5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Maggie Kavanagh, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Kim

Review: Inner Sanctum by Maggie Kavanagh

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Inner Sanctum (The Stonebridge Mysteries: Book Two)

Author: Maggie Kavanagh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

At a Glance: Inner Sanctum is just as good as the first story, Double Indemnity!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Six months into a relationship, things have heated up between political blogger Sam Flynn and FBI Special Agent Nathan Walker. Though Sam is happy with Nathan and proud of his own sobriety, he’s anxious about what their future holds. Things are heating up in Stonebridge, Connecticut, as a series of deadly fires puts the community on edge and eventually threatens Sam’s comatose brother. As Halloween approaches, fears rise that the arsonist will strike again.

When Sam encounters the main suspect, seventeen-year-old orphan Damon Blake, he’s not sure what to do. Obstruction might land him in jail, but he is increasingly skeptical of Damon’s guilt. He takes matters into his own hands and investigates, but doing so means keeping Damon’s whereabouts a secret from Nathan and the police. Meanwhile, Nathan wonders what Sam is hiding and grapples with insecurities of his own. Sam wants to confide in Nathan, and Nathan wants to trust Sam, but they discover that negotiating new love can be as dangerous as solving crime.

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Review: It’s been six months and Sam and Nathan are still dancing around each other when it comes to using the “L” word. And even though Sam has quit drinking, there are times when he is still struggling with the temptation. Even struggling with the fact that things are going well between the two of them. Sam still worries that Nathan will realize Sam is not worth it, which is why Sam is reluctant to move in with Nathan. Sam is also especially shy about talking to Nathan about exploring the kinkier side of himself. But, Nathan himself is struggling with his own insecurities when it seems a teaching post with the FBI is on the table rather than a field job.

When the call comes in that there’s been a fire at the Shady Brook, resulting in the death of one their staff, Sam starts to look into the series of arson fires that have started to escalate with deadly intent. And Damon Blake, the main suspect in the fires, puts Sam in an awkward position when he contacts Sam and pleads his innocence. Not to mention, Yuri, one of Sam’s friends (and a one-time lover), kisses Sam at a party and basically let’s Sam know that he still has feelings for him. Even though Yuri is about to move in with his new lover, Michael…

Maggie Kavanagh’s Inner Sanctum is just as good as the first story, Double Indemnity! The writing flows smoothly and the main characters, as well as the secondary ones, are definitely interesting enough that you want to get to know them more. The author does an excellent job of writing a mystery that leaves one guessing who the real culprit is. I love that I couldn’t figure it out, and yet it all made sense when the great reveal happened. I’m really looking forward to the next installment of the series.

I really want to know what is going to happen to Timmy!

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy Inner Sanctum here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Maggie Kavanagh

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Inner Sanctum Blog Tour with Maggie Kavanagh

Inner Sanctum Banner

Today we’re so pleased to have Maggie Kavanagh with us to introduce her new novel, Inner Sanctum, the sequel to Double Indemnity and book two of the Stonebridge Mysteries. Enjoy Maggie’s guest post and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of Double Indemnity or Inner Sanctum, winner’s choice.

Good luck!

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On Writing Sequels and Romance

(This post includes minor spoilers for the first book in the series, Double Indemnity.)

As a new author, especially in the romance genre, writing a series is not always advisable. People read romance mostly for the completion of the romance arc. Once a couple is together, whether it is HFN or HEA, there needs to be investment to keep the reader interested. When I finished writing Double Indemnity, however, I knew I wanted to continue with Sam and Nathan’s story. I knew this mainly because the characters kept talking to me. As every writer knows, you need to listen when this happens: otherwise they never shut up.

We leave Sam and Nathan at the end of Double Indemnity in a happy for now situation, and I wanted to continue to develop their relationship, which is very complex. There is of course the element of power dynamics both inside and outside of the bedroom. While Nathan might be read as the more dominant character, he is also an incredibly caring and attentive partner; Sam is independent and headstrong as well as submissive. I wanted to see how they would continue to negotiate their relationship as it deepened from attraction to love: how do these two men build trust and intimacy when they have both had difficulty with these things in the past?

