The O’Malley Series Review | Dee Henderson

Fellow readers out there, was there ever a series or author that pulled you into the reading world for the first time? The book or author that made you realise there was more to your life than just living it, and instead a world – or several – that you could escape to? Well, Dee Henderson and her O’Malley series was that for me!

In order to pay proper tribute to the series that started my love of reading and story telling, I would have to re-read the entire series and give proper reviews. While I have yet to do that, with all the other amazing books I have on my shelves waiting to be cracked open as well, I am going to share about why I loved this series to the best of my fragmented memory. So buckle up, because it’s probably going to be rough and a little all over the place!

The O’Malley Overview

This is a seven book (with an eight novella) series that follows seven adult siblings. The catch, is that none of them are biologically related. They found each other in the orphanage when they were kids and adopted each other as a family, and the bonds are as strong as if they WERE biologically related. It is a beautiful relationship, and throughout the series they are brought together in a tragically centric event within their little family.

All of the characters have insanely dangerous or difficult jobs – there’s a hostage negotiator, firefighter, paramedic, children’s trauma therapist, forensic pathologist and more. So each book has crazy stuff going down, and a pinch of romance thrown in as you go along the line of family members.

Danger In The Shadows | The Prequel

This story follows Sara, an author who is in hiding after a killer targeted her when she was younger. Still on the loose, she is terrified each time he finds her and is determined to end their twisted relationship – one way or the other. When she meets a very public figure and starts falling for him, her world gets complicated and she tries to navigate the fear, love and reclaiming her life.

This book was really intense. The suspenseful elements were beautifully done and the romance was sweet, with Adam handling someone dealing with trauma and anxiety on another level pretty well. I didn’t start with the prequel when I read the O’Malley series, and came back to it after a few of the books when I realised it existed, but it is really good.

The Negotiator | Book 1

Kate O’Malley is a hostage negotiator who has learned to rely on her, and her alone. Her job is dangerous, and someone has started to send her black roses – even blaming a large attack on her as well. When she is assigned Dave – an FBI agent who is trying to protect and help her investigate – she balances being herself, while also navigating what it would look like to love someone and let herself be loved.

Kate’s book was the first O’Malley we get to meet. She was fiercely independent and not afraid to put herself into dangerous situations to save others. When Dave comes into her world (the brother of Sara’s – see above Prequel), it challenges everything she thought about herself, about God and about life. This is also the first book we are introduced to the family dynamic, and big tragedy that spans the series.

The Guardian | Book 2

Marcus O’Malley is the oldest, and as a US Marshall is used to guarding people, but can he guard his own heart? After being assigned to the witness of a federal Judge’s murder, he must help Shari to stay out of an assassins crosshairs while also out of his own heart – doesn’t he?

I love those “Big Brother” characters. The ones that want to protect everyone, damn the cost to themselves! There’s something about a protective man that speaks to my heart, and Marcus was such a great character. Again, romantic suspense wouldn’t be complete without the romance, and while falling for your protectee is not advisable, it was beautiful to watch. Shari isn’t the ‘sit on her butt’ type of woman, and it makes a fun push-pull relationship between them.

The Truth Seeker | Book 3

Lisa O’Malley is a forensic pathologist who understands death all too well. When her cases intersect with US Marshall Quinn’s case of a missing girl, they find themselves facing a killer who wants the mystery buried deep. While the O’Malley tragedy continues to devastate the family, finding love and faith in the midst of death is what just might save Lisa, and the missing woman.

I really enjoyed Lisa’s story. Those TV shows like Rizzoli and Isles where you see the cop side and the forensic side are always great to watch, and this reminded me of that. I think Lisa was one of the toughest characters when it came to coming to the idea of faith. Science and God 100% combine but for some, it’s a difficult concept to marry up together. Her journey felt like one of the most rewarding.

The Protector | Book 4

Jack O’Malley is a firefighter who has run into an arsonists path. With a former fighter having seen who it is, Cassie had already been sidelined and is now fighting through to decipher if the arsonist is someone she knows. The relationship will grow as Jack tries to protect her, and Cassie tries to figure out what she saw before it’s too late.

I LOVED the relationship between Jack and Cassie. With some remaining difficulties after being caught in a fire, Cassie deals with things that are difficult for some to imagine. Jack understands elements of her life and trauma, and it was such a great progression of the two characters as a huge change is about to occur in the O’Malley clan.

The Healer | Book 5

Rachel O’Malley is a trauma psychologist specialising in helping children, and while her family faces a huge disaster of their own, a flood hits the town. Covering up a murder, the weapon results in another tragedy – a school shooting. While Rachel tries to make sense of it all, firefighting captain Cole works through it with her while falling deeper in love with her.

This was probably the book that was one of the most emotional, the one that fit the most events into one book, but also one of the most important. Being able to touch on various things we have seen come to a head in this book, it’s one of the saddest in the bunch. HUGE change, and big stories lead to a great read.

The Rescuer | Book 6

Stephen O’Malley is a paramedic who is running from it all. The pressure of his job, grief in his own life, and love that he doesn’t want to face. Meghan is blind, but SURE that someone is walking through her house and turns to Stephen to help her. With a tornado, kidnapping and search to save the one’s he loves, Stephen runs until he can’t anymore

One of the hardest things to be, is the last one standing. We’ve seen the O’Malley’s in their journey’s finding love, finding God and finding a way through the family tragedy. Now Stephen has to deal with it all in a different way than those that came before. It was the last full book, and everything gets tied up into a place that ends with your heart reeling after the rollercoaster.

Jennifer | The “Cry-Your-Eyes-Out” Final Novella

If you don’t want any spoilers – DO NOT READ THIS PART!

Jennifer O’Malley has been diagnosed with cancer, and wants the last things she does to save her family. She knows what the news will do to her family and her own faith, and as she meets a fellow Doctor and love of her life, she tries to navigate what all of that will look like in the few months she has left.

This was it. The cry your eyes out book where you see the start of Jennifer’s cancer journey. When we hear about it in The Negotiator, Jen has already come to terms, and starts to let her family in on the secret. But she also has Jesus to bring hope into the difficult season. Seeing how she initially dealt with it all was a beautiful tribute to the incredible woman that changed her families lives.

So, there you have it. If you wanted to know why the series as a whole captured my attention, heart and teenage brain, here is the overview…

Each book had an exciting character, with adventure that was dangerous and thrilling. It had heart and romance that felt real, and laced with issues that they both had to overcome. With the added family difficulty looming, Dee Henderson wrote a story about family, love and adventure.

What book, series or author first got you into reading? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

See You in the Adventures
Christy Grace

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