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review 2017-01-31 20:25
Right Behind You
Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583‚Äč

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +


Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.



By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You
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review 2016-10-26 21:11
Conflict of Interest
Conflict of Interest (A Casey Cort Novel Book 4) - Aime Austin,Sylvie Fox
Casey Cort #4
ASIN: B01IQ534U8
Publisher: Penner Media
Publication Date: 10/18/2016
Format: Kindle 
My Rating: 4 Stars 


On the heels of Aime Austin’s (Fox) In Plain Sight (2015) with one of my favorite female lawyers (sleuth), and a quick rewind of Casey Cort’s early life in a recent novella, Common Pleas Lawyer (2016), she finds herself front and center in yet another high-profile controversial racial battle, in her latest installment, CONFLICT OF INTEREST (Casey Cort #4) which could be ripped from today’s real-world news headlines.

There is a lot going on here!


"Casey is in Cleveland which has seen its share of economic collapse, political corruption, and urban renewal. In many ways, the city is at a crossroads. In Conflict of Interest,Casey confronts one of this country's most controversial issues, police shootings."

Having read all the books in the Casey Cort series they are full of adventure, action-packed legal scenes, cop procedures, suspense, mystery, tons of humor, creative plotlines, and very real characters.

Austin's (Fox) knowledge of the criminal justice system and the courtroom is apparent throughout her writing, as is her understanding of how the media influences public opinion of high-profile trials, and the actions of those involved.

Cort, the protagonist of Austin’s (Fox) rambunctious fourth legal thriller is in the "middle of controversy" which always has a way of finding her. She never had a desire to be in the public eye, yet she finds herself caught in the middle of both sides of the law, in her career as well as her personal life. She had assumed she would eventually get married, have kids and maybe work part-time. None of this was what she had planned for her life.

In the previous book, Casey was involved in a case defending a sex-trafficking ring leader, Jarrod Carter (Sledge Hammer) and became involved helping some innocent young girls. Afterward, she had her fill of criminal law which was a contributing factor to the demise of her love relationship with sexy U.S. Attorney Miles Siegel. (love him). He questioned her morals.

After an uplifting year of pro bono adoption work under her belt, she was hoping to start a practice free of the emotional turmoil and problems of criminal defense and divorce.Anything, but simple!

Presently, she is trying to make it on her own with her faithful assistant, her friend Lulu, and of course her adorable gay neighbor friends, Greg and Jason. Miles (her ex-boyfriend) is back once again for some rekindled love action (yeah, if she does not screw it up again). Appears she "needs" his expertise in more than one way.

Set in Cleveland, Ohio, December 28, 2005. We move intoConflict of Interest, where we meet some new characters told from different POVs.

Marc Baldwin, a white cop, married to Jen, with two children, on the beat for twenty years, gets a tip about suspected drug activity near a restaurant alley in the Flats area. He is a little cocky. His partner in the squad car. He checks out the location and sees a suspicious black man approaching in the alley with a sweatshirt and hood up, and he does not stop. It looks like he is coming toward him, reaching for a weapon and Marc, the cop shoots him.

Troy Duncan, the victim; a black young chef with a promising future, a fiancé, and two children. He works at a restaurant Spencer’s for the owner, Spencer Milburn. Troy is really the one who is the foundation of the restaurant and keeps it running, and the doors open. From cooking, prepping, menu planning, food ordering, to stretching their budget and innovative marketing ideas. He has talent. He had worked hard at the upscale bistro, even though his boss does not seem to be doing his part.

The New Year holidays were approaching and his boss tells him he can leave as they are closing early due to lack of business. However, Troy being the efficient one stays to clean up, planning menus and cleans his knives. It is winter and cold outside. He leaves out the back door to head home to his family to catch the bus. When he is shot by a cop in the alley.


The Flats, area where the restaurant is located:

"The White folks would think they were getting something exotic. Black folks would feel at home. Seemed like the perfect compromise for this area smack dab in the middle of Cleveland’s so-called revitalization. Light some bridges, build a light rail and bam, you had gentrification."

Troy lives with Lynell (last eight years), and they have two children: Ellison and Zora. He is still legally married to his childhood friend, Campbell (story here) and they have never got a divorce. He is close to his parents and loving supportive family.

Troy winds up in the hospital. Everyone thinks he is a drug dealer ignoring a cop’s orders, when he was totally innocent- without a weapon. Marc gets put on leave during the investigation. He needs an attorney since the union is representing his partner. Was the shooting necessary to defend his life? Was using his weapon a good idea, in light of the perceived threat? Was what he did, reasonable?

