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US Books Received- 01/2009  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Avon

The Witch's Grave (Ophelia & Abby Mysteries, No. 6) by Shirley Damsgaard (Avon 01 January 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: Cupid has cast his spell on good witch Ophelia Jensen. The practical, pragmatic, law-abiding librarian has just begun letting down her hair with Stephen Larsen, the author of some of the most scandalous crime exposés ever written. It's a match made in the stacks—until the would-be lovers take a quiet countryside stroll, and shots ring out.

A murderer, not magick, made Stephen disappear—and Ophelia might be next. The sheriff warns her and her grandmother Abby not to meddle, but after another shooting leaves them shaken the women can't help but get involved. A sinister stalker is slowly drawing closer to Ophelia, and she'll have to summon all her powers to prevent herself from ending up six feet under. (see review)

Ballantine

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death: A Novel by Charlie Huston (Ballantine 13 January 2009 / $25.00) - Product Description: Webster Filmore Goodhue has found temporary work as one of the mop-up crew for the L.A. county crime division. In other words, he cleans up grisly crime scenes for the cops. But when the daughter of a recent Malibu suicide asks for his help to clean up after her brother got in a little trouble, every cell in Webs brain is telling him to turn it down. (see review)

Berkley

A Veiled Deception (A Vintage Magic Mystery) by Annette Blair (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: The right dress can be magic; the wrong one—murder! From the national bestselling author of Sensation's Witch series comes the new Vintage Magic mystery series, featuring Madeira Cutler. While opening her own vintage clothing shop, Maddie must clear her family's name when her sister's wedding festivities hit a snag: murder. (see review)

Leftover Dead by Jimmie Ruth Evans (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Waitress Wanda Nell Culpepper is barely hitched to her new husband, Jack, before the couple starts digging into an unsolved murder from thirty-one years ago--a young woman's body had been found on the Tullahoma County High School football field--they begin to uncover a twisted trail of secrets and deceit. With the help of retired schoolteacher Ernie Carpenter, they track down the original prime suspect, who swears he's innocent--and leads them to a relative of the murdered woman, who is still alive...but not for long. No sooner have Wanda and Jack met with the man when he, too, is killed--and a cold case is suddenly hotter than a fly on a grill. (see review)

Night of the Loving Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries, No. 4) by Casey Daniels (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: Introducing sleuth Pepper Martin... And now, in her fourth hip, quirky mystery, she's all ours.
Pepper Martin, heiress-turned cemetery tour-guide, often has her hands full with two hotties and the ghosts who won't let her rest or work, or shop in peace.

Now the specter of a young woman in a lab coat wants Pepper's help. Before the woman died, she worked with a sexy, mysterious doctor who coincidentally once saved Pepper's life—and who the woman claims is now in danger. But Pepper doesn't know that there's more to the story, including a devious doctor—and an obsessive, crazy love. (Source: Berkley)

Portrait of a Lady: A Leonardo DaVinci Mystery by Diane A. S. Stuckart (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $14.00) - Product Description: The legendary Renaissance man and amateur sleuth is back in this exciting follow-up to The Queen's Gambit. As court engineer to the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci turns his superior mind to a variety of pursuits—from painting to solving the occasional murder. After the deaths of two female servants, Leonardo asks his apprentice, Dino, to go undercover disguised as a woman in the service of the Duke's ward, Contessa Caterina. This should be easy enough, given that "Dino" is in reality Delfina, a young woman masquerading as a boy to serve as Leonardo's apprentice. Delfina is soon torn between her loyalty to Leonardo and her growing feelings for Gregorio, the handsome captain of the Duke's guard. But if what the Contessa's tarot cards foretold is correct, Delfina might be destined to lose her heart…and perhaps her life. (see review)

The Ghost and The Haunted Mansion: A Haunted Bookshop Mystery by Alice Kimberly (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Rhode Island bookshop owner Penelope McClure never believed in ghosts -- until she met the spirit of Jack Shepard, a big city private investigator who was gunned down in her store over sixty years ago. Now Penelope not only believes in her hard-boiled ghost, she asks for his help in solving a murder.

