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At the Stroke of Madness
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At the Stroke of Madness (Maggie O'Dell #4)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  2,426 ratings  ·  115 reviews
FBI special agent Maggie O'Dell learns that the body of an unidentified woman has been found buried in a 55-gallon drum in an abandoned rock quarry in Connecticut. Maggie heads there on unofficial business, and realizes this case is more twisted than anyone imagines.
Paperback, 379 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Mira Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Alexa Kava keeps getting better and better! Nothing typical about this book. Starts out on a lovely mountain top to the tune of a chainsaw!

As "Elvan" says, lots of red herrings - which I love in a book, keeps my brain working!

Poor Maggie O'Dell always gets herself in some sort of bind, plus she has a habit of marching to her own tune,and as good as those intentions are, they most often lead to trouble.

A new character introduced in this book - I'm assuming this character will show up in future bo...more
Well that was fun! Nothing says serial killer like a guy going through the grocery store choosing jars of pickles and mayo so he has the proper containers to display his "trophies".
I enjoyed this edition of the Maggie o'Dell series. I would have liked to see more O'Dell time but the creative nature of this particular serial killer was well worth the read.

The book lost a star when O'Dell ventured in to catch the killer leaving her dead cell phone in the hands of a victim of Alzheimer's. :p

When w...more
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
An average one. The worst part is the ending,it seemed so sudden. The novel moves at a snail's pace till the end,and at the end it's like 'fast and furious'. If he was going to create a serial killer,he could've created a better one. And then there is the it's-not-the-end-of-the-story line.. I saw a praise on the cover comparing him to Patricia Cornwell at her prime.. I can't understand since when did they change the meaning of prime to worst.
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Read this one in one sitting, with a couple of tea breaks of course, but it is slightly shorter than the others, so I got through it pretty quickly. A good story, however, I have a little nit-picking to do here. Poor Nick Morelli waited patiently for Maggie's divorce to come through, 2 years, and in that time, they have had little or no contact. Not very realistic. However, Nick seems to have moved on, because Maggie called him on the phone, at last, and another woman answered and said he was in...more
Ana T.
In the tomblike silence of an abandoned rock quarry someone is trying to hide their dirty little secret. A secret that reveals the depths of human depravity. A secret that is about to be discovered.

FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell is just starting a hard-earned vacation when she gets a call from her friend, psychologist Dr. Gwen Patterson. One of Gwen's patients is missing on a trip to Connecticut. Can Maggie look into Joan Begley's disappearance?

At first Maggie dismisses Gwen's concern. But whe...more
Veronica Pettersson
As all of Alex Kava (well, the four I've read) the books keep your interest through the whole book. Summer is the perfect time for criminal novels and these have became some of my favourites. The cases are exciting, not completely predictable and the behind stuff is also a part of what makes you want to keep on reading the rest of the series (bit of a spoiler!: I am however quite disappointed in the fact that there have not been any more follow up on the romance between Maggie and Nick Morelli)....more
Love, love, love this series.
At the Stroke of Madness by Alex Kava
Maggie O’Dell (book #4)
4 stars

Maggie is asked by her friend, Dr. Gwen Patterson, to look into the disappearance of a patient. At the same time, several bodies are found stuffed into barrels in a quarry near the patient’s last known location. Is she one of the corpses? Who killed them and why?

The plot is enjoyable and well-paced. The new characters are easy to like, and the killer's motivation is unique as far as serial killer’s go. The pro...more
Good read!

From back cover:

"In the tomblike silence of an abandoned rock quarry someone is trying to hide their dirty little secret. A secret that is about to be discovered.

FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell is just starting a vacation when she gets a call from her friend, psychologist Dr. Gwen Patterson. One of Gwen's patients is missing on a trip to Connecticut. Can Maggie look into Joan Begley's disappearance?

At first Maggie dismissed Gwen's concern. But when the body of a woman is discovered in...more

When FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell receives a call from Sheriff Henry Watermeier of New Haven County, Connecticut, she assumes it's a routine tip. She's working on the case of a missing D.C.-area woman, and it seems her body had been found. But Maggie's about to learn this is just the tip of the iceberg in what will be one of the most bizarre, cold-blooded and confounding cases of her career a a criminal profiler.

