Eric_W's Reviews > Mallory's Oracle

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell
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's review
Dec 19, 2008

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bookshelves: mysteries-and-thrillers

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 .. She never lost the thrill of pilfering and turned her considerable investigative and computer skills to purloining evidence from cyberspace for the police department.

When Louis is killed by a serial killer, Mallory abandons the sterility of the police computer room to investigate the crime. All of her analytical skills and knowledge of the streets serve her well. Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell is a first-rate first novel. It's almost impossible to classify as to genre for it contains more than a hint of horror, police procedural, suggestions of surrealism, and magic lore. The author has a way with description and images. We never learn anything of Mallory's past, yet its consequences are clear: "That was the sad way of damaged kids. They grew up with distorted mirrors." She is unaware of her beauty's full impact, yet not afraid to manipulate those it hypnotizes. Mallory is an unusual character, strange, yet appealing. I hope O'Connell follows with many sequels
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