However, at the hospital, Troy is treated like a common criminal. He is black. No one is taking care of him properly and dismissing him and his health. He is taken into custody- meaning jail or prison. His family is devastated. He is seriously injured and will be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. Who will take care of his family?

Told From different POV Augustus, Marc, Troy, and Casey.

Augustus (Gus) Duncan, is the older father of Troy and wife Myrtle. They are not even allowed to see him. Why are they treating Troy like a criminal, when he is the one who was shot by a cop? Arrest, Charges, Jail. Troy needs a lawyer. He is the victim. An unarmed black man. Panic set in. Both he and Myrtle had escaped the South, but they had not escaped racial injustice.

A high profile case, Vernon Dinwiddie takes Duncan's case. It is now the first of the year, January 2006. The media, riots, and a divided city. Marc hires Casey Cort. Troy is paralyzed. Due to a conflict of interest, the union was taking care of Darlene Webb, his partner and cannot take him on. (a conflict of interest is an ongoing theme throughout the thriller).

Casey does not want to get back into criminal law. She takes the case. A civil lawsuit, but if he has possible criminal actions, then he can get another attorney. High profile Reverend Emery Wilkinson is leading a protest, of the way the city is handling the Troy Duncan shooting. Now she finds herself on the wrong side - she is not popular.

On a personal note, Lulu wants Casey to start dating, but she does not have the time nor the effort to go through the emotions. (funny stories here) on the dating scene.

Things turn worse for Troy. The charges change. Marc is not upfront about his past. Casey is blindsided. There are circumstances. The hospital, jail, and the staff are not attentive to Troy’s needs. A death. A broken system. A black man shot at the hands of a white police officer. Housed in a jail infirmary that had no provision for caring for him. Instead of getting the medication he needed he was denied care until he became critical until it was too late. Who is to blame? What about Marc’s past?

A town of black and white. Reverend Wilkinson and Mayor Gates would be looking for a scapegoat. Murder, Manslaughter, Assault with a deadly weapon. Three felonies. The badge cannot protect. Times have changed. A political grandstand. Gus and his family want revenge or at least justice.

In the midst, of the drama, Casey turns to her ex-boyfriend Miles for help with the case. By his calculations, he was on the right side of the law; she was on the wrong side. He had not had room for any wrong in his life. Here she is in common pleas; he in the US Attorney’s office. The moral compass. Miles was also black, was a cop before he was a prosecutor. However, even though they butt heads, the chemistry is still there. (Sizzle)! Miles may want to try again; however, is Casey up for the effort?


Casey uses her creative sleuthing and her legal expertise to gather critical information. When things are not always black and white. Will the investigation bring other items to the surface? Also, a city of the verge of a riot and her future career. Will the town find peace and will justice be served?

A non-stop ride, marked by legal and moral gray areas, a great suspense novel with an extra dose of humor and a lot of clever twists. One of my favorite legal series! Loving the new branding to differentiate Fox’s writing of women’s fictions and her legal thrillers now Aime Austin (pen name). Whether it is Aime or Sylvie, they both know how to shake up a courtroom with enough real-life expertise to keep legal fans coming back for more, Casey Cort.

The real magic of Austin’s (Fox) writing is her dynamic, richly textured characters which come alive on the page, and the visceral, often gritty settings they frequent, with modern real life topics, mixed with the perfect personal dynamics and lots of wit.

Always an adventure, Casey is witty and smart, (often, poor judgment), good instincts. She reminds me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum (Stephanie/Lula/Ranger/Joe Morelli), similar to Casey/Miles/Tom/Lulu. Does Casey or Stephanie really want, a relationship, or just like the thought of one?

Gus was a great addition and loved his wife Myrtle; from a different generational viewpoint -a nice touch. I am a huge fan of Miles, so hope they can stay together and give it a shot.

On a serious note, fans of Jodi Picoult’s, Great Small Things will enjoy the racial conflict with the highly charged topics, different points of view, and lawyer (s) caught in the middle.

A side note: As we left off with In Plain Sight (a cliffhanger) was expecting to pick up with these characters. Hopefully, Austin will pick up with a continuation, (HINT) in future books. There were too many characters left with unresolved issues and unanswered questions. I am positive they will resurface again in the future.