Another thing I wanted to continue exploring was Sam’s personal development. In many ways, this series is Sam’s story first, since it is told through his point of view. Though he has come a long way by the start of Inner Sanctum from where he began in Double Indemnity, he still has many hurdles to face. In the first book, he is learning to be an investigative journalist while battling with some pretty heavy personal demons; in this book, he takes a much more proactive role as he becomes more serious about his political blog. The mystery (and his handling of it) forces him to confront some things about himself he doesn’t particularly want to admit, but the crisis is itself an opportunity for growth. He becomes a better person, writer, and partner.

Still, we’re not quite done yet! There will be one last installation in Sam and Nathan’s story, Blind Spot, which will be out this winter. I hope you enjoy Inner Sanctum and stay tuned for the final chapter in their story.

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InnerSanctumCoverTitle: Inner Sanctum

Author: Maggie Kavanagh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pub date: September 14, 2015

Pages: 204

Blurb: Six months into a relationship, things have heated up between political blogger Sam Flynn and FBI special agent Nathan Walker. Though Sam is happy with Nathan and proud of his own sobriety, he’s anxious about what their future holds. Things are also heating up in Stonebridge, Connecticut, as a series of deadly fires puts the community on edge and eventually threatens Sam’s comatose brother. As Halloween approaches, fears rise that the arsonist will strike again.

When Sam encounters the main suspect, seventeen-year-old orphan Damon Blake, Sam’s not sure what to do. He knows obstruction might land him in jail, but he finds himself increasingly skeptical of Damon’s guilt. He takes matters into his own hands and investigates, but doing so means keeping Damon’s whereabouts a secret from Nathan and the police. Meanwhile, Nathan wonders what Sam is hiding and grapples with insecurities of his own. Sam wants to confide in Nathan, and Nathan wants to trust Sam, but they discover negotiating new love can be as dangerous as solving crime.

Buy Links: Amazon || Dreamspinner Press || All Romance eBooks

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Excerpt: Nathan rested his head in Sam’s lap, and Sam dragged his hands through Nathan’s soft, almost black hair, which was subtly peppered with premature gray. Nathan closed his eyes and nearly purred when Sam rubbed his scalp. Sam chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Nathan murmured.

“I was thinking. It’s no wonder you like cats so much. You practically are one.”

Nathan opened one eye. “Then I hope you like cats more than you pretend to.”

“I like this one.” He scritched again, and Nathan sighed and nestled closer. His long body took up the entire sofa.

After a few minutes, Nathan said, “My mother used to massage my scalp when I was sick.” The show they’d been half watching ended, and Sam flicked off the TV. It was nice being alone and quiet with Nathan. He could smell Nathan’s aftershave and his sandalwood-scented shampoo as he scratched.

“Were you sick a lot?”

“Not really. But some of my favorite memories are of being sick. Like the time I had chicken pox, and I had to stay home from school for a week. I don’t remember how awful it felt, but I do remember my mother singing to me in Italian and stroking my hair. Isn’t that strange?”

Sam held his breath. Nathan rarely spoke about his childhood. “No. I don’t think it’s strange. You never told me you were Italian.” He had often suspected it, though, in spite of Nathan’s English-sounding last name.

Nathan nodded. “My mother is Italian and Lebanese. She lived in Rome until she was fifteen.”

“That’s awesome. Have you ever been?”

“A few times. My grandmother lives in Switzerland, but she has a house in Rome.” Nathan wrinkled his nose like he expected Sam to chastise him for coming from a wealthy family. Sam’s family hadn’t exactly been poor, but there was no denying the difference in their backgrounds. And Nathan wasn’t one to flaunt his money—much.

“Any time you want to whisk me away to a sunny Roman villa, I’m A-OK with it,” Sam joked.

Nathan turned to look up at him. His content expression softened his patrician features, making him seem vulnerable. Sam’s heart swelled again, thinking how lucky he was that Nathan trusted him. He figured he might as well ask another question while he had the chance.

“What was it like growing up in California? I’ve never been.”

Nathan seemed to weigh his answer. A line formed between his dark eyebrows. “It was always perfect. The weather, the people. At least on the outside. I grew up thinking everyone had a comfortable life.”

Sam remembered the boy with the sad eyes in the few photographs Nathan kept from the country house he shared with Emma. There was definitely more to his story than he’d admitted.

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Maggie KavanaghAuthor Bio: Maggie Kavanagh writes gay romances that explore flawed, human characters finding love. She went to graduate school for English literature and reads and writes voraciously, whenever she can get a moment alone. You can find her in the wee morning hours typing away with coffee at hand and cat in lap, happily embodying the romance writer cliché.

