Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Chalk Girl

Entree *****of *****
I love Carol O’Connell’s books and wish she were more prolific. But like anything truly wonderful, her books are always worth the wait and I was horrified to find that I had missed one of her treasures for so long after its publication. The New York Times said of this that “there is the shockingly underexploited Carol O’Connell, whose Kathy Mallory, a scarily smart, ice-blond stunner on New York City’s Special Crimes Unit, is as fine a fictional creation as the crime genre offers.” The Chalk Girl is Mallory at her best.
Kathy Mallory (don’t all her Kathy!), NYPD detective is a highly functional sociopath with a horrific childhood, so when a little girl appears in Central Park: red-haired, blue-eyed, full of smiles and sunshine except for the blood on her shoulder, we can anticipate that this will be a really interesting challenge for Mallory.. The blood fell from the sky, says the child, while she was looking for her uncle, who turned into a tree. At first, they thought she was a lost child, but then they found the body in the tree.

For Mallory, newly returned to the Special Crimes Unit after three months' lost time, the child is certainly a fascinating case as well as a kindred spirit.  Charles Butler, the unattractive but brilliant and independently wealthy psychologist who has been hopelessly in love with Mallory for years is torn between what is necessary to solve the crime and protecting the special little girl who has temporarily been put in his care from further damage – even if he has to get in Mallory’s way.

As always, this is a shocking, compelling, dark tale of crime from a brilliant writer. I could not put this book down until it was finished.

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