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On, Off: A Novel (Carmine Delmonico #1)

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,122 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Proving once again that she can triumph in any genre of fiction, Colleen McCullough, the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds, now presents her readers with a gem of a murder mystery about a serial killer.

At the heart of this brilliant blend of suspense, forensic science, eerie and sadistic sexuality, and good old-fashioned storytelling is a dedicated but lonely detecti
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 2nd 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,079)
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Mar 18, 2011 Jeffrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
This disturbing serial killer mystery leaves the biggest surprise for the end and may show that McCullough can succeed in any genre but but there is something kind of foreordained about the book. ALmost like the author is playing with the reader.

I really do not like when authors present something at the very end that is not even remotely revealed in the book. Part of a mystery is that we the reader are involved with the detective in solving it, and many times we guess way before the detective, b
Feb 02, 2014 Peacejanz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I have mostly ignored Colleen McCullough after The Thorn Birds. What a mistake. This is the first of her books about an old fashioned detective in a small university town in Connecticut. It seems to drag at times, as we see the detective use an employee of the research institute for information and then change his feelings about her. There is a strange death, the body discovered by accident at the research institute in a restricted area. All the employees of this university research lab are ...more
Jennifer Ready
Jan 03, 2008 Jennifer Ready rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of McCullough's _Tim_ (one of my all-time favorite books), and also of _The Thorn Birds_ and _The Ladies of Missalonghi_, I was incredibly surprised to spot this book at the bookstore. That didn't stop me, of course, from buying it immediately.

Briefly, the book takes place in 1965 in Connecticut and follows a detective, Carmine, as he attempts to solve a "multiple murder" case that is closely tied to the heavily endowed neurological research center, the "Hug," in the earliest days of f
Jul 15, 2008 Sandie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who like "stunning" endings
What a departure this is for Colleen McCullough. Best known for The Thorn Birds and her historical writings, this book journeys into the genre of the serial killer thriller and the brutality of this excursion is one that will leave the reader horrified and disgusted, but quickly turning the pages to discover the identity and motivation of the murderous monster capable of committing such appalling crimes against innocent teenage females.

The story begins in October 1965 with the gruesome discover
Feb 11, 2009 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was totally surprised to see a book by Colleen McCullough in the mystery/thriller section. I love her historical fiction for the breadth and the depth they give to famous people and places in history, and for her lush writing style. I also love mysteries. So I thought I would combine my two loves, and ended up very pleased. So many mystery/thrillers are just packed with unnecessary jolts of suspense or cliffhangers at the end of a chapter just to keep a person reading; the characters are reall ...more
May 21, 2013 Midge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read Colleen McCullough since The Thornbirds, so when I picked up this book at the local Library sale, I was surprised that it was a mystery.
There a lot of suspects who might be responsible for placing a mutilated, headless body in the refuse refrigerator at the research center of a small private university in Connecticut. Lieutenant Delmonico has the case and ultimately discovers the responsible party, but not before there are more, similar killings. In all the story convolutions,
Neide Parafitas
Que policial mais intrigante!!

Dou por mim a ver os acontecimentos se desenrolarem, sem que tenha qualquer pista sobre quem possa ser o assassino! Mais para o final do livro lá me deparei com uma situação que me deixou a pensar, mas depressa notei que tinha tido uma intuição errada, pois diante das circunstâncias que eram apresentadas como poderia ser possível??

Mas... Eis que tudo se explica e afinal a minha primeira intuição estava certa! :))

Um policial sem dúvida muito à frente!!

Adorei!! :)

Deborah Pickstone
Patchy. I almost put it aside and then it picked up but then faltered again. I did read it all but......

The book should have been called 'Overkill' as that is what it contained. Excessively prolific murderous mayhem. I also hated the stereotyping (a German who had met Hitler, an Indian Royal with his head up his ass and a Japanese weirdo - surely each could have as easily been white Americans. And everyone is rich as Croesus and has a secret as well as a secret basement.) There are so many red h
Bernadette Robinson
I fell across this series by chance while at the Library one night. I picked up the third in the series Naked Cruelty, not realising that it was part of a series. Yes, you've guessed it I am a little OCD with series and had to reserve this one the first in the series before reading Naked Cruelty.

I am of an age, that the book The Thorn Birds by her was very popular and I can remember reading the book quickly in order to stay in front of the TV series of it that aired in the 80's. I have read oth
Kathleen Dixon
My book club was advertising a sequel to this and it sounded quite interesting. But what’s the point in reading a sequel before you’ve read the original? And I wasn’t planning on buying the book anyway, just borrowing it from the library, so it made sense to get the first one first.

