By RJ BeamRJ_SinC

A few months ago I reviewed the debut novel by Janey Mack titled Times Up. Mack is back with her crime-stopping meter maid Maisie McGrane in the follow-up Choked Up.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 6.51.56 PMThe premises is a bit more complex this time. If you did not read the first book don’t worry this one is written as a stand-alone story. I would still suggest you pick it up the first book just because it was a fun read. Otherwise here is some backstory, Maisie McGrane is from a family filled with cops and lawyers. She tried to become an officer, but her dad (a high-ranking Chicago police officer) convinced police academy staff to wash her out. She then settled for second best and become a parking enforcement officer.

When this book picks up she is one of the top performing meter maids in the city. At the end of shift one day, she finds a man on the hood of her car. Well actually it is her boyfriend’s car, but she took it to work that day. The man is dead and was left there was a warning to the boyfriend, who happens to be a mercenary. Later Maisie is attacked but luckily saved by an underworld kingpin.

This criminal takes a liking to Maisie and asks her to work for him. I don’t want to spoil anything but her job is to act as his girlfriend, hiding the fact he is gay from other criminals and mobsters. At the same time, she is approached by the special undercover unit of the Chicago police to work for them to build a case aginst the criminal.

These books are written in the first person. Maisie offers up thoughts and sarcastic remarks as comments to what is happing to her. Often times her inner dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny. She will be thinking one thing to herself then say something the opposite to the people she is with. Something we all do.

Maisie is truly in over her head in this one. Which makes part of the story perversely entertaining. Not everything goes her way. It seems all too often in many stories the hero can do no wrong. This is one hero that gets a few things wrong. Still she is a fighter and works hard fix her mistakes, which sometimes just digs her in a deeper hole. Even so if Maisie McGrane was real she is the kind of officer I would love having working on my shift with my crew.

Choked Up comes out on December 29th. Order it now and makes sure it is one of the first things you read in 2016.