The Malhoa Connection – Estelle Ryan

A Genevieve Lenard Novel

Five stars

I first met Genevieve Lenard – and incidentally her chronicler Estelle Ryan – on the wings of an email from one or the other of the free ebooks services I subscribe to.  Volume One of what was at the time, a five-volume series, was free for the weekend.  Never one to turn down a FREE book, I went for it.  That was Friday evening.  By Sunday afternoon, I had purchased and indeed read all five of the books available.

Genevieve is a multiple-degree doctor, who specializes in reading body language and non-verbal communications.  Genevieve is also high-functioning autistic.  I don’t know much about what that entails, but over the years of reading Ryan’s work, I feel I’ve come to understand it more, to learn more about this multi-faceted, not-pigeon-hole-able trait.

Clearly, as I’ve developed and grown in my knowledge, so too has Genevieve grown in her abilities and interactions and acceptance of the neuro-typical not only in her world, but in her life.  And any day that a fiction-thriller-novel of any sort can teach us something, THAT is the sign of an exceptional writer.

Ryan is that and more.  Her attention to detail, her limitless search for ALL the information and her dedication to passing it ALL along to her readers, is what makes The Connection series one that I will advocate always.  Write as many as you wish, Estelle, I will read them all, promise!

“A decades old crime.  A torment not forgiven.  Ice-cold revenge.”

When I started reading Malhoa, I had no idea how correct that chilling tagline would be.  Genevieve – at the beginning of the series – was an insurance fraud investigator who, over the years, has developed an affinity for solving crimes on the international level, especially with an artistic bent of some sort.  Through the years, she’s put together a team of experts who complement her skills admirably.  Together, they “get their man”.

But this latest in the series is an investigation with a twist.  Right from the start, her own team is put in harm’s way when one of them is taken hostage in his own apartment.  And in order to get to the bottom of the larger plot that she “sees” is there, the team finds itself cooperating with a thief and his associates.  All the way to the streets of Lisbon.

As always, Ryan’s narrative is filled with information.  About the particular artist highlighted.  About how our minds work.  About how painstakingly Genevieve continues to learn to adapt and involve herself in a neuro-typical world.  All while keeping us turning pages obsessively till the very last one.

Stellar development of characters and storyline, such that you ARE immersed in the story, in their lives and loves, and invested in ensuring that everyone comes out the other end all in one piece – even if there will always be a telltale scar or three.

The Malhoa Connection – another masterpiece of craftsmanship – well-developed, thoroughly researched, impeccably written.  Don’t hesitate to pick it up; and then, treat yourself by going back to the beginning and learning to love these characters the same way I have, one mission at a time.  I cannot wait for the next adventure!

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