sure all of what is portrayed would occur within hours of discovering a body and notifying the next of kin. The epilogue does not state the disposition of the case. Was the murderer charged, prosecuted and what was the outcome. I expected this since it went into other details under the one year later tell all. With all of the above stated, I would read more from this author and recommend her to others. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the author and Lyrical Underground via the Review Crew and these are my own opinions.
Phyllis4707 More than 1 year ago
Professional Organizer Solves Murder Mystery While this is #4 in the series, it's the first one I've read, and I think this book can stand alone. Maggie McDonald is an amateur detective, while her day job is a professional organizer. Each chapter begins with tips from her organizing notebook and they often refer to what is happening or going to happen in that chapter. I enjoyed the fact that the book was quite up-to-date and accurate as it relates to technology and communication. Of course everyone has cell phones, and the references to texting, Next Door, charging phones, Google, Silicon Valley, and building websites kept the story relevant for those trying to solve the mystery along with the characters. Another accurate factor was the depiction of the three teenage boys in this novel and the author adds many realistic details which are both endearing and amusing. In addition to a murderer on the loose, there are nearby wildfires raging and a ruthless drug cartel protecting illegal marijuana grow sites - a lot to keep the excitement level high. I only gave the book three stars because it didn't seem like a traditional cozy in that it was more serious and less lighthearted than the usual cozy. It began with a murder but I felt focused too much on the grief of the family. Several chapters dealt with how the family experienced their loss and how the community responded. All realistic, but too "heavy" for this type of book. I received an advance reader's copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone. I have read and/or listened to all of them and I think this one was my favourite so far. Maggie is a professional organizer and this book shows how her skills can be used in other areas besides organizing a house. In this book there are wildfires and each chapter begins with a tip of what you can do in advance of a disaster where evacuation could occur. There are also some great resources at the end of the book. Having shared that, here is my review of the book. With wildfires ripping through the canyons, Maggie and her family are worried they might have to evacuate. At the same time, Maggie's friend Tess, gets a phone call that her husband has been found dead on the trails he ran on in the canyon. Knowing that he could not have fallen on the familiar trails, his son Teddy is sure someone killed him. Once that is confirmed, Tess is arrested for his death. Maggie calls her lawyer to help with getting Teddy settled with their family as well as helping Tess. As the story unfolds, there are a lot of clues, some red herrings and several suspects. I thought I knew who the murderer was, then changed my mind. Along with the murder, there are also issues with drugs and cartels having several grow-ops hidden around the canyon. Along with the drugs comes some environmental issues and human slavery. Once another law enforcement agency steps in, Jason is left with only an advisory role which he worked to his advantage. There were several twists, new characters and environmental issues all part of the plot. Mary Feliz does a wonderful job with these varying stories all woven together to write a great story. I definitely recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers, especially if you like a different twist on a story. The publisher, Lyrical Underground, generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
MysteryBuffHighness More than 1 year ago
GabrielleH More than 1 year ago
Disorderly Conduct is the fourth Maggie McDonald mysteries and was easily read as a stand alone novel. Maggie McDonald and her family are in the midst of packing up and getting ready to evacuate their home because of the devastating, rapidly spreading wildfire approaching Silicon Valley. The whole family is planning to move to safer ground at Maggie’s best friend Tess’s house. As they rush to evacuate, they receive a frantic call from Tess who’s been worried because her husband Patrick has been out of touch longer than usual. The sheriff’s office has called and they think they’ve found Patrick’s body and while Tess is sure this must all be some terrible mistake, she soon finds out her world has turned upside down. What initially looks like an accidental fall soon becomes far more suspicious and with Tess being a main suspect, it’s up to Maggie, her family, and friends to help keep both families safe and find justice for Patrick. I haven’t read all the books in the series so although it was a fine stand alone I did miss the little nuances between the characters and within relationships, however I’m just the kind of reader that enjoys the backstory too. This was an emotional journey and I thought the author did a good job of conveying that while still smoothly delving into the mystery. There were definitely a couple of surprises and the killer remained a mystery to me till the end. I loved the little tips at the beginning of each chapter even though since I live in Hawaii many didn’t apply to me, and at the end of the book are a few disaster preparedness websites including one for all those people waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse. Overall it was a pretty good read and the author was particularly good at laying out how they went about solving the mystery step by step. I received a copy of this book, am voluntarily reviewing it, and all opinions are my own.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
