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Mallory's Oracle (Kathleen Mallory #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,003 Ratings  ·  275 Reviews
Jonathan Kellerman says Mallory's Oracle is "a joy." Nelson DeMille and other advance readers have called it "truly amazing, " "a classic" with "immense appeal." It is all of that, and more: a stunning debut novel about a web of unsolved murders in New York's Gramercy Park and the singular woman who makes them her obsession.

At its center is Kathleen Mallory, an extraordin
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Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jerry
Jul 23, 2010 Jerry rated it did not like it
DO NOT waste your time on bad first O'Connell book...

The character of Kathy Mallory is introduced in this first of a set of (now) six stories about a NYPD detective. With these and one other hardback under her belt, one would think O'Connell must be a successful author. Not by our eyes! We have read and lectured about an extensive list of leading lady amateur sleuths, private eyes, and policewomen; and we'd have to rate Mallory as maybe the worst. While she's billed a thousand times by her auth
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Carolyn
Unfortunately, not for me.

I gave this book a chance as it's been acclaimed by some as a crime thriller with compelling characters, and I love crime thrillers with compelling characters--Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series being my personal favorite example--but I just couldn't get into it. The writing strikes me as cliche, and too often the lines seem overwrought to me, as in, describing a dog running, "paws touching lightly to the ground in the perfect poetry of a beautiful animal in motion
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JoAnne Pulcino
Feb 10, 2015 JoAnne Pulcino rated it it was amazing

MALLORY'S ORACLE

Carol O'Connell

This is Ms. O'Connell's debut novel in her fantastic series featuring the marvelous character, Kathleen Mallory. This is far and away my favorite mystery series. Kathleen is a homeless wild child on the streets of New York where the police chief finds her and he and his wife adopt her. Kathleen grows up to be an independent strong willed computer hacker who is a sergeant in the Special Crimes Unit. She is a detective with a ferocious intelligence, green gun sling
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Eric_W
Dec 19, 2008 Eric_W rated it liked it
Sergeant Kathleen Mallory, of the New York City Police Department - but don't ever call her Kathy or Kathleen - was picked up off the streets by detective Louis Markowitz when she was an abandoned street-child of eleven caught stealing .. It was his wife's birthday, and the thought of all the juvenile department paperwork loomed too daunting, so he took the girl home where she was enveloped by his wife's love and became their daughter. She quit stealing because it made Helen., Louis's wife, cry ...more
Linda Robinson
Sep 29, 2012 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
Now this is a crime novel. Or a police un-procedural. The set-up is marvelous. Wild child survivalist snatched off the streets by a smart cop and taken home to a June Cleaver mom whose first response was to hug the future hacker. Present day. Special Crimes Unit is stalking the Invisible Man serial killer. Getting nowhere slowly. Then the killer makes it personal for Mallory, our wild child grown. She abandons the modem for the street. Tech geekdom is not a qualification for surveillance and som ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

(spoiler alert i wrote this for a discussion on a mailing list at a point in the discussion where spoilers were fair play. so as well as being lengthy it rather gives the plot away. you have been warned.)

Mallory is definitely a totally unreal and completely unique character. I haven't come across a character like her and though I couldn't say that I liked her that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all. I liked the technique of having the main character being the loopy one.

What did bug

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Melanie Hierholzer
Jan 10, 2012 Melanie Hierholzer rated it it was ok
I needed a beach book after reading The Dream of Scipio and this book fit the bill. The rave blurbs on the back cover were by Nelson DeMille and James Patterson, two of my least favorite authors, so I approached this book with grain of salt firmly in hand.

The main character, Kathleen Mallory, was somewhat interesting, but I got tired of reading how beautiful she was, and what an effect she had on men, and her killer green eyes. Sheesh! Can we have an intelligent female detective who isn't a rav
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Courtnie
May 27, 2014 Courtnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller, 2014
Reading this was sorta like listening to my 6 year old tell me a story. A re-telling in which I'm constantly saying (or thinking), "Wait, what? Slow down, I have no clue what you're saying".

Except this experience was more satisfying than hearing about the size of the bug (orgin unknown) that is crawling on the side of the house.

I had no idea what was going on half the time in this book. Fortunately, it doesn't matter that much because it happens so often that you quit caring. I was really just
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Susan
Jul 01, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery fans who enjoy detailed police procedurals
Mallory's Oracle is the first book of the Kathleen Mallory mystery series by Carol O'Connell, set in 1990s New York City.