After all, if Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum is coming up on her 23rd Turbo Twenty-Three installment next month, then surely Casey Cort has at least 20+ more books to come. (I truly am invested in these characters). Can you tell?


Looking forward to Casey Cort #5 THE RIGHT TO LIFE, Coming March 1, 2017. 


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Conflict-of-Interest/cmoa/573bd20f0cf20a8824de09cd
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review 2016-10-01 06:29
The Heavens May Fall
The Heavens May Fall - Allen Eskens
ISBN: 1633882055
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Publication Date: 10/4/2016 
Format: Other
My Rating:  5 Stars 

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Seventh Street Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Allen Eskens, a superb talent at building suspense— returns following The Guise of Another (2015) and The Life We Bury(2014) with his third strong novel, THE HEAVENS MAY FALL, (2016) featuring three characters from his previous bestselling books with a gripping murder case told from two perspectives.

The nice blend of legal drama, crime, mystery, and suspense with the twisty plot, will keep readers turning the pages! I love how he keeps his characters alive (they are not done 'not by a long shot').

Interview with the author

Summary of Characters
The Heavens May Fall, features co-protagonists, who were secondary characters in The Life We Bury. Max Rupert, the homicide detective from The Life We Bury, is investigating the death of Jennavieve Pruitt and is convinced that her husband, Ben, committed the murder. Ben is a friend and former protégé of Boady Sanden, the law professor from The Life We Bury. Boady comes out of retirement to defend Ben and is convinced that his friend is innocent.

If you will recall from the previous books, Boady and Max are friends in The Life We Bury and this case test that friendship to the limits. Also, each man has a personal demon to confront as the case builds. Ben is in the middle of these two former friends. With the case leading to trial, we hear from Max's POV- convincing us Ben is 'guilty'. Boady's POV, Ben is 'innocent." You have to read to find out which one is correct.

Minneapolis homicide Detective Max Rupert and his defense attorney, Boady Sanden are no longer friends. Max wanted Boady to know that lines had been crossed and it would forever sever the connection they once shared.

He didn’t need notes to take him back to that morning. He remembered it all too well. It was a broken morning, torn apart by the memories that visited him every year on the anniversary of his wife’s death. He had promised he would protect her and never let anything happen to her. They were going to grow old together.

It has been four years to the day since he broke that promise. As the months turned to years, he found a way to live with the sadness and grief, but he never learned to live with the guilt. Her death had gone unsolved. Not his case. He was the husband and the husband can’t be involved in the investigation. He was locked out and the hit-and-run-driver got away.

Presently Max has a new case on the anniversary of his wife’s death. A woman, an alley. He was quickly reminded of his Jenni. The woman wore a pair of earrings with diamonds. After tracking down the buyer of the earrings, it pointed to criminal defense attorney, Benjamin Lee Pruitt. She was found naked and dead in a bookstore parking lot. A socialite. Philanthropist. Daughter of Emerson Adler. She runs a number of foundations, but her main focus was a wetlands preservation group. Ben’s wife.

Max Rupert is convinced that Jennavieve Pruitt was murdered by her husband Ben. They also have a daughter Emma, ten years old. Whoever killed Mrs. Puritt had used Emma’s bedspread to haul her out of the house. Is he on the run with his daughter? Was she surprised or did she know her attacker?

“He may never be able to bring his own wife’s killer to justice, but this man squandered a gift. He killed his wife, a woman who loved and trusted him. Pruitt threw away that which Max would kill to have back.“

If he could bring Jennavieve Pruitt the justice denied to his own wife, she might help him find some small measure of peace. He knew this bordered on fantasy, maybe even crazy,but deep inside he hoped it to be true.

Ben turns to Boady to represent him even though he is no longer an acting attorney, but has kept his license. Ben thinks Max is coming after him and he knows no one is better than his friend to have on his side; Digging the truth out of a mess of lies. Ben knows if Rupert doesn’t find the real killer, he will come after him.

Boady is not sure his wife, will approve of his involvement. He was his former law partner and he was Emma’s godfather. She will be worried due to the Quinto case, that nearly killed her husband.

Professor Boady Sanden thinks that Ben, now his client, is innocent. Ben was in Chicago at an NACDL convention (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers), on white collar crime, and was unaware of the whereabouts of his wife and daughter. Boady did not believe Ben would ever hurt his wife.

Max as the lead investigator, combined with the anniversary of Jenni Rupert’s death- things start unfolding and become intense quickly. Max and Boady are on opposite sides. Add Jennavieve’s sister, Anna Adler-King in the mix, who has her own motive for murder and for getting Ben, her brother-in-law charged with the crime.