This is another great cozy murder mystery story, the fourth in the series but the first one I’ve read - and I really enjoyed it, though I’m now tempted to go back and read the earlier books once my tbr pile is lower! It has fire, family, intrigue and a Golden Retriever in this hotly paced murder mystery. Maggie McDonald is a professional organiser, helping others sort out their lives and giving tips, too. You’ll discover some of the tips as you read the story because each chapter starts by sharing one of them. When her best friend is arrested after her husband is found murdered, Maggie helps organise support for her friend’s family and starts to investigate what happened, too. Get ready for danger, surprises and revelations as this fast paced story progresses. With wildfire’s burning, there’s much more to this story than it first appears. I hadn’t read anything by this author before but I’ll definitely be looking out for more by them in future! I have no hesitation in recommending this intriguing murder mystery to anyone who enjoys cosy mysteries with great characters, a real sense of family and fun, too. I requested and was given a copy of this book, via NetGalley. This is my honest review of the book after choosing to read it.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
This series just keeps getting better and stronger with each book. The wildfires in California are all over the news these days, and setting this mystery near one in the Silicon Valley area is very timely. The fire and its’ destruction add an element of suspense to the story. It is a good vehicle to cover up a murder or other nefarious acts that are going on in the mountains and woods near the McDonald home. I like Maggie a lot, her organizational career helps her keep calm as she is prepared for many different situations. When her friend is the first suspect in the death of her husband. Maggie not only looks after Teddy, Tess’s son, but attempts to clear her name as well. I like the support and help Maggie gets from her own family too.
Hershey07 More than 1 year ago
4.5 STARS Great, enjoyable read!!! It has all the components that I love in a book...great characters, a great storyline, and my favorite, a dog!!!! Maggie is professional organizer, but she finds herself in a dangerous position. She is making preparations to evacuate her home with her family as the California fires creep closer. On top of that, she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery that strikes close to home, her best friend, Tess’s husband, Patrick’s, body is found, and his running mate is nowhere to be found. She has to be a support to Tess and Tess’s children, all the while being there for her own children as Patrick’s death heavily impacted them all. As she is dealing with all of this, her family is now being threatened. She definitely has her work cut out for her to find this killer. I love when I think I have the mystery solved, and the writer adds another twist. This book was full of twists. It was emotional too as Tess was dealing with a devastating loss that was completely unexpected. Maggie is a wonderful friend and is with Tess every step of the way. I loved seeing how strong that friendship was. The book is very well-written with engaging characters, and the mystery really kept me guessing. I love the beginning of each chapter with a snippet taken from her notebook of organization. It really fit in with the book! This is the first I have read in the series, but I found that I had no problem reading it as a standalone. I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
Wildfires have been in the news a lot lately. They destroy everything in their path and seem to have a mind of their own. How frightening it would be to see the threat of a wildfire close to your home. Maggie is facing that very danger and decides it is time for action. She prepares her family for evacuation and I enjoyed reading how detailed she was about what to bring and how to prepare the home they were leaving behind. There must have been butterflies going their stomachs as they saw the fire rage closer to them. When a body is found among the area where the fire is , it shakes the town up. Maggie's best friend, Tess is about to get some very upsetting news. I did like how detailed the author was when the body was identified at the morgue. We have all seen those shows where they pull the body out of a slot and the family stares at it. Technology has come a long way and I think it makes more sense to look at the body on a screen to soften the agony the family is going through. I wasn't surprised that Tess was arrested, but I was quite impressed with her son. He is one sharp teenager asking questions that the officers should have been asking others instead of his mom. The big question is why was Patrick up there near the fire and who wanted him dead? The author gives us several suspects to consider and I tried really hard to figure out who did it and why. I was