Kathleen "Kathy" Mallory was a street child caught thieving by NYPD detective Louis Markowitz. Louis and his wife Helen adopted and raised Kathy as a daughter. Now an NYPD officer herself, she specializes in computer work for the Special Crimes unit. When Markowitz is killed while investigating a serial killer, Mallory is placed on bereavement leave from NYPD, and she begins h
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Michael
Great introduction to what promises to be a rewarding and exciting series. Kathy Mallory moves from computer work with NYPD into fieldwork under the impetus of a quite personal tragedy: her homicide squad "father" has himself been murdered by a serial killer. The victims are old wealthy ladies from the Gramercy Park enclave who are slashed to death in daytime. Is there a financial motive or is this spree the output of a psycho? The draw for this is Kathy's background as a homeless, street-tough ...more
Bondama
Jun 09, 2013 Bondama rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book several years ago, and when I checked the back for whoever was writing praise, and I was astonished. Every single thriller writer I admired: Lehane, Lescroart, Connelly, every single one of them praised this debut novel lavishly. I have just finished it for the 3rd time, and again, it simply takes my breath away. Totally and completely original.
Magpie67
Jul 19, 2008 Magpie67 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, detectives
Fantastic 5 star rating! Love character Mallory! Eccentric, smart and edgy writing! Witty dialogue and so much more!
Titas (Emperor)
Nov 24, 2014 Titas (Emperor) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Titas (Emperor) by: Skye Skye
Louis Markowitz is the head of the NYPD Special Crime Section who is investigating a series of murders of wealth elderly women. The murders are unique and the bodies are placed in broad daylight as if it is magic. But when Louis too gets murdered, steps up her adopted daughter Kathreen Malory who was a little street thug before being adopted. She is a beautiful, intelligent policewoman with computer skills of a master hacker who doesn't care about law when it comes to catching a killer. And as s ...more
Joy
May 07, 2010 Joy rated it did not like it
I'm glad I bought this at a bargain price. I was lured by the reviews at the back, even my favorite suspense author James Patterson said this book was "so good it will launch her career in one bold stroke". With those words, I was sold. I was really excited to read this thinking it's one of those gripping novels with a masterful writing style, but I was disappointed.

The pace was slow, I don't get what's what most of the time, or maybe I'm not used to the too-suggestive writing style. Mallory's c
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Lauren
Nov 11, 2011 Lauren rated it it was ok
Mallory's Oracle
2 Stars

Synopsis:
Kathleen Mallory began life as a thief on the streets of New York City until she was taken in my detective Louis Mankowitz and his wife. Now a police sergeant with an expertise in computer crimes, Mallory must investigate a particularly difficult homicide – the murder of her adoptive father – which is linked to the deaths of several elderly and wealthy women.

Review:
I really wanted to like this book but failed in almost every respect. The writing is elliptical and
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Periwinkle
Aug 08, 2014 Periwinkle rated it liked it
This is the first book of the very best detective series I've ever read. But since I can't stand crime novels as a rule, this might not be a compelling recommendation for a lover of the genre: It merely states, that this detective story is set apart from the rest.

Usually, the victim is the most interesting character of a crime novel; but since he or she is dead from the beginning, I never get invested into the story. The detective, on the other hand, is someone who the author thinks likable and
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Liana
Sep 12, 2013 Liana rated it it was amazing
Mallory is described by the author as a sociopath. Emotionally scarred as a 6-year-old after she witnessed the murder of her mother in a small Louisiana town, Mallory flees to New York City, where she lives as a street child. She is caught trying to steal by police officer Louis Markowitz, who takes her home and becomes her foster father.

From age 10, Kathy, a "baby sociopath," grows up surrounded by Markowitz and his colorful circle of friends, including his partner, Sgt. Riker, who later become
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Cindi
Apr 08, 2010 Cindi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I love O'Connell's Mallory Series. Her books are psychologically complex, gritty police procedurals with a twist: Mallory is basically a sociopath, a child rescued from feral survival on the streets then raised in the foster home of a policeman (Louis Markowitz) and his wife whose love partially civilizes her. Mallory has a unique gift for computer technology paired with high intelligence. The idea of giftedness, psychology and "magic" are all explored in fascinating ways. The series has the gen ...more
Cindy Grossi
Nov 23, 2014 Cindy Grossi rated it really liked it
Mallory is one interesting, complex cop. All of the characters in this series are finely delineated. I just get irritated when the murderer puts off killing the one who has solved the mystery so they can each discuss how it all came to be. Give me something new, please! Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Deborah
Feb 02, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-2015
Fantastic! Beautiful writing and a great thriller, reminiscent of Agatha Christie but set in both the gritty NYC and the upscale Gramercy Park.
Unforgettable characters, can't wait to start the 2nd
LJ
MALLORY'S ORACLE - Ex
O'Connell, Carol - 1st in series

Kathy Mallory was saved from the streets and adopted by Louis Markowitz, a New York detective. Now Markowitz is dead, and his killer may be responsible for a number of other deaths. Kathy, now a police officer herself, begins a search for his killer, and an investigation into her own psyche.

