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

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,363 Ratings  ·  212 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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Apr 18, 2008 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 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
Jan 03, 2008 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
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
Jul 15, 2008 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 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 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 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.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect! Simply perfect!
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story keeps you guessing, and I absolutely was stunned by the ending!
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
Galena Sanz
Nov 24, 2013 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
Oct 10, 2011 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 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 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.
Cláudia Santos
Jul 05, 2017 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,
Octavio Villalpando
Bueno, se trata de uno de esos casos de un libro que no es ni de chiste bueno, pero que puede resultar suficientemente entretenido como para matar algunas horas que se tengan libres por ahí. Tiene muchos defectos, desde una introducción muy larga, hasta una posterior falta de desarrollo de ciertas acciones que si habrían sido interesantes, pasando por supuestas vueltas de tuerca que no son mas que actos sacados de la manga con el fin de tratar de insuflarle vida a un producto carente de toda emo ...more
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
A good thriller in which you "get to know" all the major suspects in a terrifying murder enquiry. There's plenty to keep you guessing & while the end isn't a total surprise, it does have a nice twist.

I did go back to it though a few days later to re-read the ending. On reflection a lot of questions had come to mind -things that I just accepted the first time round now didn't seem credible - still I enjoyed it while I read it & that's the main thing!
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.
Elaine Bolynn
Sep 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absurd Plot

How could someone who wrote The Thorn Birds and Morgan's Run write such drivel? McCullough must have had writer's block, so she threw in every cliche from every other murder mystery she had read so that she could meet her publisher's deadline.
Anne Brown
I read this book immediately after reading The Thorn Birds (one of my favorite books) so this book was bound to not be as wonderful in my mind. It was an interesting story but the writing style was a bit lacking.
Feb 26, 2017 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.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars: EXCELLENT
Dave Sherk
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardbacks
Bit dated, but a good read with a nice twist for an ending. Some British crept through the US East coast cop story. But well executed and an enjoyable read.
Elena Mora
In realtà sono due e mezzo.
Such a cruel book with all details
Oct 07, 2016 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.
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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)