unsuccessful and pleased that the author had me guessing till the end. There are many twists in the story and I loved how Maggie was determined that her best friend would not be found guilty. It felt like a story that could happen in any neighborhood and of course there is always those gossipy people. I often wonder why people say unkind things when a family is going through a traumatic event. It makes me furious when the media interviews neighbors who want their fifteen minutes of fame. The story is very well written and brings friends closer together while being able to depend on the truth to come out. Several of the characters were a challenge to like such as Robert Wu. He works with Tess and didn't hide his dislike for Patrick at all. Robert was rude in a way and hinted that Patrick was holding Tess back in her job. I found Robert to be very unpleasant and wanted to slap the smirk off his face. I enjoyed the different people Maggie interviewed to clear her friend's name. Each character seemed to have a reason to kill Patrick so my list of suspects was getting longer. The story gets more intense as Maggie digs further into what happened the day Patrick was killed. The ending is quite explosive and really intense . I loved learning about the swat team and other law enforcement agencies involved. I didn't expect how in depth the mystery went. I was so engrossed in it, I didn't want it to end. I love how the story started as a murder but turned into so much more. At the end of the book the author has given readers information about emergency preparations. It is filled with helpful websites that readers should look into so they will not be caught off guard in an emergency. I received a copy of this book from The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
Wildfires have been in the news a lot lately. They destroy everything in their path and seem to have a mind of their own. How frightening it would be to see the threat of a wildfire close to your home. Maggie is facing that very danger and decides it is time for action. She prepares her family for evacuation and I enjoyed reading how detailed she was about what to bring and how to prepare the home they were leaving behind. There must have been butterflies going their stomachs as they saw the fire rage closer to them. When a body is found among the area where the fire is , it shakes the town up. Maggie's best friend, Tess is about to get some very upsetting news. I did like how detailed the author was when the body was identified at the morgue. We have all seen those shows where they pull the body out of a slot and the family stares at it. Technology has come a long way and I think it makes more sense to look at the body on a screen to soften the agony the family is going through. I wasn't surprised that Tess was arrested, but I was quite impressed with her son. He is one sharp teenager asking questions that the officers should have been asking others instead of his mom. The big question is why was Patrick up there near the fire and who wanted him dead? The author gives us several suspects to consider and I tried really hard to figure out who did it and why. I was unsuccessful and pleased that the author had me guessing till the end. There are many twists in the story and I loved how Maggie was determined that her best friend would not be found guilty. It felt like a story that could happen in any neighborhood and of course there is always those gossipy people. I often wonder why people say unkind things when a family is going through a traumatic event. It makes me furious when the media interviews neighbors who want their fifteen minutes of fame. The story is very well written and brings friends closer together while being able to depend on the truth to come out. Several of the characters were a challenge to like such as Robert Wu. He works with Tess and didn't hide his dislike for Patrick at all. Robert was rude in a way and hinted that Patrick was holding Tess back in her job. I found Robert to be very unpleasant and wanted to slap the smirk off his face. I enjoyed the different people Maggie interviewed to clear her friend's name. Each character seemed to have a reason to kill Patrick so my list of suspects was getting longer. The story gets more intense as Maggie digs further into what happened the day Patrick was killed. The ending is quite explosive and really intense . I loved learning about the swat team and other law enforcement agencies involved. I didn't expect how in depth the mystery went. I was so engrossed in it, I didn't want it to end. I love how the story started as a murder but turned into so much more. At the end of the book the author has given readers information about emergency preparations. It is filled with helpful websites that readers should look into so they will not be caught off guard in an emergency. I received a copy of this book from The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Disorderly Conduct by Mary Feliz is the fourth installment in A Maggie McDonald Mystery series. Devastating wild fires are ravaging through the hills above Silicon Valley close to where Maggie McDonald and her family live on their farm. They are preparing to evacuate when Maggie receives a call from her best friend, Tess Olmos. Tess’s husband, Patrick had not been in touch which is not unusual (he gets caught up in his work). But, then she is contacted by the police stating they believe they found her husband in the