Overcoming loss—finding the courage to move on—trying to stay alive
Late in the Cold War, a young woman escapes from Communist Hungary, vanishing into the night with a priceless painting and a baby girl—setting events in motion from a decades-old secret that will change lives for generations to come.
Many years later, classical pianist Maggie O’Shea is drawn to Cornwall in search of a long-lost Van Gogh and the truth behind her husband’s death. A journal from World War II Paris holds many of the answers, but only two people know where the Van Gogh is hidden now—a courageous nun and a man presumed dead.
Set against the backdrop of the international music and art world, Maggie finds herself on a collision course with three dangerous Russians who threaten all she holds dear—including her life and the life of the man she has come to love.
Past and present converge in this haunting tale of loss, courage, love, and revenge.
Perfect for fans of Sandra Brown and Iris Johansen
While the novels in the Maggie O’Shea Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence is:
The Lost Concerto
The Lost Concerto introduces Boston classical pianist Maggie O’Shea. Haunted by the violent death of her husband, grief has crushed her passion for music. Moving on is unthinkable, until an old photograph draws Maggie to Paris in a desperate search for her missing godson. Threatened by a vicious killer, Maggie is swept up in decades-old secrets involving stolen art and music. Maggie will fight for a little boy’s life and discover an unexpected love - and a priceless concerto lost for decades.
Dark Rhapsody (Book 2 of the Maggie O’Shea Classical Music Suspense Series)
As classical pianist Maggie O’Shea prepares for her return to the music world, an unforgettable rhapsody and roses from a sinister admirer draw her into the mystery of her mother’s death and deadly secrets from World War II. In a compelling blend of past and present, Maggie is hunted by a brutal, disfigured killer who threatens those she holds dear – a vanished symphony conductor, the innocent heir to a priceless Matisse, and the colonel she has come to love.
“Mario has once again hit all the right notes with Shadow Music, drawing the reader into a landscape of art and music . . . using a tuning fork of spine-tingling suspense.” —Sandra Brown, New York Times best-selling author
“Mario writes with the soul of a poet, painting her characters and scenes with deft touches of insight and wit. Her heroine, Maggie O’Shea, will burrow into your heart. Dark Rhapsody is that rare novel—a story that’s a page-turner and a deeply felt character study.” —Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author
“Skeletons bang on closet doors, longing to be set free—and free they are in this terrific mix of mystery and mayhem. Every page is fraught with danger and surprise. [The Lost Concerto is] a true banquet for thriller readers.” —Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author
“Richly atmospheric, excellent can't-put-it-down pacing, enticing, and compelling characters. [The Lost Concerto is] really terrific storytelling.” —M. J. Rose, New York Times best-selling author
“If you love classical music, a challenging thriller, a twisting mystery, and complex characters, The Lost Concerto is for you. Lushly layered, full of evocative prose and surprises, and wonderfully told, this one’s a must-read. I couldn’t put it down.” —J. T. Ellison, New York Times best-selling author
“Music is not just backdrop here but also a character that permeates Maggie’s life . . . bolstered by the transformative power of classical music, Maggie finds what has been lost, including herself. Brava!” —Library Journal (Starred Review)
Publishers Weekly, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene
Publishers Weekly, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 28 members
This is a well-done murder mystery, lost art, music filled story that has a steller opening. The first chapter pulls you in and really doesn’t ever let you go. There are a few scenes that I felt were past the believability point but otherwise the storyline flows well and all the characters are well defined. I especially liked Maggie, Michael, Dov and of course we can’t leave out Shiloh and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book. Quick easy read with a nice ending. I received an ARC from Oceanview Publishing along with NetGalley for my honest review. This one comes in with 4 stars.
Not quite the story I presumed to be liked. In my perspective, this book is just an ordinary Mystery & thriller-themed story that does not have any unique factor. A young woman was killed by Russian soldiers, she was carrying her daughter and a priceless painting which is now in the hands of a nun. This is the past that changes the lives of generations to come. In the present day, Maggie thought she had a new life now that her previous husband is dead. She had found new love and found her music again. Everything changes when she knew that her late husband, Johnny might still be alive. Little did they know that her late husband is investigating about the missing painting of Van Gogh before he was presumed killed. Russian smugglers think that Johnny had solved the mystery of finding the missing painting and have told Maggie its location before he was killed. Thus, start the cat and mouse chase of good vs bad. I get how the story was vivid, creative, and complex. Characters do not portray who they truly are at first. It is like in real life that it takes a long time to get to know someone and the characters in this book are the same. I like how they can portrait more than what you had first thought about who they are. It is not common for me to like the characters and hate the story, it usually the other way around. I get that it is not for me but still appreciate the good work on how this book came from.
