Three years ago, in The Brotherhood, Maggie went undercover enabling her team to bring down an international clandestine organization. When the criminal syndicate imploded, some of the world’s most dangerous men lost everything. This put a permanent target on Maggie’s back. She was severely injured trying to capture the head of the Brotherhood. After three years in hiding, Maggie has developed a false sense of security and is ready to get back into action. She has an overwhelming need to prove herself. It becomes unbearable for her to be in the safety of the team’s basement office, running logistics, while the rest of her team is out on missions and in harm’s way without her. Particularly, when the team contains Maggie’s husband and adopted father, Shep. She soon learns her enemies have a long memory and have been searching for her while she’s been off the grid.
In the first book of the series, Finding Magdalena, Maggie is fifteen when both her parents die in a car accident, making her an orphan. Maggie begins to suffer anxiety and panic attacks which continue into adulthood. With the loss of her family, she must find a way to cope and move on. She has no control over her life, so she seeks to control the only thing she can-herself. Maggie pushes herself to excel at everything she does. If she can keep her life orderly and stay busy, she can lock her problems away in little rooms in her mind. As she gets older, her best friend Graham’s stepfather, Shep, offers her a position on his black ops team. With her precision and drive to succeed, Maggie is soon fully ensconced as a trained assassin. She can separate her professional life from her growing family life. This, however, comes with repercussions. Maggie at times struggles with her anxiety, religion, her young family and what her parents would think of her career choice. In professional mode, she is on point but when she returns home, her actions haunt her.
The answer is both! I begin with an outline in my head of all the key moments in the book. Once I begin writing, some ideas seem superfluous or obvious and new ideas come to mind. I find the characters themselves also drive the story. With this being the third book in the Magdalena series, the characters are well developed and intertwined. It seemed natural, after years of unanswered questions that Maggie, left to her own devices, would start to fit the pieces of her life’s puzzle together, creating new twists and turns.
Subterfuge (Magdalena #4) again finds Maggie and her team undercover. This time Maggie is hunting a Russian crime boss who previously had a contract on her life. Along with a mission that has enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of his seat, this is a pivotal point in Maggie’s character development. She is now twenty-six and her missions are taking a deeper toll on her psyche. The black ops world and her enemies have a firm grip on her but the price she is paying is rising.