Kathleen Mallory #11- It Happens in the Dark – Carol O’Connell

In Kathleen Mallory, author Carol O’Connell has created one of the most distinctive characters in the mystery and thrillerIt Happens oin the Dark genre. Mallory is

…. described by her creator as a sociopath. Emotionally scarred as a 6-year-old after she witnessed the murder of her mother in a small Louisiana town, Mallory flees to New York City, where she lives as a street child. She is caught trying to steal by police officer Louis Markowitz, who takes her home and becomes her foster father.

From age 10, Kathy, a “baby sociopath,” grows up surrounded by Markowitz and his colorful circle of friends, including his partner, Sgt. Riker, who later becomes Kathy’s partner and friend. As an adult, she becomes a detective in the NYPD. Genius Charles Butler assists Kathy in her side computer technology business and is in love with her, though she remains oblivious. Mallory is a tall, green-eyed, curly haired blonde in her mid-twenties at the start of the series. She is often compared to a cat toying with its prey.


Mallory’s life has been chronicled by O’Connell in eleven novels, the latest is It Happens in the Dark.

In It Happens in the Dark, Mallory and her partner Riker are called to a theater  where , what’s been called “a play to die for”, has just opened. On the opening night a woman in the audience died of a heart attack during the first act – the play was stopped. On the second night the playwright  throat  was slashed – suicide or murder?? The play was again stopped. The play was a “hit” and no one had even seen act two!! The playwright would have been proud. Only thing it wasn’t his play – the ghostwriter had little by little revised the play to the extent that it was not anything like the original!! Now Mallory and Riker had their work cut out for them trying to determine which of the cast or crew members may be the ghostwriter and who committed the crimes. Was it the once famous movie star, the druggie leading lady, the wardrobe lady, who may not be who she seems to be, the gopher who is not who he really is, or the two brothers who are as psycho, as the characters they play???

When I first discovered Carol O’Connell’s Mallory, I quickly made my way through the first six books. Then I hit a lull, books 7 through 9 are on my To Be Read  (TBR) pile.  I picked the series up again with book 10 The Chalk Girl and then this recent read of book 11, while I continue to love reading about Mallory and her supporting cast: Riker, Charles Butler, her boss Jack Coffey, others in her department as well as, Lou Markewitz’s poker pals, I’m not sure I liked this book as much as the others. I thought that the story line was a little hard to follow at times (I actually mixed up the  two stage crew members and the two psychos at one point) and actually moved a little slow. Also, I didn’t think that there was that much suspense, it was kinda’ easy to figure out who did it and the only suspense was why?? With that being said I still think that the series is terrific, as are all the characters. One complaint I read at Goodreads about the book is that Mallory hasn’t really changed or developed over the series, and I say why mess with a good thing, has Stephanie Plum changed all that much!

Anyway,  if you’ve never met Mallory, let me tell you it’s worth it!!

Grade B+ (Book 25 for 2014)