A loyal customer of Penelope's bookshop has been found dead on posh Larchmont Avenue. The elderly woman left a will that was recently (and suspiciously) revised to name her mailman, Seymour Tarnish, the sole heir to her estate. Many eyes in the little town turn to the hapless mailman as the murderer, including the town's police chief, but Seymour doesn't care. He's too busy settling into his posh new digs. Unfortunately, Seymour's new mansion also appears to be haunted and when the mansion's ghosts begin plaguing him, he hires a team of parapsychologists to exorcise every last spirit from the entire town. Now Penelope must not only solve a murder, and prove her friend Seymour innocent, she must act fast to save her beloved ghost; because if these "spirit zappers" actually do their job, then the ghost of Jack Shepard finally will be history. And that scares Pen a lot more than rattling chains and cold spots. (Source: Berkley)

What Time Devours by A. J. Hartley (Berkley 06 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: A dead woman. A literary treasure. A dangerous quest.
Thomas Knight, the protagonist from On the Fifth Day, returns and is faced with a centuries-old mystery surrounding a long-lost—and now priceless—Shakespearean play. To find it, Thomas will have to enter a story which drags loss and death after it like one of Shakespeare's tragedies, a story bound to time and all it devours. (see review)

Forge Books

Bright Futures: A Lew Fonesca Mystery by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Forge Books 06 January 2009 / $23.95) - Product Description: Lovable everyman Lew Fonesca, the Man Who Makes Things Work in Sarasota, is once again faced with cases that try his patience and test his sanity. 

A local curmudgeon who has been campaigning to end state-sponsored school funding is brutally killed. A recent graduate of a public high school for the gifted is arrested for the crime and turns to Lew for help.

A semi-retired and much beloved singer of children's songs is being anonymously pushed to leave Sarasota, threatened with exposure as a sexual predator. It is up to Lew to uncover the blackmailer and determine whether there is any truth to the accusation.

Lew has decided that life is worth more than just going through the motions. But will the good life that Lew so richly deserves elude him as he  uncovers some very sad truths? His final choice--do the right thing and see his happiness evaporate... or betray a trust and stay happy... (see review)

Revenge (Larry Cole) by Hugh Holton (Forge Books 06 January 2009 / $24.95) - Product Description: A brutally-wronged girl now a woman grown - cold, clever, calculating - mistakenly presumed dead.  A macabre magician with a secret past, stalked by an exotic and enigmatic assassin.  A woman with breathtaking beauty and an insidious scheme that is as vicious as she herself is vindictive.  An ex-pro-lineman turned savage gangster . . . a threat to everyone with his all-consuming greed.  A young, ambitious cop drawn to a wealthy but willful woman . . . a woman as wily as she is wild.  His father, legendary Chicago cop, Larry Cole, must stop them all, particularly the deviously deadly femme fatale. Beautiful as she is bloody, relentlessly obsessed, bent on vile, violent . . . revenge. (Source: Forge Books)

Harper

Atomic Lobster (Serge a. Storms) by Tim Dorsey (Harper 01 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Serge A. Storms is back with a bullet, torn between homicide and souvenirs, cranking up the fevered action as the pot boils over on a street called Lobster Lane. It's reunion time in the Sunshine State, and we're not just talking the family jamboree of the blood-soaked McGraw criminal clan, whose nastiest, meanest member, finally released from prison, is heading south bent on revenge. Serge's drug-addled bud Coleman's here as well, torn between getting hammered and getting more hammered, while trying to construct the biggest bong ever. Meanwhile the government is covering up a growing list of mysterious victims across Florida who may or may not be connected to a nefarious plot being hatched against national security. Something has set the Non-Confrontationalists off on a rampage. And everyone is rushing to flee Tampa on a cruise ship to hell.

(Source: Harper)

Friend of the Devil (Inspector Alan Banks) by Peter Robinson (Harper 01 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Two murders . . . two towns . . . A woman sits in a wheelchair perched on a cliff high above the sea, her throat slit from ear to ear . . .

