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The Chalk Girl [Paperback]

Carol O'Connell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

19 July 2012
Before Lisbeth Salander, there was Kathy Mallory.

The little girl appeared in Central Park: red-haired, blue-eyed, smiling, perfect - except for the blood on her shoulder. It fell from the sky, she said, while she was looking for her uncle, who turned into a tree. Poor child, people thought. And then they found the body in the tree.

For NYPD detective, Kathy Mallory, there is something about the girl that she understands. Mallory is damaged, they say, but she can tell a kindred spirit. And this one will lead her to a story of extraordinary crimes; murders stretching back fifteen years, blackmail and complicity and a particular cruelty that only someone with Mallory's history could fully recognise. In the next few weeks, Kathy Mallory will deal with them all... in her own way.

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The Chalk Girl + It Happens in the Dark + Find Me (Kathleen Mallory Novels)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (19 July 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 075538539X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755385393
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,101 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 novels, JUDAS CHILD and BONE BY BONE, have garnered widespread critical acclaim and have appeared on bestseller lists across America.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (4.5 stars) Makes the macabre feel believable 6 May 2012
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After the stunning Shark Music there was always a question mark over where O'Connell could go next with her Mallory series. To start with, this feels a bit like a retreat to slightly safer ground. We're back in NYPD and while Mallory's three-month road trip hasn't been either forgiven or forgotten, she's back on the team with Riker. A gruesome death in Central Park, a lost girl, and a body in a tree are just the start of a complex tale of political conspiracy and almost unbearable cruelty.

For much of this book I was rating it as four stars in my head - it's as well-written and well-plotted as ever but Mallory feels strangely shadowy and just not as well-realised as in previous books. And then the ending suddenly seems to turn around and hit us in the gut!

Make no mistake, this is dark and very grim reading - and it's probably best to have met the enigmatic Mallory before reading this. I think O'Connell is one of the most intelligent and powerful crime writers around today. This may not be her best book, but it's very, very good indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable thriller 20 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this thriller. It is very well written and thoroughly gripping.

The plot is well summarised on this page and any more detail would undoubtedly be a spoiler, but it is a complex tale involving multiple murder, criminality among New York's rich, corruption in high places and so on. This sounds like very standard fare but Carol O'Connell manages to breathe fresh life into it through the excellent team of Mallory and Striker whose relationship and approach is original, satisfying and sometimes very funny. The writing is excellent: O'Connell's prose is pacy, unfussy and very readable and the plot is superbly paced and structured. I found the present-day events gripping and the emergence of old horror extremely well done. The characters are well drawn (if a little over-done in places) and there are some very touching and occasionally heart-rending aspects to the book.

The whole thing kept me completely engrossed and I found it very enjoyable and satisfying. For some reason I have not come across Carol O'Connell before, but I will certainly be looking out her earlier Mallory books and warmly recommend this one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's usually a mistake to take a series character out of her home environment and I found Shark Music (AKA Find me), which dragged Mallory out of New York and along the hundreds of miles of Route 66, hard going.

Here, however, we are back where we and Mallory belong -- bang in the middle of Manhattan, actually in Central Park. The novel opens strongly and memorably, as a world-weary teacher takes a group of supposedly gifted infants into the park, only to find that the place is infested with rats and that her small group has grown by one -- a dirty little girl with blood on her clothes, a bright and abandoned child, reminiscent of Kathy Mallory herself, though little Coco has a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome, which, among other things, makes her very trusting of strangers

O'Connell has long positioned herself at the more gruesome end of the serial killer scale and this is no exception. Someone is abducting victims and leaving them in trees in Central Park, their eyes covered and ears blocked, to die of dehydration. One of them, however, has survived.

Someone is seeking revenge for the murder of a child many years ago and the connection is to a school for rich kids, rich bullies whose parents can afford to buy secrets. Where does the corrupt cop with the invisible wife, now very high up in the NYPD, fit into the picture? Riker and Mallory follow the twists and turns of the case, risking dismissal and physical danger to get to the truth and see that justice, insofar as it is possible, is done.

The narrative is punctuated with the diaries of the murdered boy, telling the truth that no adult -- not his parents nor his teachers -- was willing to hear. It's a desperately sad tale, told by a master of the art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely in the Extreme 16 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Chalk Girl starts dramatically with rats on the loose in Central Park. A young girl is wandering alone around the park, and is apparently convinced that her guardian, `Uncle Red' has turned into a tree. The subsequent discovery of a body in a tree then leads to a hunt for other victims and a link with a similar occurrence which occurred many years before.

This is a complex case, led by the policewoman, Kathy Mallory. It proves to be far reaching and complex. Nothing is straight forward, either in terms of who has perpetrated these crimes or indeed, with the various characters in government service who have their own vested interests in these cases. There proves to be not just one bad apple, but a whole barrel load of them each with their own personal agenda. The quotes from Ernest Nadler, which preface each chapter, gradually start to make some sense as the story progresses. This is a story where the reader needs to keep their wits about them in order to keep on board with the thread. However, it is all logically put together by the author if unlikely in the extreme.

Kathy Mallory is the heroine of this tale in the loosest sense of the word since she is neither very likely or likeable. The word sociopathic is used about her several times and this would seem a fair assessment since she seems unable to relate to others and hence it is hard for the reader to relate to her. It seems unlikely that she would ever have been accepted into the police force, or should she have managed to get in that she would not have been quickly shown the door. Perhaps if you have read all the previous books starring Mallory you will have grown to love her, but I rather doubt it. As this is my first I found her hard to take.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - only problem is now I will have to ...
Brilliant - only problem is now I will have to wait for author to get round to next one in series - hope relationship with Charles and her "poker buddies" gets more input... Read more
Published 1 month ago by bookaholic
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
reading it at the moment
Published 1 month ago by Margo Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I enjoyed this book so much I did not want it to end even though I wanted to know the outcome
Published 11 months ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought this was a really good read.
My first Carrol O'Connell book, I loved it. Ticked all the boxes for me. Good story with great characters, and at a good pace.
Published 12 months ago by Jef
4.0 out of 5 stars Gory but brilliant!
This book was one of those that you just couldn't put down. I didn't empathise with the detective 'Mallory' so have only given it 4 stars. Read more
Published 13 months ago by bargainlady
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed by Mallory...
A little girl with red hair and a wide smile is discovered running around Central Park. She has blood on her shoulder. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jennifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
As with all her previous Kathy Mallory books, I couldn't put this one down until I had finished it. This is a short review because I need to buy and read the next one!
Published 13 months ago by Old hand man
3.0 out of 5 stars recommended but a bit of a mixed bag
Kathleen Mallory (known simply as "Mallory")is a NYC cop who has recently returned to work after an absence. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ratscat13
Quite a start! In New York's Central Park children run screaming as their teacher is feasted on by rats. Meanwhile ghastly discoveries await high in the trees. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr. D. L. Rees
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good
This was a decent crime novel. It is pretty well written and sustained my interest throughout.
It was somewhat implausible at times and did slightly veer into parody at... Read more
Published 17 months ago by The Emperor
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