You don’t need to be a cop to investigate crimes, like Maggie MacGowen, you can also be a documentary filmmaker.
Who is Maggie MacGowen?
That’s right, Maggie MacGowen is an investigative documentary film maker, and the main protagonist of the crime novel series written by Edgar Award-winning author Wendy Hornsby.
Working on her documentaries leads Maggie MacGowen to investigate, but her complicated family life is also a source of dangers and mysteries.
FYI, the first five books were published between 1993 and 1998. The series came back after 10 years with book 6. Since then, new books are coming out regularly.
Maggie MacGowen Books in Order:
- Telling Lies – When Maggie MacGowen was a girl, her sister Emily lived the life of a leftist radical on the run from the FBI. Twenty-two years after the FBI finally caught her, Emily lives in Los Angeles. When one of her old radical buddies comes out of hiding and surrenders to the police, their long-ago crimes become front-page news. Emily calls Maggie, now a documentary filmmaker, and asks her to come visit. By the time Maggie arrives in Los Angeles, Emily is nearly dead.
- Midnight Baby – In Los Angeles making a documentary about upscale day cares, Maggie MacGowen visits MacArthur Park to get contrasting footage of the pubescent prostitutes that populate its dark corners. There she meets Pisces, a fourteen-year-old hooker with manners that don’t match her profession. The next day, Pisces is dead, her throat slashed by an unknown hand.
- Bad Intent – After making progressive documentary films for decades, Maggie MacGowen did not expect to fall in love with a Los Angeles cop. But Mike Trent, whom she met while investigating her sister’s shooting, is no Los Angeles Police Department stereotype. He inspires her to uproot herself and her daughter from San Francisco and move down to L.A. It takes only a week for their new life to collapse.
- 77th Street Requiem – A long time ago, Roy Frady was a perfect cop. Now he’s perfect fodder for one of Maggie MacGowen’s documentaries. Frady worked narcotics in the Seventy-seventh Street Division as part of a unit nicknamed the Four Horsemen. A merry band of iron-fisted brothers, they kept their district clean of drugs until a litany of brutality charges caused their downfall. Not long after, Roy Frady was found with a 9-mm slug in his skull. The case remained unsolved for two decades.
- A Hard Light – During the chaotic last act of the Vietnam War, three people tried to preserve the art from the French colonial museum in Da Nang. Although one truck disappeared, Bao Ngo, Khanh Nguyen, and Minh Tam made it to Saigon just as the Americans pulled out. Decades later, Khanh is at home in Los Angeles when Bao reappears, gun in hand. He ransacks her house and disappears. Maggie MacGowen looks into the incident, interviewing Khanh and Minh, who disappear just after she turns off her camera. She presses on, determined to understand.
- In the Guise of Mercy – Filmmaker Maggie MacGowen has taken on many tough assignments over the years. However, when she discovers a note from her newly dead husband, Detective Mike Flint, urging her to take a fresh look at a decade-old unsolved case of a boy who went missing, she isn’t sure that she’s up to the challenge. But how does one say no to a dead man?
- The Paramour’s Daughter – Just a few hours before she is murdered, a foreign stranger claims she is a close relative of Maggie MacGowen. Now, Maggie must question everything she’s ever known about herself and her life-and deal with a large cast of previously unknown blood relatives, some of whom may not have affectionate feelings for the little girl who vanished so long ago. Especially when large sums of euros are involved…
- The Hanging – When her TV series is abruptly canceled, Maggie MacGowen accepts a short-term contract to teach film production at a local community college. In an era of budget cuts, the community college President arouses faculty and student animosity with his expensive building program. When Maggie finds the college president hanging in the building’s stairwell, suspicion falls on her young friend Sly Miller.
- The Color of Light – While clearing out her deceased father’s desk, Maggie MacGowen discovers that he had locked away potential evidence in a brutal unsolved murder 30 years earlier. When she begins to ask questions of family and old friends, it emerges that there are people in that seemingly tranquil multi-ethnic Berkeley neighborhood who will go to lethal lengths to prevent the truth from coming out.
- Disturbing the Dark – Maggie MacGowen is in Normandy with a film crew to document the agricultural four seasons on her ancestral family farm. An accidentally excavated skull causes a social media sensation. In their youth, Grand-mere and other villagers had cut the throats of an entire brutal Nazi platoon. Now the grim discovery prompts tourists, the soldiers’ descendants, the mass media, and vulturelike war-memorabilia dealers to flock to the formerly quiet farm. Then a young woman is murdered….
- Number 7, Rue Jacob – Imagine your every move is being tracked by someone whose clear intention is to do you harm. Maggie MacGowen arrives at the Paris apartment she inherited from the mother she never knew, ready to begin a settled life with her fiancé, Jean-Paul Bernard. But a cryptic phone call from Jean-Paul begins a nightmare odyssey across Europe as they try to stay a step ahead of a predator who uses every electronic medium to stalk their every move.
- A Bouquet of Rue – Filmmaker Maggie MacGowen moves to France ready to settle into a new job with a French television network and a new life with diplomat Jean-Paul Bernard. Maggie soon discovers that under the peaceful veneer of the leafy Paris suburb where she now lives, there are deep and troubling fissures. At first she is an object of curiosity, the woman taking the place of Jean-Paul’s beloved, deceased wife. But as she is drawn into the search for a girl named Ophelia, and tries to stop the persecution of a Muslim immigrant boy, she is viewed by the town an interloper, the outsider.