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Deadly Politics

Years ago, Molly Malone was driven from Washington, DC by political back-stabbing, scandals, and personal heartbreak. But now, circumstances have forced her to start a new life in the one place she swore she'd never return to—the city that broke her heart—and face the ghosts and the enemies from her past.

As the daughter of a respected United States Senator and once the wife of a rising star young Congressman, Molly has seen it all in Washington politics—the cynics, the sincere, and the schemers. But the brutal murder of her Congressional staffer niece brings Molly up close with Washington's darker side. "The beautiful monuments and parks are deceiving. Washington can be ugly." How ugly, Molly's about to find out. There are other schemers out there who may not have won elections, but are more powerful than the politicians they ensnare.

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Deadly Politics is reviewed in Library Journal (July 1, 2012):

As a daughter of a senator, Molly Malone has politics in her blood, but she left Washington two decades ago after her congressman husband committed suicide. Now in her fifties, Molly returns to the Beltway and, thanks to her niece Karen, finds a new job in a senator's office. Karen's own life is in turmoil; an unfortunate affair with her boss is going sour fast. Then Karen is killed in an apparent carjacking, but Molly suspects her death was not random. After another young woman from Karen's office subsequently dies, an incensed and determined Molly knows she doesn't have a minute to lose. VERDICT Known for her popular "Knitting Mystery" cozies, Sefton has a sharp ear for dialog and knack for writing strong female characters that serve her well as she ventures into suspense. An open-ended conclusion means readers can look forward to a sequel. Try pairing with Ed Gorman's "Dev Conrad" series and with Hank Phillippi Ryan's newest, The Other Woman.

Deadly Politics is reviewed in Mystery Scene:

Maggie Sefton's foray into political intrigue is a marvelous look at the shady underbelly of insider Washington. At mid-life, managerial accountant Molly Malone returns to Washington, where her congressman husband committed suicide and where she knows all too well the plots and subplots of political maneuvering. She quickly lands a job with a charming senator from Colorado but soon finds sinister dealings afoot. Attending her first Capitol soiree and renewing acquaintances with old friends and enemies, Maggie is soon embroiled in murder when her niece, who has admitted an affair with her congressman boss, is found shot to death in her car outside the reception. Although police label the death a mugging gone awry, Molly is not so sure and begins her own unflagging investigation of exactly what happened and why. In doing so, she uncovers a plot aimed at the highest level of government.

Sefton's political thriller is a tightly plotted tale of treachery that has the stamp of a new series, particularly since the most evil of the conspirators emerges unscathed and keeping a watchful eye on Maggie. Sefton is no stranger to writing compelling series. As author of the Knitting Mystery cozies, she is a former Agatha Award finalist for the debut book, Knit One, Kill Two, in that series. She is even better at darker political plotting.

Deadly Politics is reviewed in Kirkus Reviews (May 15, 2012):

A financial consultant, back in Washington years after the suicide of her congressman husband, battles a hydra-headed extragovernmental agency whose existence she's only dimly aware of.

Molly Malone thought she was returning to D.C. to work for commercial developer Jeff Parker. When that job falls through, her niece Karen Grayson, turning on a dime, finds her a position in the office of Sen. John Russell, the Colorado Independent. No sooner has Molly begun to settle into the great Georgetown flat her new boss, Chief of Staff Peter Brewster, has arranged for her than Karen is killed, apparently by an unusually brutal mugger, but really, we know from hugger-mugger asides, by the minions of the Epsilon Group, a think tank for international finance whose self-appointed responsibilities go way beyond issuing white papers. Surrounded by scorched-earth zealots on both sides of the aisle and creepy staffers like Karen's old boss Jed Molinoff, whose wife and children didn't keep him from sleeping with Karen, Molly wonders whom she can trust—especially once her old school friend Danny DiMateo offers protection and romance and Karen's friend and colleague Celeste Allard agrees to spy on Jed. The climactic revelations fall so far short of the thickly menacing atmosphere that plenty of clouds remain at the fade-out, presumably as material for a sequel or a whole series.

Quite a change of pace for Sefton, last seen arranging wool for the sleuthing knitters of Fort Connor (Cast On, Kill Off, 2012, etc.). If this departure doesn't exactly reveal a new master of Beltway intrigue, its more jaundiced worldview seems to fit both the author and her heroine significantly better.

Deadly Politics is reviewed in Library Journal, 2012 mystery preview (04/15/12):

As another high-stakes election season gets into gear, mystery authors are shedding light on the dark side of politics. In what Midnight Ink publicity director Steven M. Pomjie calls the house's first experiment with the political suspense genre, Maggie Sefton, well known for her "Knitting Mystery" series, in August launches a new series about a senator's daughter heading back into a world she thought she had left forever: politics in Washington, DC.

While Deadly Politics may seem a radical shift from her previous cozies, Sefton has really just gone back to her roots. Growing up in North Arlington, VA, Sefton was "a stone's throw across the Potomac. And I've been watching Washington politicians since I was old enough to read the Washington Post. DC is in my DNA," she says.

Midnight Ink acquiring editor Terri Bischoff believes that Americans are disgruntled and suspicious of the political system in general. This mistrust is driving readers to books in which the villains are powerful Washington insiders. "It's interesting that in old political thrillers, the bad guys were the Soviets. Now they are the power players in Washington," says Bischoff. "Of course, in both there are heroes who fight the bad guys and give us, as the reader, a sense that all is not lost."