In a maze of narrow alleys behind a market square, a teenaged girl has been murdered after a night of drunken revelries with her friends.

A pair of horrific crimes, the first—a seemingly senseless murder of a helpless paraplegic—falls to Inspector Annie Cabbot, on loan to a local police department. The terrible death of young Hayley Daniels becomes Chief Inspector Alan Banks's investigation.

But shattering revelations threaten to awaken the slumbering demons of earlier, darker times, and more blood is in the offing when the two cases brutally and unexpectedly collide.

(Source: Harper)

Grass Roots by Stuart Woods (Harper 01 January 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: Attorney Will Lee has returned to his roots to kick off his campaign for the Senate. He has come back to his hometown of Delano, Georgia, to plan his strategies, and to argue a case that has the potential to seriously damage his political career. For his hometown is a place with a dark secret, and the violent, evil forces here will stop at nothing to keep the candidate out of office. But Will Lee isn't about to back down, even though it may cost him his career—and his life.

(Source: Harper)

Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline (Harper 01 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: Mary DiNunzio has become a big-time business-getter at Rosato & Associates. But the last person she expects to walk into her office one morning—in mile-high stilettos—is super-sexy Trish Gambone, her high-school rival. Back when Mary was becoming the straight-A president of the Latin Club and Most Likely to Achieve Sainthood, Trish was the head Mean Girl, who flunked religion and excelled at smoking in the bathroom.

These days, however, Trish needs help. She is terrified of her live-in boyfriend, an abusive, gun-toting drug dealer for the South Philly mob. Mary remembers the guy from high school, too. She had a major crush on him.

Then Trish vanishes, a dead body turns up in an alley, and Mary is plunged into a nightmare that threatens her job, her family, and even her life. She goes on a one-woman crusade to unmask the killer, and on the way finds new love in a very unexpected place.

(Source: Harper)

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (Harper 01 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description:

1973, Phoenix, Arizona. A beautiful woman with a gun enters a house with her twelve-year-old daughter. When they leave, the man inside is dead.
Though the only witness to the fatal shooting is in a catatonic state and unable to testify, the police, the attorney general's office, and the media have already declared the woman guilty. But the best trial lawyer in Phoenix, Dan Morgan, has been hired to prove her innocent.

For Morgan and his idealistic young protégé, Doug McKenzie, the goal is to win at any cost. But there are no easy answers, only shocks and mysteries, as the question of guilt versus innocence takes on a profound and disturbing new meaning.

(Source: Harper)

Santa Fe Rules (Ed Eagle) by Stuart Woods (Harper 01 January 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: Successful movie producer Wolf Willett is stunned when he sees his own death reported in a major newspaper. It says he was a victim in a triple homicide during a sordid tryst with his wife and a friend. But who is the unidentified corpse? Why can't Wolf remember anything about the night in question? And who wants him dead?

Wolf had the means and motive—and his inexplicable memory loss seems far too suspicious to suit Sante Fe's crusading D.A., who promptly has Wolf arrested. And when another murder complicates the scenario, he turns to hot-shot criminal attorney Ed Eagle to help clear his name—and stop a killer who's determined to finish the job.

(see review)

The Intruders by Michael Marshall (Harper 01 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: For ex-cop Jack Whalen, it all begins with a visit from a childhood friend, a lawyer who needs Jack's help. The family of a noted scientist has been senselessly, brutally murdered, and the scientist is nowhere to be found.

But Jack has more pressing concerns. The past that drove him from the L.A.P.D. continues to haunt him. And his wife has disappeared during a routine business trip to Seattle. She never checked into her hotel, she isn't answering her cell phone. She is gone.

A third missing person, a little girl in Oregon, is found miles away. But it soon becomes obvious that she is not an innocent victim . . . and far from defenseless.

Something very strange is happening—a perplexing series of troubling events that's leading Jack Whalen into the shadows. And the secrets buried there are unlike anything he, or anyone, could possibly have imagined.