Shadow Music Helaine Mario Book 3 staring Maggie O’Shea is simply amazing atmospheric and poignant full of danger suspense and most of all music. In her author’s note Helaine Mario tells readers that she wants them to fall into Maggie’s story and that is exactly what they’ll do, body and soul. Budapest 1985: An escape attempt to the west turns tragic when a young woman is killed by Russian soldiers leaving her best friend a nun to make the crossing with the woman’s now motherless infant daughter and priceless treasures from the past. Present day: World renowned concert pianist, Maggie O’Shea has finally found her music again and has found love again with Colonel Michael Beckett after the tragic death of her husband, Johnny, almost two years before. She’s even considering performing the beautiful and difficult Rachmaninoff Concerto 2 with The New Russian Symphony Orchestra after being asked by their tour arranger Yuri Blankov until she’s visited by a past adversary who tells her that Johnny may still be alive leaving her no choice but to go and find out. Colonel Michael Beckett has his own problems dealing with the murder of his late best friend’s daughter and finding her missing son, Dov. Never the less he doesn’t want Maggie to go off searching for Johnny but loves and knows her enough to know that there’s no stopping her, even when they learn from their friend and government agent Simon Sugarman that the last case Johnny was working on, a missing Van Gough painting has come to light again. Helaine Mario takes readers on an incredible journey through time and music with, Shadow Music, her latest novel staring Maggie O’Shea. Beginning with this master storyteller’s prologue set in late cold war Budapest to a huge plot bomb she drops early in the story to the very last page the action never stops and the speed never slows enough for the audience to catch their breaths between one crisis and another and yet they’re often gifted to the mundane minutia that makes everyday life such a treasure like a sunset, an ocean breeze or a cherished memory. Her wonderful, expressive prose like narrative flows beautifully and her deliciously thrilling storyline will keep her audience engaged and engrossed, excited to connect all the ingenious convoluted plot dots. Her characters are the glue that binds this novel and not only fan favorites like Maggie, Michael, Sugar, Robbie and of course Michael’s three-legged dog Shiloh, but also the newcomers like the troubled teen Dov and even the bad guys. But it’s Maggie and Michael that are, as always, the true standouts, how their love Phoenix like rose from the ashes of their pasts, so inspiring and now maybe in trouble. Then there’s the music, oh the music, and this story focuses on Rachmaninoff and his Piano Concerto 2 one of the most celebrated and difficult works for piano and how Maggie in between personal pitfalls, dodging danger and bad guys manages to bring it to life. Music is at the heart and soul of every one of Helaine’s Maggie O’Shea books and Shadow Music is the perfect Cadence for her (so-far) three-part symphony. Brava! Shadow Music stands well alone but for deeper character and storyline understanding read the novels, The Lost Concerto, Dark Rhapsody and Shadow Music in order. Fans of women’s fiction, romantic suspense and fans of Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen and Sandra Brown will love Shadow Music and Helaine Mario.
I truly enjoyed this wonderful book. The characters are rich and multifaceted, and make you want to continue turning page after page! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this title early and review!
I am finding it hard to review this book without spoilers. I rated it a 4,5 actually. I liked the authors development of the characters, use of music in the plot, and multifaceted descriptions. It was a book, that for me, was hard to put down about half way through. I would like to read more from the author.
Set in the present time, the Cold War Years and World War Two. I loved the way this was written with references to classical music and famous artists. Classical musician Maggie O’Shea is drawn into helping a friend solve a mystery and find a long lost Van Gogh. Maggie travels to Cornwall searching for answers. Her life is in danger as three Russians are also looking for the lost Van Gogh. This was fast moving and full of twists and turns. I loved the descriptive scenes in Cornwall when Maggie visits a site of standing stones and Tintagel Castle.
I would like to begin by thanking NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the opportunity to read this ebook. I did not realize this was a book from a series when I began to read it but I was quick to discover this as there were so many characters that were not given a backstory so I felt rather lost. This is a book that covers murder, mystery, suspense, grief, love and starting over. This may seem like a lot for one book but the author manages to weave all of these things into one book. Maggie is the main character and she has faced many hardships yet still manages to love deeply. The other characters are likeable, even without knowing their history from the other books. The story takes us from present day US to Hungary and France during WWII. It has a poignant storyline that I really enjoyed. The rest of the story was very slow in the beginning but it did all come together in the end. I would highly suggest you read this series in order so you don’t feel as confused as I was. Overall it is a good book with enough suspense and intrigue to keep you interested.
This is the third in a series but my first and intriguing enough for me to read the first two. Classical music and art are seamlessly infused throughout, giving the story a beautiful angle. We see PTSD, peril, secrets, effects of war, love, deception, insight and hope. Even gorgeous Tintagel Castle, one of my favourites, is involved, contributing to the atmosphere. A daring and necessary escape is made from Communist Hungary during the Cold War. A baby survives and is hidden for safety. A priceless van Gogh is secreted away and decades later searched for by various parties but only two people on earth know where it is. Precious music is lost as well. Plots within plots. Maggie O'Shea, a concert pianist has much at stake and finds herself caught in sticky web upon sticky web as she seeks answers. I like the multilayered mysteries with the Cold War tie. Well done. My sincere thank you to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this enthralling book.
