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

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  1,316 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
Colleen McCullough, who crafts "fiction at its best" (Time), triumphs with a searing murder mystery packed with heartpounding twists inside the world of science.

All the victims were pretty girls.

When the remains of a young woman are found at a Connecticut neurological institute, Lieutenant Carmine Delmonico is called to investigate. It is only the first of a serial kil

Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 5th 2011 by Gallery Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 18, 2008 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
Jan 03, 2008 Jennifer 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
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
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!! :)

Jane Jago
Sep 27, 2016 Jane Jago rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't see most of this coming, and it has teeth. Big, sharp shiny teeth.

I also love the hero because he isn't handsome or brilliantly gifted or especially intuitive. He feels real.
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 10, 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 21, 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
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.
Jan 15, 2017 Georgiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect! Simply perfect!
Cláudia Santos
Jul 05, 2017 Cláudia Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Foi verdadeiro deleite ler este livro de Colleen McCullough.

Enquanto lia, enquanto mudava as páginas, parecia que o mundo parava a sua agitação e tudo ficava sereno, o que é bastante estranho já que se trata de uma história sobre uma investigação de um "serial killer" bastante perverso. Mas a escrita de Colleen é tão serena, tão madura, tão equilibrada que é como se nos conduzisse no meio de uma tormenta, protegidos numa bolha de tranquilidade. É puro prazer.

A história está muito bem construída,
Tricia Riley
I did enjoy this book but there were a few things that got to me.

Firstly the suspect list - there was a suspect list a mile long. I didn't guess the killer and monitoring all of the suspects with all their different issues were a bit tricky.

There is a love affair in here which seemed a bit out of place. I almost felt like slapping him and saying "girls are being murdered and here you are flirting!". This was a bit of a detraction for me.

The "On, Off" at the end got a bit annoying. The ending was

En commençant ma lecture, je m’attendais à être conquise mais si l’histoire est plutôt prenante , il y a des longueurs interminables ! Il y a tellement de descriptions sur chaque chose que s’en devient lassant. Et au final même au milieu du bouquin l’enquête n’avance pas. Pour moi, ce n’est pas possible ! Un thriller a besoin de malmener ses lecteurs, de leur donner des suspects potentiels mais ici RIEN de tout cela et c’est tellement frustrant, il n’y a a
Gretchen Beck
McCullough's Carmine Delmonico books are The dialog is wrong, the location information is wrong, the plots are wrong ...and yet, I keep reading them (it might be that the appeal is that of a campy movie, there is pleasure in the wrongness of the thing). Can't say I recommend it, but can't say I completely regret finishing it either.
Feb 26, 2017 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow wow wow! Didn't know "who done it" until last page. Wish Ms McCullough was still around writing books.
Jul 20, 2017 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story keeps you guessing, and I absolutely was stunned by the ending!
Elena Mora
In realtà sono due e mezzo.
Such a cruel book with all details
Oct 07, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for the faint of heart or stomach...but very well written. And creepy. Very creepy.
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
Galena Sanz
Nov 24, 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
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
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
Jan 04, 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
Jan 27, 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
Lise Dufour
Très intéressant ...... malgré le thème (enlèvements de jeunes filles)

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Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and Tim.

Raised by her mother in Wellington and then Sydney, McCullough began writing stories at age 5. She flourished at Catholic schools and earned a physiology degree from the University of New South Wales in 1963. Planning become a doctor, she found that she had a violent aller
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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