It is seldom that critics make a unanimous judgement. But when O’Connell unleashed New York cop Kathy Mallory on an unsuspecting world in Mallory’s Oracle, everyone agreed that there had never been a fictional detective like her. A golden-haired, green-eyed beauty, she was also a borderline sociopath with a symbiotic relationship to computers, a complete disregard of conventional morality and a blazing desire for the vision of justice. If Mallory has roots, they are not in the crime novel, but rather the same soil as the darkly romantic comic book pages of vintage Batman. But there is nothing that blatant in O’Connell’s writing. Her skills lie in the subtle seduction of the reader until we, too, are drawn into Mallory’s world and adopt her causes for our own. From New York’s concrete canyons to the southern Gothic of Flight of the Stone Angel, Mallory grips us like a hand on the throat.
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