(Source: Harper)

The Run (Will Lee) by Stuart Woods (Harper 01 January 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: A respected senator from Georgia, Will Lee has loftier aspirations. But a cruel stroke of fate thrusts him onto the national stage unexpectedly, and long before he's ready for a national campaign.

The road to the White House will be more treacherous—and deadly—than Will can imagine. A courageous and principled man thrust into the spotlight, he suddenly finds himself the target of clandestine enemies who will use all their money and influence to stop him . . . dead.

Now Will Lee isn't just running for president, he's running for his life.

(Source: Harper)

White Cargo by Stuart Woods (Harper 01 January 2009 / $9.99) - Product Description: They should have killed millionaire Wendell "Cat" Catledge, but they let him live while they sent his family and his yacht to a watery grave. They let him live knowing he could never find them in the deadly drug towns of Colombia, where they ruled as untouchable kings. Then, late one night Catledge receives a phone call—and one word launches one man's total war against a ruthless and terrifying evil.

(Source: Harper)

Jove

Warning Signs by CJ Lyons (Jove 27 January 2009 / $7.99) - Product Description: The national bestseller LIFELINES felt "like all the best episodes of ER and Grey's Anatomy squeezed into one breathtaking novel" (Hilton Head Magazine). With WARNING SIGNS, CJ Lyons returns to the front lines of the struggle between life and death...

On rotation at Pittsburgh 's Angels of Mercy Hospital and struggling to finish medical school, Amanda Mason can't afford to make any mistakes--or to reveal a troubling secret. Mysterious symptoms that defy diagnosis have been affecting her performance, and as she struggles to keep control, the only person who seems to notice is the irritatingly observant and sexy Dr. Lucas Stone.

But when one patient showing the same strange symptoms dies and another slips into a coma, Amanda realizes the clock is ticking on her own survival. With the help of her friends--Gina, a roommate recovering from her own trauma; Lydia, a streetwise ER attending; and Nora, a by-the-book charge nurse--Amanda must solve this medical mystery before she becomes the next victim... (Source: Jove)

Leapfrog Press

Berlin by Michael Mirolla (Leapfrog Press 01 January 2009 / $14.95) - Product Description: The Berlin Wall falls. A continent away, a mysterious mental patient awakes from a two-year stupor. His obsession with Berlin is unexplained. His escape from the hospital launches a surreal adventure in which past blends with future, and death is used to change the fabric of the world in a freakish experiment on transcendental philosophy. Like Franz Kafka or Italo Calvino in their blending of the real and surreal, or like a psychedelic drug trip, this story brings the reader into West Berlin's seamy underlife-the omnipresent wall, transvestite bars, and sadomasochism. It is a secret world where a concentration-camp survivor sells gas stoves, a world of philosophical intelligentsia, adultery, and murder. Frenetic, kaleidoscopic, horrible, brilliant. (Source: Leapfrog Press)

NAL

The Leopard's Prey: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda (NAL 06 January 2009 / $24.95) - Product Description: Fourth in the series.
American adventuress Jade del Cameron has returned home to British East Africa to help the Perkins and Daley Zoological Company collect wild animals for zoos in the States. But the real danger begins when the body of a local merchant is found on a coffee-growing plantation. Authorities determine the cause of death to be murder—and their prime suspect is Jade's beau, movie-maker and ace World War I flyer Sam Featherstone. To clear Sam's name, Jade launches her own investigation, but nothing prepares her for the journey that lies ahead, during which she'll have to confront more than one kind of brutal killer, face-to-face. (Source: NAL)

Severn House

Deadly Verdict by Andrew Neiderman (Severn House 01 January 2009 / $15.95) - Product Description: When a professional jury foreman goes missing, the FBI puts agents Holland Byron and a new recuit Wyatt Ert on the case.

Soon other jurors go missing and turn up dead--as do their wives and husbands. Is the entire programme under attack or is it just guilty defendants exacting their revenge?