This is quite intriguing – the book is published in 2005, but set in 1965. it doesn’t seem long enough ago to be regarded as a historical novel (murder mystery, actually) – though my children and grandchildren might a
Oct 14, 2011 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"On, Off" by Colleen McCullough is the first in her series featuring Carmine Delmonico, a Lieutenant in the Holloman Police Department. Let me first say that if I didn't know McCullough had written this book, I would never have guessed she was the author. This novel is very different from what most of us know McCullough for, such as "The Thorn Birds". And I'm not yet sure that's a good thing. I'm still thinking this is very much like an author's first book in a series, where they are just starti ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Anorhi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-again
This book is awful. From the ridiculous red herrings (guess who has a secret basement/tower/cabin/holiday house/Forrest? EVERYONE!) To the stupid ending to the no characterization of any characters to the redonkulous bits of 'character' shoved it. (The war vet detective has a super red apartment (which is somehow just fab) and knows tolkien well enough to reference tom freaking bombadil, but not other neckbeard shit, Desmonda super gymnastics (never previously alluded to), The killer is silently ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Iceman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sem grandes expectativas, como em todos os policiais que leio ou tento ler, abracei este romance devido ao nome da autora e à qualidade da sua escrita. Nesse aspecto não posso dizer que foi tempo mal empregue, pois a autora consegue construir um trama bem elaborado numa escrita agradável e ligeira que não nos deixa largar a acção face ao desenrolar dos acontecimentos.

Por outro lado, e como na maioria dos policiais, há um vasto desfile de personagens com a clara intenção de criar na mente do leit
Sep 16, 2015 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is nothing more than creepy. I am slightly sorry I read it.

Carmine is such a perfect man that he is noted as using the line "In my family, a man who let a woman pay would be lynched." (p. 291)This is said after asking his newly found girl to have dinner. I had to check the copyright to see when this book was written after that statement. It was written in 2006. Amazing. The ending is even more amazing.

A sign of the times, I guess. Following the great writers of history who attempt to
Dick Edwards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2009 Miriam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A stilted, lame, surprisingly racist mystery (e.g., did the one Japanese-American character HAVE to wear a kimono, maintain a Zen rock garden, eat only sushi, and employ a subservient functionary?). Don't bother.
Mar 07, 2014 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of Colleen McCullough's books, and was surprised to see that she had written a thriller/crime story. I was riveted by her 'Thorn Birds' and 'Tim' and approached this latest book with great anticipation. As always her characters draw you into the story. The detective Delmonico and the strange Englishwomen Dupre are totally believable characters. Although the murders are brutal and the settings bleak, you are compelled to keep reading. I read the book in one day, just could not pu ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Estibaliz79 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probablemente ya he dicho esto con anterioridad, pero Colleen McCullough es una de esas raras privilegiadas (al grupo, escaso, añado siempre a Dan Simmons), capaz de hacer incursiones en todo tipo de géneros literarios y, no sólo lograr el aprobado, sino a menudo rozar hasta la matrícula. Y la cosa no es fácil cuando hablamos de un género como el que nos ocupa, el negro, que no sólo no se cuenta entre mis favoritos, sino que por excesivo en su edición se vuelve terreno baldío para la sorpresa co ...more
I do enjoy a good mystery and this was a good mystery, not outstanding for 2 reasons. I figured out whodunit too early, primarily because the author had the character say something that gave it away. It was still enjoyable following it along after that just to see how Carmine, the detective, would figure it out and put it together. The second reason is the ending-we the reader learn things after the fact that the police don't know. Maybe this will lead to a sequel, this I do not know. If it does ...more
I read this when I was 16, and four years later this is still the scariest and the most disturbing book I've read. This is the kind of book you read with all the lights turned on, television on the background and your mother with you. Seriously, it scared me a lot and I had no idea what was going to happen next or who the serial killer was. Maybe that's a good thing then, scary and not knowing what to happen, it tells you the book is well written. So for the readers who is into this genre, this ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Laqua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Qué escritura más densa.
Si uno logra pasar la mitad del libro, descubre que la trama es interesante. Pero hay que llegar hasta ahí.
La escritura es densa, llena de detalles y descripciones que no siempre vienen al caso. La acción es lenta, lentísima; se podrían sacar unas cuantas páginas y la historia no perdería nada.
Encima, tuve que leer varias veces el final para entenderlo. Le pongo 3 estrellas porque el final es original, nada más por eso (pero me lo tuve que tragar entero para enterarme).
Mar 24, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I set this book down after finishing it, all I could say was "Wow!! Just WOW!" and I kept mulling over the ending all day long. This was a classically constructed mystery with lots of characters (and suspects!) and a nice twist at the end. Very satisfying!

