Mallory's Oracle (Kathleen Mallory Series #1)

Mallory's Oracle (Kathleen Mallory Series #1)

3.6 20
by Carol O'Connell

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Escaping from the streets of New York when a kind police sergeant takes her in, Kathleen Mallory grows up to become a proud member of the NYPD and embarks on a dangerous case to find her father's murderer.  See more details below


Escaping from the streets of New York when a kind police sergeant takes her in, Kathleen Mallory grows up to become a proud member of the NYPD and embarks on a dangerous case to find her father's murderer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Serial killing, insider trading, the occult and the vices of wealthy Manhattan widows are the themes that collide in this heavy-handed first novel starring an unusual policewoman. Kathleen Mallory was an 11-year-old thief living on the streets of New York City when Detective Louis Markowitz rescued her and raised her in his home. The novel opens a decade later when Markowitz, a widower, is found dead beside the third in a series of Gramercy Park dowagers slashed and murdered in broad daylight. Mallory, whose early criminal instincts and keen intelligence have been loosely channeled into computer science, is forced to take a leave from the department and decides to seek vengeance on her own. O'Connell peoples her tale with colorful characters, both Mallory's allies and suspects, but there is little nuance to any of them. Particularly lacking in dimension is the heroine herself, who proceeds through the plot with a robot-like, if intense, predictability; the voices of Markowitz's friends repeatedly refer to Mallory's brilliance and appeal, but little in her actions suggests notable insight or charm. The broadly stroked narrative of this much-publicized debut has commercial potential, but the absence of subtlety or consistency suggests a short shelf life. 50,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB selections. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The investigation of a series of murders of wealthy, elderly women from the Gramercy Park area intensifies when Louis Markowitz, the head of the NYPD Special Crimes Section, is found dead with the third victim. Kathleen Mallory, his adopted daughter and a policewoman assigned to office duty, is beautiful, intelligent, fiercely independent, and obsessed with finding the killer. Mallory's computer skills supplement the street-survival savvy she learned before her adoption and the ``wall'' of clues and case details left by Markowitz. All of this leads her to seances, magic acts, dysfunctional families, insider trading, and, eventually, the knowledge her father had at his death. Mallory is the major, but not the only, complex and successfully realized character to emerge in this skillfull debut, which has the international publishing world's attention. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/ 94; BOMC and Quality Paperback Book Club selections.]-V. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
Emily Melton
First-time author O'Connell is off to a flying start. Putnam has paid a whopping $800,000 for American rights to this novel and another one. (In a reversal of the normal pattern, New Yorker O'Connell sold her novel to a British publisher before selling it here.) She's getting a megabucks advance, along with plenty of prepub publicity, and the book will benefit from a 50,000 first printing, a national ad campaign, and selection as a featured title of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Is the hype justified? The answer is a resounding yes. O'Connell's writing is stunning in its luminosity, originality, simplicity, and power. Her plot is ingenious, inventive, and enigmatic, and her characters sparkle with originality and charm. Heroine Kathleen Mallory was a wild street urchin-orphan who was adopted by cop Louis Markowitz and his wife, Helen. Tamed by their love, Mallory grows up to become a cop like her adopted father. But not for her the everyday cop world of boring surveillance, gritty street crime, and dead stiffs. Her bastion is megabytes and motherboards, and with her dazzling talent for computers, there's not a network, mailbox, or bulletin board she can't crack. But when Louis is murdered during the investigation of a serial killer, Mallory leaves the safety of her electronic world to single-mindedly seek out and systematically destroy the killer. There may not be enough superlatives to describe O'Connell's book, but there's no doubt it belongs on the shelves of every library. One of the top reads of the year.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Kathleen Mallory Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
350 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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