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It Happens in the Dark [Hardcover]

Carol O'Connell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Aug 2013

A Kathy Mallory thriller-filled with knife edge suspense and a masterful plotline

The reviews called it 'A Play to Die For' after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, with his throat slashed.

Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if 'person' is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional. 'MALLORY,' the blackboard reads, 'TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT. NOTHING PERSONAL.'

If Mallory can't find out who's responsible, heads will roll. Unfortunately, one of them might be her own...

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (6 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472209680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472209689
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15.8 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 566,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'If any writer could make me break my New Year's resolution to avoid serial killer novels, it's the brilliant Carol O'Connell.' (Daily Telegraph)

'This is crime writing at its best, and Mallory is its fascinating central character.' (New Books Magazine)

'The crimes are gruesome, the writing as smooth as silk as each chapter of this thriller reveals a piece of an increasingly horrendous jigsaw.' (Bella Magazine)

Book Description

Carol O'Connell is one of the finest writers of contemporary thrillers, with her intoxicating mix of rich prose, resonant characters and knife-edge suspense. Her books featuring NYPD detective Kathy Mallory, and the stand-alone novel, JUDAS CHILD have garnered widespread critical acclaim and have appeared on bestseller lists across America

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, smart, twisted and malignant 10 Aug 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Let me read you a few lines from The Herald's review of the play. `A death in the audience every night. It's a play and a lottery. Buy a ticket and take your chances, but get your will in order before you go.'"

If you haven't read any of O'Connell's Mallory series this isn't a good place to start. For fans, this is one of the more playful in the series - but playful in a Mallory sense: that is, impish, cruel, twisted and malignant.

Set in Manhattan's theatre district, this picks up on the traditional linkage between theatre, death and murder (Phantom of the Opera, Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey) but with a modern New York spin. Dialogue is street-smart and snappy, and the humour of the book is sardonic, abrasive and acidic.

Mallory is always a loner at heart but here O'Connell does a good job of placing her amongst an NYPD ensemble, and some of the other detectives make great cameos.

O'Connell always deals in the macabre, the warped and the bizarre, and there are some dramatically surreal scenes here (the `party' that NYPD crash...) but somehow they always work.

So this isn't a book for anyone who likes their crime cozy, straightforward and with clear lines drawn between right and wrong - but if you're ready for a sociopath `heroine' and a convoluted plot, this book is the latest in a series which consistently delivers literate, sharp, smart, twisted reads.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mallory + theatre = bliss 2 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First I have to say that I am an unashamed Mallory fan, and have been since I first came across her. I can understand people finding the series a possibly disagreeable departure from the normal police procedural conventions but personally I love the quirky and the offbeat and to come across these qualities in a police series told with wit and panache is a joy.
Mallory (never call her Kathy - anybody!) strides through these books; beautiful, dangerous, loved, feared and hated. She is a sociopath, intuitively brilliant at her job, loyal to her colleagues, quick to avenge any slight and capable of the utmost deviousness in her quest for justice. There are many who love her in spite of themselves, or herself, but even those she knows best are kept at arms length. Reared on the streets as a feral child she was adopted by a police officer and everything about her beyond her calm, well-dressed exterior is fierce. Sometimes her friends detect signs of softening: towards a thirsty cat or a sad boy and his mother, but they cannot quite believe it and Mallory cares not for their opinions. That I find most attractive in her.
This story concerns another of my loves in fiction: the theatre. Deaths are occurring during the first act of a controversial play - are they coincidence or murder, and why does the action and dialogue of the piece change every day? The theatre folk are as quirky as the police, from a young man who believes himself to be a character in a play to a pair of creepy twins and an aging ex-film tough guy who dances in a huge 'fat suit' on stage. The current situation is linked with a Nebraskan family massacre which took place some years before and sorting out this mess does tax Mallory's skills.
This is not 'normal' police procedural and though I like the genre generally for me this transcends it. Long live Mallory, and all the author's quirks!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 10 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the Kathy Mallory books and this one certainly didn't disappoint. I found it just as hard to put down as the others and was, as I'm sure the author intended, tantalised at the end of the book by little revelations of what was to come years later....Clever, fast-paced stuff and the most fascinatingly flawed female detective in fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Tension 21 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A good title - referring both to the Ghost Writer's rewritten script, which appears out of seemingly nowhere on the blackboard, and to the deaths that occur night after night during the First Act. This is the latest Carol O'Connell novel featuring the ice cold NYPD detective, Kathy Mallory. Many readers will no doubt need no introduction to her and the intuitive way she solves cases.

When the original Playwright is found with his throat cut in the front row, Mallory and her long standing partner are called in. But things do not immediately go well. There are so many people who seem to know so little about what is happening - a famous Hollywood name who plays the title role, a neurotic young Starlet, twins who seem mentally challenged and a Gopher who is so much more than he seems. Then the Ghostwriter begins to write Mallory into the play- but not in a good way!

The plot takes many fine twists and turns with few of the original characters remaining as they appeared before Mallory's justice is visited on toes that are deserving of it but sadly not before more bodies are consigned to the Morgue.

This is a typical rip roaring yarn from the Carol O'Connell catalogue. The story has plenty of tension to keep the reader well gripped right to the end. If you've enjoyed other Mallory tales you will no doubt love this one.

The only thing that drove me mad trying to read it was the advance readers copy printed on very cheap, thin paper and with faint type which made it very difficult to read. I am sure you can do better for your reviewers than this Headline! No reflection on the story though.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
bought for someone else
Published 18 minutes ago by Margo Clarke
2.0 out of 5 stars It happens in the dark
This book had a very dramatic and dark start with a man walking in the icy wind, up past the Manhattan theatre crowd, feeling lonely and sad. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Kevin Roche
3.0 out of 5 stars Kathy Mallory (the book is one in a series about this detective) is a...
This is not as dark or as well-written as Jo Nesbo's work, by a long way.
Kathy Mallory (the book is one in a series about this detective) is a flawed character and for me... Read more
Published 22 days ago by bookworm8
3.0 out of 5 stars I found it a bit difficult to get into and although I persevered I did...
This is a new author to me and I was not that impressed. I found it a bit difficult to get into and although I persevered I did not really enjoy it that much, found the ending a... Read more
Published 29 days ago by pompeyman
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewildering But Beguiling
The plot of ‘It Happens in the Dark’ suffers from a common fault in modern ‘detective’ novels in that the main protagonist, Kathy Mallory, becomes too entangled with the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Elliott
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable and a bit too far fetched
I have to say I have read Carol O’Connell’s Mallory novels before and found them an ok read. They are enjoyable but the plots are a little stretched. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ratscat13
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, quirky and surreal adventure into the heart of 'theatreland'.
If you're new to Carol O'Connell and the Kathy Mallory series I have just two comments for you to consider; this isn't the best place to jump into the series and I hope you're not... Read more
Published 3 months ago by JK
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I love the Mallory books, this one was excellent. Dark and scary with flashes of humour when you least expect them. Riker is my favourite cop.
Published 3 months ago by Fren
5.0 out of 5 stars A good old-fashioned crime thriller
This was my first Kathy Mallory detective fiction novel, but I had no trouble quickly becoming acquainted with the characters and getting Involved in the action. Read more
Published 3 months ago by uncle barbar
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass
Ms O'Connell writes absorbing crime novels you don't want to put down and this one is no exception. A playwright is murdered in his seat on the second night of his play, except... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Elaine Tomasso
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