VJ Books Presents Author Carol O'Connell!
After establishing herself in a brilliant three-novel
series as an authentic, surreal voice of New York, less gritty than
Andrew Vachss but no less powerful, hard-eyed, and fierce, and her
central character, New York police detective Kathy Mallory as a true
original in a literary landscape of eccentrics, she moved Mallory to
Louisiana, searching for the "baby sociopath's" past, and wrote her
into a book as Cajun Gothic as James Lee Burke's
worst nightmare. Then, in case we weren't impressed, she abandoned
Mallory briefly to create Ali Cray and Rouge Kendall, the central
Judas Child - a book heralded with the ominous admission that it was "not a Kathleen
Mallory novel" - and left us as eager for more of them as we were for
another Mallory novel.
The Mallory novels are classic mysteries. In each, there is a
central crime, a main event that not only sets things in motion but
remains the primary driving force throughout the narrative. In each,
the 'real killer' is obvious after the fact but false leads and
misdirection make the revelation a surprise. Typically, the real killer
is less interesting than other characters either morally ambiguous or
simply but less obviously evil.
Mallory herself is a protagonist so wonderfully dimensioned that we
are driven, at least through the first four novels, by the desire to
know and understand her. Bright and talented, she is psychologically damaged
and scarred almost beyond imagining. An orphaned street kid who
survived on the nourishment of ferocity, cunning, and forlorn hope, she
is captured and adopted by Helen and Louis Markowitz, a homicide
detective and his wife, central figures of all the novels in spite of
the fact that both are dead before the books begin.
As with so many good mystery series, a great deal of the attraction
is the intertwining lives of the cast of friends, colleagues, and
enemies. The wonderful Charles Butler, not so much ugly as clownish,
but brave, brilliant, and madly in love with Mallory. Rumpled Sergeant
Riker, the aging alcoholic who tries to keep Kathy safe. You never know
who will matter. We hear in each novel a bit more about Charles' uncle,
a famous magician. Another magician, Malakhai, plays a central role
The Man Who Cast Two Shadows and then later, in Shell Game, emerges as a foreground character and the prime suspect in a murder.
O'Connell writes with a vividness, style, and craft that sets these
novels apart from pulp detective fiction, into the literary landscape
of some of the best of our writers.