hills and they need her identify the body. Tess and her son, Teddy are devastated by the news and have trouble believing Patrick’s death was accidental. They soon discover that Patrick was murdered when the police arrive to search her home and arrest Tess. The evidence the police find in Tess’s house seals her fate. Maggie needs to sort through the clues and question the suspects to pinpoint Patrick’s killer before Teddy loses both of his parents. I found Disorderly Conduct to be nicely written and to have a quick pace. The mystery becomes complex when it is discovered that criminals are growing marijuana illegally on the public land in the hills above their farm. It happened to be where Patrick ran frequently. However, the mystery takes up a small portion of the book. I wish the author had made Patrick’s murder the focus. The story talks about the fires that are ravaging through the Santa Cruz mountains destroying the vegetation and forcing wildlife along with humans to flee. There are helpful tips at the beginning of each chapter on how people can prepare for emergencies (fires, hurricanes). The items we should have available in our home and car along with planning where you would go. It is important to remember your pets in your plans. There are great characters in A Maggie McDonald Mystery series. Maggie is a smart, strong woman who can handle any situation thrown at her. The kids and the animals add humor to the story (and it makes me very happy that I had a daughter instead of a son). The various families are close and help each other in times of crisis (like Tess taking in the McDonald family). While Disorderly Conduct could be read alone, I recommend reading Address to Die For first. My rating for Disorderly Conduct is 3 out of 5 stars. Disorderly Conduct addresses some tough topics in a different way. Return to Orchard View and join Maggie as she sets out to catch a murderer and save her best friend.
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
Fourth in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series, Disorderly Conduct is different from the earlier mysteries. Each chapter begins with a quote from Maggie’s notebook regarding preparing for disasters. Living in California where the risk of sweeping fires is of great concern to the residents, Maggie, as a Professional Organizer, includes details about planning for evacuation of family and pets. This time, she is faced with putting those tasks into orderly practice for her own loved ones. Raging fire threatens to jump the ridge to the McDonald home, one that has withstood California challenges for a century. As Maggie and her family prepare to take their needs and their pets to best friend Tess’s house, Tess calls with a bizarre request. She received a call regarding her husband, Patrick, who had not come home from work the night before. An engineer working on classified projects, he sometimes gets caught up in a project and loses track of time. The police believe that a body they found where Patrick often went running, in range of the fire, is Patrick. Tess has been asked to go to the medical examiner’s office to identify him. Maggie’s husband Max, her sons, and pets go to Tess’s home, and will stay with Teddy, her teenage son and close friend of Maggie’s teens. Tess believes it is not Patrick, she will go to the ME’s just to prove it. Paolo, a young man with the local police department, drives her and Maggie there and tries to prepare Tess for the process. Nothing could have prepared Tess, however, for the horror of seeing a photo of the remains of her husband. Nothing could ever prepare a family for a husband’s death. Or learning that Patrick had been murdered, and Tess herself being arrested for the murder. Maggie wasn’t going to get involved with helping solve any more murders, but when 14-year-old Teddy asks her to find the truth, she cannot refuse. Tess is her best friend, and Patrick is the guy everybody liked who helped anyone in need. Few authors could write this mystery with the compassion and skill that Mary Feliz has. Her characters could walk, run, or wheel out of the pages, so well-defined they are. In some ways it was hard to read – it was so personal, I wanted to jump into the pages and find whoever ripped apart this family’s very essence! Amidst gossips and newscasters, Maggie strived to help maintain the background order of her best friend’s home even while asking questions from those who knew Patrick. One of the most heartwarming things was how friends of the two families came together to help Tess and Teddy through the trauma of Patrick’s murder and Tess being in jail. Just as Patrick would have helped any of them with similar circumstances. The plot twists definitely kept me engaged in the mystery, and I simply wasn’t sure who really was the bad guy. The resolution brought unexpected surprises. It is tough when it is so personal to the characters this reader has come to appreciate – temporary evacuation, murder, and false arrest. It is personal to those who realistically lose loved ones every day, whether through accidents or murder, or those who struggle with fires, hurricanes, or other storms. Because of how the author has portrayed her characters and the subjects, I highly recommend this mystery. It is very well-written with a mystery that was a challenge to solve. From a grateful heart: I received a copy of this e-arc from the publisher and NetGalley, and was not obligated to provide a review.