The shocking discoveries Holland and Wyatt make about the new legal system turn a sci-fi detective story into a challenge on the nature of man and the pursuit of good and evil in an increasingly impersonal world. (Source: Severn House)

Signet

Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read by William Rabkin (Signet 06 January 2009 / $6.99) - Product Description: Based on the hit usa network TELEVISION series. A tie-in readers will be totally "psyched" about...

Shawn Spencer has convinced everyone he's psychic. Now, HE HAS TO either clean up— or be found out…

After the PSYCH detective agency gets some top-notch publicity, Shawn's high-school nemesis, Dallas Steele, hires him to help choose his investments. Naturally, their predictions turn out to be total busts. And the deceptive Dallas is thrilled that he has completely discredited and humiliated Shawn once and for all—until he's found murdered.

But the police have a suspect—found at the scene with a smoking gun. And she says Shawn took control of her mind and forced her to do it. After all, he is a psychic… (Source: Signet)

Soho Constable

Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce (Soho Constable 01 January 2009 / $25.00) - Product Description: Gary Goodhew is intelligent, intuitive, and the youngest detective at Cambridge's Parkside Station. When Gary discovers the first body in a series of murders involving an eccentric Cambridge family, he gets his chance to work on a homicide investigation. He must use his own initiative to flush out the killer, even though it means risking his job and discovering the truth about the one person he hopes is innocent.

Alison Bruce was born in Surrey, United Kingdom, and now lives in Cambridge. She is the author of two previous nonfiction books, Cambridgeshire Murders and The Billingtons, Death in the Family.

(see review)

Soho Crime

Blood of the Wicked (Chief Inspector Mario Silva) by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 01 January 2009 / $13.00) - Product Description: In the interior of Brazil, landless workers battle the owners of vast fazendas. When a visiting archbishop is assassinated, Mario Silva of the federal police is called upon to investigate. Then a newspaper owner, a TV journalist, a landowner's son, and a priest are brutally killed. In a country where dead street kids are known as "hams," justice is scarce.

Leighton Gage has spent many years in Brazil, where he maintains a home. He also resides in Florida and lives part of the year in the Netherlands.

(Source: Soho Crime)

Buried Strangers by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 01 January 2009 / $24.00) - Product Description: A playful dog finds a bone at the outset of this mystery set in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the federal police based in Brasilia and his team of investigators, Hector Costa and Arnaldo Nunes, are called in. The bone is human and the investigators soon unearth a clandestine cemetery. Someone has secretly disposed of the bodies of unknown human beings, often interred in family groups. And in Sao Paulo, it turns out, many patrons of a local travel agency have never reached their North American destinations. The motive for these mass murders is completely contemporary and completely appalling. (see review)

St. Martin's Minotaur

A Rule Against Murder (An Armand Gamache Novel) by Louise Penny (St. Martin's Minotaur 20 January 2009 / $24.95) - Product Description: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, Louise Penny's wise and engaging '21st-century version of Hercule Poirot' ("Publishers Weekly", starred review), is looking forward to celebrating his wedding anniversary at the remote, luxurious Manoir Bellechasse. The only other guests are members of the Finney family - rich, cultured, and respectable - who have arrived at the height of summer to unveil a slightly startling memorial to their late father.As the heat wave gathers strength, it's surprising when Peter and Clara Morrow, from the well-loved village of Three Pines, turn up at the family gathering - but much more of a shock when old secrets and buried resentments turn out to be only a prelude to murder. As Gamache's holiday becomes a busman's anniversary, he learns that the seemingly peaceful lodge is a place where visitors come to escape their past, until that past catches up with them. Agatha and Anthony Award-winning author Louise Penny breathes brilliant new life into the classic drawing-room mystery. (Source: St. Martin's Minotaur)

Honestly Dearest, You're Dead: A Mystery (Dek Elstrom Mysteris) by Jack Fredrickson (St. Martin's Minotaur 20 January 2009 / $24.95) - Product Description: A Safe Place for Dying, the first in Jack Fredrickson's highly acclaimed Dek Elstrom mystery series, was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best First Novel. Now, Chicago P.I. Dek Elstrom is back in an electrifying new mystery.