While she focuses mainly on contemporary romance, don’t be surprised if a historical or supernatural tale slips into the mix, as she’s always eager to discover different genres. More fiction is forthcoming soon, so stay tuned!

Author Social Media Links: Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads 

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Join Maggie during her Inner Sanctum Blog Tour at the following stops:

Carly’s Book Reviews—Monday, September 14

The Novel Approach—Wednesday, September 16

Diverse Reader—Friday, September 18

Prism Book Alliance—Monday, September 21

MM Good Book Reviews—Tuesday, September 22

Keysmash Blog—Wednesday, September 23

Joyfully Jay—Thursday, September 24

Sinfully Sexy—Friday, September 25

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for a preview of what we have coming up for you in the week ahead. There’s lots of activity to come as we welcome some very special guests and have lots of giveaways to offer along with our reviews and another Flashback Friday feature.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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MondayNaomi MacKenzie kicks off our week as she makes the rounds on the Lodestones blog tour

We’ll also welcome author Larissa Ione to TNA today, on the tour for the newest addition to the popular Demonica series, Base Instincts

TuesdayDH Starr joins us as we continue the Countdown Celebration to GayRomLit 2015

Keira Andrews also stops by as she tours the interwebs to introduce readers to her newest novel Valor on the Move

Wednesday – Author Maggie Kavanagh joins us today to talk sequels and romance on her Inner Sanctum blog tour

Edmond Manning also drops by on his King John tour, the newest addition to the Lost and Founds series, so you won’t want to miss that as Mr. Manning always has something interesting to say

Thursday – Today we’ll look forward to having you help us welcome Brad Vance on his Werewolves of Brooklyn tour

Along with Jeff Adams, and he tours to chat about his latest release Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot

Friday – We’ll have author Nico Jaye with us in our next Countdown to GayRomLit guest spot

N.R. Walker will also be with us, as she tours the web in support of her newest novel, Cronin’s Key III

We’ll also be bringing you another edition of Flashback Friday today, and the chance to win an e-copy of one of the featured titles. This week’s category is Speculative Fiction, so stay tuned

Sunday – Finally, to close out the week, we’ll have author Hayden Thorne here with us to introduce The Romeo and Julian Effect

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And that puts an end to this sneak peek. Until next time, happy reading!

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Maggie Kavanagh, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Kim

Review: Double Indemnity by Maggie Kavanagh

Title: Double Indemnity

Author: Maggie Kavanaugh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages

At a Glance: I really enjoyed Double Indemnity and wouldn’t mind reading more from Maggie Kavanagh.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Sam Flynn dreamed of being a journalist until a car accident killed his parents and put his brother into a long-term coma. Now Sam spends his days as a landscaper toiling in the New England sun and his nights drunk in bed with the closest warm body. In his limited spare time, he writes about Stonebridge’s local crime and politics on his blog “Under the Bridge.”

Then Sam’s favorite client is found dead in her home—shortly after telling him someone has betrayed her trust. Sam can’t believe her grief-stricken husband Nathan would be a suspect, but the investigation hones in on him. Sam has always admired handsome Nathan from afar, but now he puts his libidinous feelings aside to help clear his name. However, the closer he gets to Nathan, the more he’s told to keep away from him and the investigation—by the fatherly police chief, by an officer on the case who’s hated him since school, and by Nathan himself.

Sam’s determined to expose the real reason his friend died and clear Nathan’s name—even if it’s the last thing he does. Which, considering how fast the death toll is increasing in Stonebridge… it might be.

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Review: Maggie Kavanagh is a first timer for me and to be honest, I’ve been a little reluctant to try new authors lately. God, I’m glad I overcame that reluctance!

Double Indemnity grabbed me from the first page, and I didn’t let go of the story even when I finished the last page—I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing until all is about to be revealed. I did have my suspicions but was still surprised at the ending, and I rather enjoyed all the twists and turns Double Indemnity had to offer. This book is well written, and I didn’t get lost or feel confused as to what was happening throughout the story, especially when the body count started to rise.

Sam was someone I had to warm-up to; he’s a smart guy but really too young to handle the problems he was having, and I saw that he used his drinking to escape from them for awhile. Not to mention his sleeping with anything that moved while intoxicated. Very risky behavior that.

As for Nathan, that man had a heck of a lot of secrets he was keeping. It was like peeling an onion as I got to know him, but I really enjoyed Sam’s and Nathan’s interactions as the mystery deepened. Nothing was rushed between these two.

