Tuesday, May 16

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell

Review by Andrea Maloney

A serial killer is on the loose. Wealthy elderly women living in Gramercy park are being brutally murdered in broad daylight. The police are baffled.  There aren't any witnesses despite the fact the murders are taking place practically out in the open in the daytime.  Then Louis Markowitz, the detective in charge of the case, is murdered along with another elderly victim.  And here the serial killer has made his first mistake for Markowitz's adopted daughter is Kathleen Mallory and she's enraged at his murder and out for vengeance.  Adopted by Louis and Helen Markowitz when she was eleven (he found her living on the street) Mallory is a strong and forceful woman who tends to work outside the law when it suits her. Her troubled past is hinted at and it goes a long way to explain how she came to be the way she is. Forced on leave from the police department Mallory begins investigating the murders on her own along with the help of, Charles, a friend of the families and Riker another police officer. Mallory's investigation takes her from psychics, the occult and beyond into SEC investigations and stock fraud. She soon finds herself in the sights of a killer and it will take all her skills, intelligence and even her sociopathic qualities to bring the killer to justice.

Mallory is an intriguing character, extremely flawed …almost a sociopath and yet you can see cracks in her façade that indicate there may be more humanity in her than even she knows of. It will be interesting to see how her character evolves in the later novels. O'Connell writes with a deft hand. Her characters are well written, given depth and allow us into their lives. In the end we come to care for them even though they are flawed.  Nicely plotted with a plethora of suspects the storyline is believable and had me guessing until the revealing end. The plot drives the story along but it is the characters who are the soul of the book. You will be thinking about them and remembering them long after you have finished reading Mallory's Oracle.

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