A lawyer calls Dek with a fast, seven-hundred dollar proposition. A dead client named Dek to execute her will. No matter that Dek didn't know the woman. No matter, too, that the woman's estate was only worth a few hundred. Happens all the time, the lawyer said.

To Dek Elstrom, broke and huddling in a cold stone turret in the middle of February, the sound of seven hundred falling down his chimney is louder than his voice of reason. He agrees, heads up to a hamlet ten miles north of nowhere. But instead of finding an easy-to-close estate, he finds blood and the markers of a shattered life. And something worse: links to the darkest part of his own past. He races to chase down leads to the killer, and his own ghost…before the dead woman is killed again. (Source: St. Martin's Minotaur)

William Morrow

A Matter of Justice: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd (William Morrow 01 January 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: At the turn of the century, in a war taking place far from England, two soldiers chance upon an opportunity that will change their lives forever. To take advantage of it, they will be required to do the unthinkable, and then to put the past behind them. But not all memories are so short.

Twenty years later, a successful London businessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. Called upon to investigate, Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge soon discovers that the victim was universally despised. Even the man's wife—who appears to be his wife in name only—and the town's police inspector are suspect. But who, among the many, hated him enough to kill?

Rutledge tenaciously follows a well-concealed trail reaching back to an act so barbarous and with consequences so devastating that even the innocent are enveloped by the murderous tide of events. As he summons all his skills to break through a wall of silence in time to stem this tide, others are eager to twist the truth for their own ends. When justice takes a malevolent turn, can Rutledge's own career survive?

(Source: William Morrow)

Bones of Betrayal: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (William Morrow 03 January 2009 / $24.99) - From back of book: When an unidentified body is pulled form a murky swimming pool in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, police call Body Farm founder Bill Brockton for help. With his graduate assistant, Miranda Lovelady, Brockton determines that the elderly victim didn't drown; he died of radiation poisoning. As they begin to search for answers, the forensic detectives discover the victim was Dr. Leonard Novak, a renowned Manhattan Project physicist and the designer of a plutonium reactor used to create the first atomic bombs in 1945.

Struggling to cut through the Gordian knot of Manhattan Project history, Brockton finds a charming and utterly unreliable guide to help him wade through wartime Oak Ridge: 90-year-old Beatrice Montgomery. As his witness drifts between lucidity and dementia, Brockton isn't sure if what Beatrice reveals is fact or fancy, history or myth. Unfortunately, she's the only one who can help him solve the case. But waht Beatrice cannot--or will not--tell is whether her tale is true or false--or something far darker and more complex. (see review)

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (William Morrow 01 January 2009 / $24.99) - Product Description: It all started with the yard sale. Ivy was eight months and one week pregnant when she insisted that she and her husband, David, clean out the junk they'd inherited with the old Victorian house they'd bought three years before. Call it nesting, call it nervesshe just wanted it all gone: the old electrical fixtures, the boxes of National Geographics from the 1960s, the four black wool greatcoats.

Neither she nor David recognized the woman at first. But it turned out that the customer asking about the lime-green glass swan dishthe woman who looks just about as pregnant as Ivywas none other than Melinda White, a former high school classmate of David and Ivy's. When Melinda was a child she used to play in their new house, she explained. It looked like they'd been doing some work. Would it be all right if she took a look around? David took Melinda inside. And she never came out.

Now David's under police suspicion, and Ivy finds herself digging deep into the past to clear his name. But David's history, she begins to discover, is not necessarily the history she remembers, and before long Ivy has uncovered a twisted web of deceit, betrayal, and lies, both the ones we tell those we love and the ones we tell ourselves. . . .

Relentlessly fast-paced and disturbingly creepy, Never Tell a Lie is a page-turning thrill ride about how well we know the people we love, and how far we are willing to go to protect the secrets of our past.

(Source: William Morrow)

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