The latest in an evocatively written series featuring free-spirited NYPD sergeant Kathleen Mallory has this odd, intriguing cop taking her act on the road to the rural Louisiana town where she was born. She's trying, at long last, to reach closure in the mysterious death of her mother -- stoned to death by villagers 17 years previous -- and must sift through the creepy, dangerous layers of the past to get answers.
NYPD Detective Sgt. Kathleen Mallory return[s] to her tiny Louisiana hometown after almost twenty years to solve the case that has obsessed her since childhood: the murder of her own mother...[O'Connell] conjures up a world of almost Faulknerian richness and complexity...peopled with characters every bit as compelling as those on Mallory's usual Manhatan beat. In Stone Angel, O'Connell's imagination truly takes wing.
San Francisco Chronicle
Unforgettable...Mallory makes a hard-edged, brilliant and indomitable heroine.
O'Connell's best book since her debut...a dark, Gothic tale of suspense, mystery and romance -- with just a touch of horror...O'Connell makes even the ordinary seem supernatural.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here is a novel that grabs hold early and draws you all the way into a world of secrets, mysteries, murder, revenge and innocence lost. This is the world of computer whiz and New York cop Kathleen Mallory, introduced in Mallory's World and acclaimed last in Killing Critics. O'Connell's prose lifts ordinary passages into poetry and her deft, bold characterizations render even such minor characters memorable long after the last page is turned: mute sculptor Henry Roth; autistic savant Ira Wooley; the young deputy Lilith Beaudare. Mallory leaves the Big Apple to return to her enigmatic Southern beginnings. Seventeen years earlier, in the hamlet of Dayborn, La., the murder of a young woman, Cass Shelley, set off events that transformed her six-year-old daughter, Kathy, into the thief who, four years later, would be rescued from the New York streets by the cop who became her adoptive father. Returning to Dayborn like an avenging angel, Mallory is soon arrested for the murder of a local evangelist near her old house. As told from the point of view of her friend and dogged admirer Charles Baxter, this tale, tweaked one way, is a fine example of horror writing; tweaked another, its elements of gothic romance shine. But from any angle, O'Connell's latest is a stunningly original mystery sure to draw raves from Mallory fans and send droves of new readers scurrying to the series' earlier titles. (July)
When Detective Kathy Mallory returns to her hometown in rural Louisiana to investigate her mother's death 17 years earlier, a police deputy has a heart attack, an evangelist is murdered, and an autistic savant has his hands smashed. Then Kathy lands in jail, suspected of murder. From this eventful beginning, O'Connell (Mallory's Oracle, Putnam, 1994) weaves a tale of revenge, murder, child abuse, greed, and revivalist religion. The fourth in a series featuring Mallory, this volume reveals her early years, including her mother's stoning death by a mob when Mallory was six. O'Connell populates the book with colorful characters, such as a 70-year-old naturalist who is letting her mansion fall down around her to spite her dead father, and Mallory, the antihero: super-intelligent, beautiful, angry, and vengeful. The intricate plot leads readers through enough twists to keep suspense high. Although Laural Merlington reads convincingly, capturing a wonderful Louisana accent, at times the tape volume fluctuates, making her difficult to understand. Recommended for popular fiction collections.Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
School Library Journal
YAMuch darker than the previous three novels starring Mallory, Stone Angel examines the shadows that haunt this unique detective, bringing to light the horrors that drive her. Here she is seeking retribution with single-minded obsession for her mother's grisly death by stoning. The small Louisiana town she fled as a child and to which she now returns is polluted with enough moral corruption to make Faulkner proud. Fans of the earlier books will be gratified to know that old friends have followed Mallory to Louisiana. Charles has spent months tracking her, dogging her steps with a fiercely loyal determination. Detective Riker has found her as well, and the relationship among these three continues to develop as the men try to keep her from destroying herself while seeking revenge. O'Connell is at her best when she is characterizing the almost animalistic Mallory, and she has outdone herself here, deftly weaving together threads of character and subplots from all four novels to reveal Mallory's true motives. While readers should not deprive themselves of Mallory's Oracle, The Man Who Cast Two Shadows, and Killing Critics, Stone Angel can stand alone and will leave readers spellbound. It may be one of the most chillingly horrible, darkly brooding, masterful mysteries of recent times.Robin Deffendall, Prince William Public Library System, VA
Seventeen years after her mother, Dr. Cass Shelley, was stoned to death by an angry mob in Dayborn (La.), Kathy Mallory, who fled the scene to become a New York street kid and, eventually, an NYPD sergeant, is back to find out who provoked the mob and what became of her mother's corpse. Since Mallory is Mallory, she's in town less than an hour on All Saints' Day when Ira Wooley, an autistic savant who was the world's most unreliable witness to the killing, has his hands savagely wounded; Deputy Travis, who's never told everything he knows about the killing, has his chance to talk cut off by a massive stroke; Babe Laurie, the revivalist who'd be a leading suspect if ancient cases had suspects, has been murdered; and Mallory is sitting in the pokey, thumbing her nose at dogged Sheriff Tom Jessop and lecturing acting deputy Lilith Beaudare about how to stand up to her boss. Mallory's loyal friend Charles Butler, following her down from the city with the idea of helping her out, naturally remains a consistent two leaps behind her, though he does get to spend time with some flavorsome localsmanly spinster Augusta Trebec, mute sculptor Henry Roth, enterprising innkeeper Betty Hale (who's turned the stoning into something of a local holiday), and the rest of the equally nasty Laurie clanen route to a dizzyingly complicated windup involving spiritualism, child abuse, and good old-fashioned greed.
O'Connell (Killing Critics, 1996, etc.) adroitly borrows P.D. James's trick of working the frontier where homicide shades over into the routine of sudden death. But Mallory's fans will be disappointed by the supporting role she's elbowed into here.