During a cleanup excavation in the deserted quarry, a fifty-five-gallon drum wa

This book was impossible to put down, it took my two days to start and finish it. I spent most of the book thinking one guy was guilty, well he wasn't, well he was, but not of the murders...I wish Maggie O'Dell did more profiling, she gets caught too often looking the wrong way sort of speak. I really like this series, but I wish it was just stronger and Maggie came off as more genius than lucky...I rarely compare a book to TV, but when I think of FBI profilers I think of Criminal Minds and of t...more
A good, quick read; perfect for holiday reading but a bit of a no-brainer. I guess that sounds a little condescending but it really was a thoroughly enjoyable, involving read with very little strain on the old grey matter.
At the Stroke of Madness is the fourth novel featuring FBI special agent Maggie O'Dell. Alex Kava adeptly portrays a good, strong female lead and continues the understated development of this character. In true Alex Kava fashion, forensic descriptions are well done & roman...more
This is was short quick read, featuring Maggie O'Dell again. She is a stubborn, hard headed FBI agent and really like her. It was a very creepy killer that collected body parts. She has her trials and gets caught and almost looses her life (again), but she is great throughout the book.
Interesting in that the setting was not too far from here-down in Meriden, CT. I thought it was okay, but not one of the best mysteries I've read. It did not draw me in quickly, nor flow very smoothly. To me it felt that the author was "trying too hard" at times to get certain things across, up to and including plugs what I assume are her favorite authors, Jeffrey Deavers and Patricia Cornwell, mentioned on more than one occasion when the main character is trying to compare what is happening to...more
Maggie gets drawn into investigating a serial killer whilst she is looking for a missing patient for one of her friends. They suspect that the person she had arranged to meet may well be the serial killer. Will Maggie find her, will she be another victim.
This, book 4 in the Maggie O'Dell series, is a bit shorter than the previous three, but it's every bit as good. Plot summary (no spoilers): During a staycation from work, Maggie finds herself drawn into the search for a serial killer (duh!) while she's trying to find a missing patient for her closest friend. The woman has been kidnapped by the paranoid killer, who is decompensating after his dump site–with his victims' bodies–is discovered. With time running out and the murders escalating, Maggi...more
Like the other books in the series, this is a page-turner. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and some of the characters were not well-developed. I guessed the murder before the end, but I was entertained throughout the book.
Ashland Mystery Oregon
Yuk, yuk, yuk - a fast and thrilling read that will gross you out - just right for vacation week. An early tell if you're a discerning reader.

-- Ashland Mystery
Maggie really hates getting close to any dude, huh.
I'm pretty sure she's (mistakenly or otherwise) drawn her gun on every guy in the series who's shown interest in her.
Gae-Lynn Woods
I love the Maggie O'Dell novels. Ms. Kava's story lines are unique and interesting and I like that she paces the development of her characters - those things keep me coming back! But AT THE STROKE OF MADNESS felt hurried to me. I was surprised by how much of the book was back story, dropped like a rock as soon as a character from a previous book was introduced.

The book still offers good twists and turns, has a very creative serial killer, and Ms. Kava keeps us guessing about his identity until t...more
It's not much fun if you know who's the killer at two thirds of the book, but Alex Kava knows how to write an engaging story.
Another great Maggie O'dell book. I really enjoyed it and the last couple of pages are the perfect ending to this book!!!
Creepy bad guy serial killer on the loose. 2nd of this detective series I've read; well paced and nicely constructed characters.
I am really enjoying this series. This one felt very short in comparison to others but still a great read
Another thrilling installment to the Maggie O'Dell series! This one had a bit more guesswork to the plot than some of the previous books, though I must admit, in the end all of my guesses turned out to be correct. As far as character development, this one felt quite disappointing. Maggie has not grown, and continues to make the same mistakes, and what had seemed like the central romance has not progressed at all. Still, it was an exciting read - certainly fast-paced but it felt shorter. I am sti...more
This is a good mystery type book, though it does not include much in the way of being a thriller. It seams as though it was written for a simpler audience as not much is complicated in the book.

I enjoyed the serial killer story line and putting all the parts of the puzzle in plac to solve the crimes. I also appreciated the fact that she did not reveal too much on the identity of the killer until the last minute which made it more interesting.

I was taken a bit back by who the killer was, totall...more
These books just keep getting better. The timeline seems to be messed up a little bit, and that's on Kava and her editor for not getting that straight, but honestly, I didn't notice - it was a friend who pointed it out to me. The disappointment I had was that there was no conversation/interaction between Maggie and her stepbrother. It was disappointing because there was a lot of internal debate for Maggie about going to see him while she was in Connecticut. They had all of two or three lines of...more
Charlene Gordon
Good book. Read this in 2004.
This is a good relatively fast paced page turner that keeps you interested from start to finish, despite some of the slightly dull decisions that O'Dell (would you really just waltz right into the den of a deranged serial yourself...). The writing is good and both the story and the characters develop well and there is no need to have read the previous books in the series as Kava provides sufficient background to allow new readers to enjoy the story as well as old. Overall a good enjo...more
Being the fourth book in a series I was pretty sure what I could expect and what not. I still like the series quite a lot because I find the main character to be quite interesting.

However, the actual case this time was kind of a let down. Mainly because of the ending which was kind of rushed. There was a lot of building up leading to the suspect but the actual solution was abrupt. I still think it's a great book and I would like to continue this series but I have to buy the other books first.
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Alex Kava is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, eleven of them in the critically acclaimed Maggie O’Dell series. Her stand-alone novel, One False Move, was chosen for the 2006 One Book One Nebraska and her political thriller, Whitewash, made January Magazine’s best thriller of the year list for 2007. Published in over twenty-five countries, Kava’s novels have made the bestse...more
More about Alex Kava...
A Perfect Evil (Maggie O'Dell, #1) A Necessary Evil (Maggie O'Dell #5) Split Second (Maggie O'Dell, #2) The Soul Catcher (Maggie O'Dell, #3) Exposed (Maggie O'Dell, #6)

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