All in all, I really enjoyed Double Indemnity and wouldn’t mind reading more from Maggie Kavanagh. Ms. Kavanagh, I really would like a sequel starring Tim. You can’t just leave him like that…can you?






You can buy Double Indemnity here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Maggie Kavanagh

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Double Indemnity Blog Tour With Maggie Kavanaugh

10361376_1537824193142962_1929307196193870004_nI’d like to thank Lisa and the Novel Approach for hosting me on my blog tour for my recent release, Double Indemnity. Today, I’ll be talking a little about some of my favorite murder mysteries and give you an opportunity to win a free eBook copy of my novel.

My grandmother was a huge Agatha Christie fan, and she first encouraged me to read in the genre. Murder on the Orient Express continues to feature at the top of my favorite mysteries list.The plot is fantastic (as is the ending), but I love the protagonist, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Like Sherlock Holmes, Poirot relies on his powers of deduction and picks unusual cases to exercise his mind. However, unlike Holmes, Poirot is constantly misjudged for his ‘foreign’ appearance and mannerisms. Early on, a passenger on the train describes him as “the sort of little man one could never take seriously.” Disproven as the book progresses, this assessment sets up and then undercuts reader expectations in a way typical of Christie—Miss Marple is another famous example. Criminals underestimate Poirot, who in turn exploits this misjudgment to his benefit in solving crimes. The BBC version of Poirot is available on Netflix and worth checking out, especially on a cold winter night.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the novel I paid homage to in titling my own. Double Indemnity (1935) by James M. Cain is an American noir that tells the tale of a ‘perfect’ murder gone wrong. In this novel, the reader is aligned with the murderer in a first person point of view, and the tension arises, not from figuring out whodunit, but in wondering if the murderer and his femme fatale accomplice will get away with the crime. Since readers actively identify with first person narrators, the reader becomes complicit in a very uncomfortable, compelling way. In the end, the novel serves as an indictment of a particular kind of American greed. The film version is considered one of the best noirs of all time, and I would recommend it along with some of the perhaps better-known noirs, The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco unfolds on the grounds of a fourteenth century Italian monastery, one of the last strongholds of medieval learning. Though told from the POV of a novice monk, the real hero of the novel is the scientifically minded William of Baskerville, whose name is an obvious tribute to Holmes. Contrasted with those who rely on faith alone (and don’t question authority), William is called in to solve a series of unexplained murders. He discovers the key to solving them within a labyrinthine library designed to keep the curious out rather than to make learning accessible. Ultimately, the book itself is a meditation on the power of philosophy and the repressive nature of dogmatic truth. This is certainly not a light Sunday read, but the1986 film version starring Sean Connery is decent (though it loses some of the impact of the novel). In either case, this is a mystery for book lovers and medieval history buffs.

Last, I recently picked up a novel called Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey. This book takes place in Ghana and combines some traditional mystery tropes with a contemporary, fresh outlook. What I enjoyed most about this book is the complexity of the protagonist-hero, Darko Dawson. Though far from infallible and not above reproach for some of his actions, Dawson’s humanity make him relatable and accessible—a stark contrast to the dispassionate Holmes. He becomes absorbed in a very personal quest after a young woman is murdered in the small town of Ketanu, where his own mother disappeared twenty-five years before. Ultimately, solving the current mystery results in the unraveling of the other—and a shocking discovery that stuns Dawson and the entire town. This two-stranded narrative was extremely effective storytelling and made the emotional impact greater.

What’s your favorite mystery novel and why? Sound off below for the chance to win an eBook copy of Double Indemnity!

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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DoubleIndemnityBook Blurb: Sam Flynn dreamed of being a journalist until a car accident killed his parents and put his brother into a long-term coma. Now Sam spends his days as a landscaper toiling in the New England sun and his nights drunk in bed with the closest warm body.  In his limited spare time, he writes about Stonebridge’s local crime and politics on his blog “Under the Bridge.”

Then Sam’s favorite client is found dead in her home—shortly after telling him someone has betrayed her trust. Sam can’t believe her grief-stricken husband Nathan would be a suspect, but the investigation hones in on him. Sam has always admired handsome Nathan from afar, but now he puts his libidinous feelings aside to help clear his name. However, the closer he gets to Nathan, the more he’s told to keep away from him and the investigation—by the fatherly police chief, by an officer on the case who’s hated him since school, and by Nathan himself.

