- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Headline (6 Aug. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1472209699
- ISBN-13: 978-1472209696
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
It Happens in the Dark Paperback – 6 Aug 2013
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There's never been a fictional detective like Kathy Mallory (Val McDermid)
Carol O'Connell proves once again the enduring power of Mallory (Karin Slaughter)
In this astonishing mystery by New York Times bestselling author Carol O'Connell, mad-genius NYPD detective Kathy Mallory comes up against a ghostly Broadway murderer.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
O'Connell has spent time building up the character of Kathy Mallory and she's far from what you'd expect. Mallory is a sociopath and an enigma. Her behaviour varies from the outrageously malignant to the ridiculously loyal. Add to her ever changing moods Mallory's bitingly sharp dialogue and keen intuition and you're getting an idea of the depth of her character but she's so much more than that.
Much of her Mallory's complexity is shown through her interaction with those around her, it's not easy being around a sociopath, and O'Connell injects a lot of texture into this loner by allowing her the freedom to roll through a whole host of characters in her quest for justice. She's a loose canon, she's out of control, or so you think, but Mallory won't stop until she has solved the mystery of the 'theatre killer' and part of the fun is watching those around her rise and fall in her wake.
There are some nicely worked themes in the novel surrounding the tradition of the theatre and the production of a very dubious play. I particularly enjoyed the creepy characters involved, especially the twins. There are some nice theatrical scenes which slowly turn into something altogether more Gothic as this bunch of eccentrics begin to unravel as Mallory slowly circles her prey.
It Happens in the Dark is quirky, macabre and altogether surreal - suits me fine.
The plot, looked at in the cold light of day, is a load of old hokum. It's almost Agatha Christie-esque in construction with a dash of Edmund Crispin's wit. A (very unlikely) death takes place during a theatre performance and the list of suspects is limited to the cast and crew. Events and more deaths follow, including murky and horrific past occurrences. There's even a climactic Poirot-like explanation to the murderer of how and why they did it. However, Carol O'Connell writes so well and gives it all such wit and flair that I happily suspended disbelief and just enjoyed the ride. Mallory is a wonderful creation and the whole thing is hugely enjoyable.
Don't expect a gritty police procedural (although there is a fair amount of police procedure, often being subverted) nor a grim serial-killer tale. It's a macabre but amusing book and warmly recommended as a gripping and diverting read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not the best but an average read. Doesn't measure up to the earlier novelsPublished 5 months ago by Lindylou
Every book in the Mallory series has been great, and this is no exception, although the author does seem to be overdoing the derogatory comments about Mallory in these later books. Read morePublished 6 months ago by P. Scott
This is my first meeting with Carol O'Connell. Another reviewer did suggest that this book as one of a series is not the best to start with. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Saturnicus
It Happens In The Dark is the 11th book in a series which features Kathy Mallory. I have to admit that I have not read any of Carol O'Connell's other books. Read morePublished 16 months ago by David
I foolishly hadn't realised that this is, in fact, the 11th in a series of books about the main character, Mallory. Read morePublished 17 months ago by A. Lucas
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... Read morePublished 17 months ago by E. Dale