A prenuptial agreement. Death over divorce? The family business. What else? Motive? Hang on . . . there is much more. (A good book does not give up all its secrets at once).

Boady is caught in the middle between his friendship with both Ben and Max. Boady had taught Ben about the game of chess. Boady had been one of the best at playing that game as relates to moves by the prosecution and tuning out distractions.

We also catch up with Lila Nash we met in the first book—Boady had been working with Lila’s boyfriend, Joe Talbert,when trying to exonerate a man who they believed had been wrongfully convicted on one of Lockwood’s murders. If it had not been for Max Rupert, both Lila and Joe would have been killed that night.

Lila went back to school and Boady returned to his world of academia. That was three years ago and she chose a law career. She is astounded the connection of Ben to both Boady and Max. Lila, of course, owes Max a great debt, but she agrees to help Boady.

For the second half of the book, we turn to Max, when he receives a mystery letter about his wife’s death. She was murdered and someone has proof. Can the case be reopened? Could it be a prank? The other investigator was retired and the file was closed as a hit-and-run. He was not allowed to touch the file and Parnell’s replacement didn’t have Jenni’s case on his list. He is on high alert, thinking of discovering the identity of the killer.

Emma’s dad is on trial for murder. A note. Max’s wife was murdered. The motive involved Max and his job as a cop? Max is distracted with the new happenings in his wife’s case; however, now he has to pull double time—Did Pruitt have time to drive back from Chicago the night his wife was murdered? Rupert’s brother Alexander was gone as well as his wife.

The action and drama heat up in Part 3 as we head to trial and get to catch up with Boady, Lila, and Max,as the suspense continues with Anna and Ben. Who stands to gain more with Jennavieve out of the way? Is Boady blinded by his past with Ben? Is he really a monster, murderer, a sociopath?

A plan B. Will these two old friends, join forces by the end of the book?

Esken fans will devour the legal drama, and the complex multi-layered mystery suspense; Combined with the cold case of Max’s wife adds intensity as the events unfold racing to the explosive ending. With numerous twists and turns, Eskens knows his way around the courtroom (criminal defense attorney for twenty years), a pro at keeping readers guessing.

Character-driven, with a twisty plot - strong dynamics between Max and Boady, both struggling with demons from their past, and trickling over to the present. A test of loyalties and friendships. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

The last 25% percent of the novel, will keep you turning into the wee hours of the morning, for a satisfying conclusion with the crafty reveal. Fans of the author and readers of the previous two books will enjoy revisiting the characters, combined with the author's legal expertise, making his third installment another bestseller hit!

I enjoyed reading all three books, each unique and impressive. Recommend reading them all. Looking forward to seeing what’s coming next! (yeah, a revenge story, Max, and more . . .)

Quote from the Author: " Next, I am writing a revenge story that is all about Max Rupert. I’m having a lot of fun with that idea right now. After that, I want to write the sequel toThe Life We Bury and then, hopefully, a novel that will be the backstory of Boady Sanden. As you can see, I have a very over-active imagination—now if I could just learn to type faster. " Read More

The Guise of Another (2015)
The Life We Bury (2014)






Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/06/The-Heavens-May-Fall
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review 2014-03-25 02:24
How to Write Policies, Procedures & Task Outlines / by Larry Peabody
How to Write Policies, Procedures & Task Outlines: Sending Clear Signals in Written Directions - Larry Peabody

I have to rewrite procedures at work, so this is a good time to learn how to do them right.   I got this book today in a class taught by Larry Peabody' s son.  The edition I have is the 3rd edition, copyrighted in 2009 and 2013.


My weakness is words.  I write procedures in a narrative style.  They're too wordy, too full of filler, and not easy to read.   So, I need to change how I write for work.  This book doesn't just tell me to do it, it tells me how to do it!  I mean, structurally how to do it.


The book outlines common policy writing pitfalls, and tells writers how to avoid them.  It provides good instruction about how to write useful and effective documents.  The book provides many examples to illustrate points, and it's concise while still being full of information.


This is definitely a book that will change the way I write for business.  I am so thankful to finally have something that tells me how to write more efficiently and effectively!  And I think the trainees who have to read what I write will be thankful, too.


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review 2013-06-06 00:00
Invasive Procedures - Orson Scott Card,Aaron Johnston Good beginning, but petered out quickly.
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