1995 Top Read - Every now and then, a new author's first book will make you stop and say "wow!". This did that for me. Mallory is a fascinating protagonist
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Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it
Kathy Mallory is a finely constructed anti-hero. She is lethal, effective and psychopathic.
Saved by Detective Louis Markowitz, her adoptive father and his wife from becoming a finely honed killing machine, Mallory becomes a detective in the Special Crimes Unit in New York.
Mallory has no past - at least none she can articulate. One of the thousands of lost children, the reader is always more haunted by her hinted at past, than she is.
O'Connell expertly applies the Third Person Detached vewpoint t
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Milley
Nov 08, 2014 Milley rated it liked it
When I was reading this book I thought it was well written. Well it had well written phrases. I was quite impressed and wanted, and still want, to ask a friend who reads mysteries a lot to read it. Is it well written? I am confused.

But as I read further, I found the characters and plot?(is there a plot?) confusing. I was tempted to go back to the beginning and look for clues. I realized that it was because I wasn't just enjoying reading the book. Usually mysteries are my relaxant - even excitin
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Kt Thames
Apr 09, 2010 Kt Thames rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I read this years ago and remember loving it - don't know why but I was less impressed this time around. Mallory (the heroine) is a female Clint Eastwood who looks, in my mind, like Angelina Jolie. The author describes her as a blonde, but in my eyes anyone this kickass must be a brunette. I am going to re-read the series over the next few weeks and hopefully I will end up enjoying the books as much as I remember. (and my apologies to the blondes out there - but brunettes rule!)
Stephanie
Aug 15, 2014 Stephanie rated it liked it
Finished MALLORY'S ORACLE by Carol O'Connell last night. I had never heard of this series before, and I apologize in advance but I cannot remember who told me to try this series for a female cop. (Please let me know so I can tag you!)

The book opens immediately with the murder of a cop who happens to be the foster parent of Kathy Mallory, the titular cop the series follows. Mallory's background is slowly revealed throughout the story and at first I really thought I was going to not like her as a
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Diane
Jan 30, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
Kathy Mallory was a wild child, a trouble orphan that NYPD cop Louis Markowitz and his wife take in and sort of tame. Now she's a sargent for NYPD herself though mainly she specializes in computer tech and she's very, very good at it. Her adopted father has been murdered in a series of serial killings and Mallory is determined to solve the case in spite of the fact that she's never really done any field work. She's helped by Charles Butler who has a photographic memory. The killings, aside from ...more
Òphiere editoriale
Carol alle prime armi non rende giustizia alle pontenzialità di Mallory

Pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1994 con il titolo "Mallory's oracol", questo libro è l'opera prima di Carol O'Connell. Autrice dei miei gialli preferiti, la O'Connel, ha in questo romanzo centrato il suo personaggio ma ha ancora una pesante inesperienza di tessitura. Per i suoi estimatori già conquistati al fascino della prima detective che unisca un'inconsapevole fascino da miss alla spietatezza amorale del killer profess
...more
Marleen
Apr 14, 2014 Marleen rated it it was ok
I tried and tried to enjoy this book, and there sure are parts and aspects to this story that appealed to me; for instance every time Kathy Mallory thinks about Louis and Helen Markowitz, the cop and his wife, now both deceased and who took her in when she was eleven, when she was a street kid, a thief. They gave her a home and love. Now Kathy Mallory, 25, is a cop herself with Special Crimes Unit, mainly being a computer specialist, lacking field experience.
There’s no way I can find Kathy sympa
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Ssk
Feb 22, 2013 Ssk rated it did not like it
Got this as a birthday gift! And totally hated it. I tried to read at least the obligatory 60 pages that one is supposed to give a book, before you put it down as unreadable. Even that time was a complete waste, since I just couldn't gel with the storyline and characters.
Melliott
Mar 28, 2015 Melliott rated it liked it
Let's call it a 3.5. There were flaws (the worst being too many characters and too many red herrings), but I immediately invested in the main character, Mallory. She reminded me of Lacey Flint, another damaged, somewhat amoral police detective who does everything according to her own instincts regardless of policy and logic, and gets under people's skins even though she has no desire to do so. I had no idea what was going on for large bits of this book, and I found that simultaneously annoying a ...more
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Born in 1947, Carol O'Connell studied at the California Institute or Arts/Chouinard and the Arizona State University. She lives in New York City.

Series:
* Kathleen Mallory

More about Carol O'Connell...

Other Books in the Series

Kathleen Mallory (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Man Who Cast Two Shadows (Kathleen Mallory, #2)
  • Killing Critics (Kathleen Mallory, #3)
  • Stone Angel (Kathleen Mallory, #4)
  • Shell Game (Kathleen Mallory, #5)
  • Crime School (Kathleen Mallory, #6)
  • Dead Famous (Kathleen Mallory, #7)
  • Winter House (Kathleen Mallory, #8)
  • Find Me (Kathleen Mallory, #9)
  • The Chalk Girl (Kathleen Mallory, #10)
  • It Happens in the Dark (Kathleen Mallory, #11)

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