You Can’t Die But Once by Penny Mickelbury

Police Captain Gianna Maglione teams up with her journalist girlfriend, Mimi Patterson to uncover a diabolical human trafficking ring.

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 The Gianna Maglione/Mimi Patterson Mystery Series Continues

You Can’t Die But Once, Book #6 of the Gianna Maglione/Mimi Patterson Mystery Series

Police Lieutenant Gianna Maglione, a newly-minted Captain, is still recovering from a life-threatening gunshot injury as she finds herself and her Hate Crimes Unit assigned a new boss, and a new squad called Special Intelligence Mobile and Tactical Unit, which includes hate crimes. And Gianna’s colleagues in the group are diverse, quirky, loyal, and ready for teamwork. And Mimi Patterson, who quit her job as the lead investigative reporter for Washington DC’s top newspaper, is coaxed back to work after having quit rather than apologize to a racist, sexist homophobe as ordered by her new editor. The editor is gone, and the newsroom welcomes Mimi back but she has one condition: she will write no more of her reputation-building stories about corrupt government officials and politicians, and instead, concentrate on stories that help people in the community.

With hatred a bigger business than ever, taking different and uglier forms, Mimi and Gianna feel hopelessness, knowing that women are always prey for bullies and haters. Young girls—children, really—make even easier targets. When the reporter and the Captain are tipped off about a depraved ring of men and women, buying and selling young girls for profit, Mimi writes the story, paving the way for Gianna and her team to try to take the ring down. And Mimi, her vow not to cover corruption scandals be damned, helps a colleague chase down a story which winds up intersecting with Gianna’s efforts to take down the repulsive purveyors of child prostitution.

Out of this harrowing and unimaginable ugliness, the women view their jobs and relationship with new eyes, realizing they might, after all, be able to improve some horribly broken young lives, heal their own traumas and become better, stronger, more loving women to and for each other.


PENNY MICKELBURY is the author of three successful mystery series and an award-winning playwright. She is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, was a writer in residence at Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat, and is a recipient of the Audre Lorde Estate Grant. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Pen Award for Best Mystery/Thriller from the Black Writers Alliance, and the Prix du Roman d’Adventures from Les Éditions du Masque. In 2017, she was commissioned by the Jo Howarth Noonan Foundation for the Performing Arts to write a ten-minute play in celebration of “women of a certain age”.

Prior to focusing on literary pursuits, Penny was a pioneering newspaper, radio, and television reporter, based primarily in Washington, D.C., wrote journalistic non-fiction and was a frequent contributor to such publications as Black Issues Book Review, Africana.com, and the Washington Blade. In 2019, Penny and other members of the Washington Post’s Metro Seven were inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame.

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