I didn't know that Colleen McCullough had written a mystery series until I read a review of "The Prodigal Son", the fourth book in the series: Intrigued, and since I loved McCullough's "The Thorn Bi
Jan 29, 2012 Linnéa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book a high ranking - because the book is really well written and the story is compelling to the last page. But in a way I still hate the book, a weird statement you might think, it isn't though, not to me.

The book is the first book about Lieutenant Carmine Delmonico, set in the 60's, in Connecticut. There is a sadistic serial killer who is raging the city, always leaving the police several steps behind. The murderer is a sexual sadist and is killing young girls at a quick pace - Del
Galena Sanz
Nov 25, 2013 Galena Sanz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hacía mucho tiempo que este libro estaba en mi estantería, esperando ser leído, pero con pocas probabilidades de conseguirlo, o eso pensaba yo. Sin embargo, me levanté un día y decidí empezarlo. Sabía que era novela policíaca, pero hacía años que no leía nada o casi nada del género, no obstante, volví con este libro y estoy encantada.

Conocía a la autora por su libro La nueva vida de Miss Bennet, libro que no me gustó mucho, pero con este thriller perfectamente estructurado, me ha enamorado. Haci
To my surprise, I recently discovered that historical fiction expert Colleen McCullough has written more than the Masters of Rome series and Song of Troy, which happen to be the only books by her that I have read. The new crime series featuring veteran cop Carmine Delmonico is worlds apart from those. The result of her crime fiction endeavor is actually quite good. Nevertheless, my final verdict is not without criticism.
First of all, I think that she needed time to get to grips with this new sub
Terrible. Even for a trashy detective novel this hits a whole new level of low. The plot twists, when they weren't blindingly obvious, were completely preposterous and unbelievable. The final page alone (and I wont spoil) made me snort aloud, and when I read it to those around me they laughed and asked if it was meant to be a spoof.

McCullough attempted to delve into the human side of the story by developing relationships that had no basis or real sense of emotion, that simply sprang up as if she
I read 'The Thornbirds' back in high school, but this book is so different that it's hard to believe both came from the same author.
While this book is set in the 1960s, I didn't find it too dated. Sure, some of the technologies were described as new and cutting edge, where we find them commonplace these days, but if you don't know science, it isn't too hard to make the book seem current.
What I most liked about the book was that McCullough kept it straightforward by introducing the cast of charac
Miguel Teixeira
May 12, 2014 Miguel Teixeira rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a boring book, it toom me months to finish reading this book because no matter how many times i tried to, i ended up finding something more interesting to do. The plot begins well but it then develops at such a terrible slow pase that it's just tiresome. The twists that the author made up seem so out of context and just don't fit into what i would call 'appropiate'. Futhermore the characters ans enviroment are forgettale and colorless.
May 03, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Thorn Birds back in middle or high school, and LOVED it then, so I was excited to try another of her books all these years later. I was really disappointed that I had SUCH a hard time getting into this, but since I'm super stubborn about finishing even terrible books, I soldiered on and was pleasantly surprised to find that a really thrilling story developed with a creepy twist that kept me turning pages past my bedtime.
Jun 27, 2014 Bea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was sure a departure from any of the other books I have read by Colleen McCullough. From Tim, The Thornbirds, many in her Roman Empire series and some I can't remember the name of, none of her others were contemporary U.S. detective stories. I haven't read a detective novel in so long that I have a hard time rating it. I enjoyed it and finished it, but it wasn't anything great. I am already forgetting some of it. Not what a Colleen McCullough fan would expect!!
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Colleen Margaretta McCullough AO (married name Robinson, previously Ion-Robinson; 1 June 1937 – 29 January 2015) was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds.

Source: Wikipedia.
More about Colleen McCullough...

Other Books in the Series

Carmine Delmonico (5 books)
  • Too Many Murders (Carmine Delmonico, #2)
  • Naked Cruelty (Carmine Delmonico, #3)
  • The Prodigal Son (Carmine Delmonico, #4)
  • Sins of the Flesh (Carmine Delmonico, #5)

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