Sam’s determined to expose the real reason his friend died and clear Nathan’s name—even if it’s the last thing he does. Which, considering how fast the death toll is increasing in Stonebridge… it might be.

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Excerpt: Loud construction noise jackhammered through the phone.

“Sorry about the commotion,” said Nathan. “I had to leave town for a couple of days on business, but I’ll be back tomorrow. Can you meet?”

“Yeah, sure. Where and when?”

“Eight o’clock at La Fronde. I’ll make the reservation.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer someplace a little more casual?” La Fronde had an excellent reputation, but Sam had never been. A five-star French dinner would put him out at least a hundred bucks.

Nathan cleared his throat. “What did you have in mind?”

“My local—the Lucky Star. It’s a little more in my price range, if you know what I mean. They have excellent burgers and fries. French fries.”

Nathan didn’t laugh at the joke. “If you’d rather, sure, though I was planning on paying, just so you know.”

Fuck. Had he misread this entire situation? Had Nathan asked him on a date?

Ridiculous.

“That’s generous of you,” Sam said. “But I’ll feel more comfortable at the Star. I don’t think I even have anything to wear to such a fancy place.”

“All right, Sam. Eight o’clock tomorrow at the Star. I’ve got to go. I’ll see you then.”

Without another word, the line went dead. Sam stood with his cell phone in his hand, staring at it as though it could explain what had just happened.

He spent the rest of the night scouring the Internet to see if he’d missed any developments in Emma’s case over the past couple of weeks. The incident—the murder—had been fading from his mind under the avalanche of his regular worries. It had faded from the news too, it seemed. Nothing turned up. After a few newspaper mentions and an obit that Sam—thankfully—hadn’t had to write, the case disappeared from the headlines, replaced by the news du jour.

He leaned back in his desk chair, sighed, and rubbed his temples to ward off an impending headache. Sam’s parents’ deaths had been accidental, and he still hadn’t figured out how to make it stop hurting. He couldn’t imagine living with the knowledge that a killer was on the loose, possibly never to be found.

It would be like hell on earth.

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Author BioBio: Maggie Kavanagh writes gay romances that explore flawed, human characters finding love.  A recent Yankee transplant to Los Angeles, her heart still resides in New England. She went to graduate school for English literature and reads and writes voraciously, whenever she can get a moment alone. You can find her in the wee morning hours typing away with coffee at hand and cat in lap, happily embodying the romance writer cliché.

While she focuses mainly on contemporary romance, don’t be surprised if a historical or supernatural tale slips into the mix, as she’s always eager to discover different genres. More fiction is forthcoming soon, so stay tuned!

Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Double Indemnity Buy Links: Amazon | Dreamspinner Press | All Romance eBooks

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Amanda C. Stone, Amber Kell, Carole Cummings, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, Hayden Thorne, Izzy van Swelm, Lexi Ander, Maggie Kavanagh, Rick R. Reed, Sue Brown, Yeyu

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely week. 

Coming up in the week ahead, we’ve got plenty of great stuff in store for you to enjoy, more guest authors, interesting articles, interviews, reviews, and, thanks to the generosity of our guests, more giveaways just because they appreciate you, their readers.

Here’s what’s on tap:

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MondaySue Brown kicks off our week, talking about breaking rules on the Stolen Dreams blog tour

Charlie Cochrane is also with us on the Lessons for Survivors blog tour, sharing a deleted scene featuring Jonty and Orlando

TuesdayAmanda C. Stone will be here with a short Q&A on The Adventures of Cole and Perry blog tour

Garrett Leigh also joins us today on the Rare audiobook tour

WednesdayMaggie Kavanagh drops by on the Double Indemnity blog tour

Hayden Thorne will also be here to talk about the re-release of the gorgeous (not that I’m biased) YA Historical Fantasy novel The Twilight Gods

Carole Cummings is also here today with a little “Genre Talk”. Joining her is DSP Pubications author Yeyu – the topic: Historical Fantasy

ThursdayLexi Ander stops in on the Songs of the Earth blog tour to talk about world-building

Amber Kell also joins us to talk a bit about magic on the Porter’s Reaper blog tour

FridayRick R. Reed joins us on the Blink blog tour to talk a bit about writing what you know

Saturday – And finally, debut author Izzy van Swelm is here today to close out a week of outstanding guests on the Soul Mate for SIN blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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