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

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  829 ratings  ·  141 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...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 2nd 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,484)
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Jennifer Ready
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...more
Sandie
Jul 15, 2008 Sandie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Stephanie
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
Jeffrey
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...more
Midge
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,...more
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!! :)

Peacejanz
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
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...more
Monica
"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
Iceman
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...more
Miriam
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.
Anita
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
Estibaliz79
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
Antoinette
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
Susan
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: http://www.underagraysky.com/2013/01/... Intrigued, and since I loved McCullough's "The Thorn Bi...more
Linnéa
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...more
Galena Sanz
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...more
Tze-Wen
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...more
Jessica
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...more
Kristin
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...more
Miguel Teixeira
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.
Amanda
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.
Bea
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!!
Susana Pereira
Em geral gosto muito da escrita da Colleen McCullough e este livro não foi excepção.
Confesso que estava um bocadinho reticente por não associar o género policial à autora, mas no final fiquei completamente rendida.
A certa altura só estava a ser um bocadinho frustrante não sabermos (nós os leitores) nada de mais em relação à investigação. Todos os suspeitos tinham algum tipo de segredo o que tornava difícil suspeitar mais fortemente de alguém em especial...

--SPOILER ALERT--
Para além disso houve s...more
Juliet Davis
Actually I wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars.. The book includes a lot of characters and sometimes it makes it hard to know who is who however the main characters are easy to follow and identify..As far as the story goes there are not enough clues left for the reader to make assumptions who might be the killer therefore I found myself fast pacing/reading through the pages to get to the end..The end is ok and it comes from something unexpected.. Overall its a good book that I want to rate as 3...more
Gita
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Kelv
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Cathi95
(Mystery 2006) It is 1965. Carmine Delmonico has a murder case to solve - which turns out to be several murders to solve as pieces join together to show a serial murderer, or murderers. It was a bit more graphic than I usually like at times. There was a lot of attention spent developing the relationship between Delmonico and Ms. Dupre rather than focusing on the mystery, but I see above that it is the beginning of a series, which makes sense to develop the characters a bit more. Their attempts t...more
Nr
I liked the way the author brings out the racial prejudices in the US of 1960s. As compared to the typically set murder mysteries (in current times), this brought more depth to the book.

And the ending was well done - even though one starts guessing who the murderer could be, the motives and modus operandi is not revealed until the last 2 pages.

What I didn't like about the book was the 1st 100 pages - there are too many characters being thrown at you, and it is very confusing - because before you...more
Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Colleen McCullough AO (born 1 June 1937) is an internationally acclaimed Australian author. Colleen was born in Wellington in central west New South Wales to James and Laurie McCullough.

She grew up during World War II. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead,...more
More about Colleen McCullough...
The Thorn Birds The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome, #2) Fortune's Favorites (Masters of Rome, #3) Caesar (Masters of Rome, #5)

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