A book for lovers of music and art best enjoyed with Chopin and Rachmaninoff playing in the background. This is the first Maggie O'Shea book I have read so now I have to go back and find the earlier novels. while familiar with the music mentioned I read with phone in hand looking up the images of artwork I didn't know. Characters are engaging and words well written. An enjoyable afternoon's read. If you enjoy Iris Johansen and Sandra Brown you will love this book
I read this book not knowing that it was the third book in a series until I was part way through. Although I had no trouble following the plot, I suspect certain events or motivations would have been more meaningful had I read the other books first. There are parallel story lines running through this book, but essentially they all centre around a Van Gogh painting that vanished during the cold war when a young mother is shot down attempting to escape Hungary. Her best friend escapes and disappears with her infant daughter. At present day, our heroine Maggie is pulled into the mystery when information comes to light that her late husband, an investigative journalist, may have had information regarding the whereabouts of the painting before his untimely death. The Russian mafia is also hot on the trial of the missing Van Gogh. What ensues is an international cat and mouse game as multiple factions race to locate the painting. The multiple story lines tie together nicely in the end, still leaving potential for another installment. Overall I enjoyed this book and its look behind the scenes into the worlds of classical musical and historical art. Thank you to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Like other reviewers, I picked this up not realizing that this was the third book in a series. I think that this book is definitely manageable as a stand alone, but I do have to wonder how much more I would have appreciated some of this book with the background of the other two stories. The writing was engaging and the plot was well constructed.
I was really surprised by this book. I read it not knowing that this is the third book in a series but that did not matter, it was still fantastic, and I was able to follow the storyline without any difficulty. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves and appreciates both music and the arts. I felt like I was taken on a wild ride that was part espionage thriller, historical fiction, murder mystery and sweet romance.
It’s nice to see Maggie O’Shea again. She’s still as strong and reliable as ever. Her relationship with Beckett is going strong and she’s successful in her career as a pianist. The death of her husband is still a sore spot, but things are going back to normal when she gets involved in another historical mystery. This time it’s a lost Van Gogh. Her late hubby may have known where it was and he could have told her. He didn’t, but three shady Russians don’t know that. I like how Maggie is older than your typical heroine and this time she’s not the only resourceful woman around. I liked the discussions about philosophy, art and history. I especially enjoyed when Maggie plays the piano and the reader sees the music through her eyes. I also loved Shiloh the dog and all the animals in the story. I wasn’t too crazy about the dialogues, which sound a little contrived, or the way the plot relies heavily on coincidence. Sometimes I was worried about what was going to happen to a character, but the situation resolved in an anticlimactic manner. That said, this is the perfect mystery for art and music lovers, as well as history buffs. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Oceanview Publishing!
This mystery is complicated and a bit slow in the initial few chapters. It does have some parts that drew me in and kept me reading. I didn't know at the time this was the 3rd book in a series. It probably would have helped to read the first two and become more invested in the characters. I received an advanced readers copy from Net Galley for my unbiased review.
In 1985 Donata Kardos and her infant goddaughter escaped from Hungary. The infant was the granddaughter of a famous composer who had been in possession of a lost Van Gogh. During the escape the child’s mother was killed and Donata disappeared with the child and the painting. In the present, Maggie O’Shea, the widow of a noted journalist, is drawn into the hunt for the missing painting. Her husband Johnny had been in contact with Donata shortly before his death. His last interview was with Yuri Belankov, a wealthy Russian living in Washington who collects art. Yuri believes that he is the father of the child who escaped with Donata and finding her will finally reveal the location of the Van Gogh. He is a dangerous man who arranged an encounter with Maggie hoping to discover what her husband knew. Maggie is a concert pianist who lost the ability to concentrate on her music after her husband’s death. It has been well over a year and she is finally performing again. With the support of Michael Bennett she has also found love. Contacted by someone in her past, she discovers that Johnny may still be alive. While Michael is her current love, she also has feelings for her lost husband and sets off to find the truth. Michael has a quest of his own. The daughter of a friend who saved him in Viet Nam has been murdered and he has to find her missing teenage son. She had worked for the Russian mafia and passed information to her son shortly before her death. Now Michael searches the streets of New York to find him and offer him protection. Maggie displays passion not only for her music, but also for the men in her life. She has finally emerge from the grief that almost destroyed her and she is stronger and more determined not only to find the truth, but also to master a difficult piece of music. As she works to achieve her goals Helaine Mario merges each of the story lines into a final showdown. Along with Maggie, Mario offers strong characters. Michael runs a ranch that offers rehabilitation for veterans. Despite his past, he feels ill-equipped to deal with a teenager who refuses his help. Yevgeny witnessed his mother’s murder and is distrustful of the help being offered. The one thing that brings them together is Shiloh, Michael’s dog with an attitude and personality that no one can resist. Mario’s characters and the surprising twists that she offers make this a story that hits all of the right notes. I would like to thank NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for making this book available for my review.