Book review – O’Connell delivers again

2012-05-26 08:54

Carol O’Connell’s hard-boiled protagonist Kathy Mallory returns after a hiatus and it’s with a bang.

The Chalk Girl is an unputdownable crime novel that puts Mallory on the trail of some of New York’s most powerful folk.

Though to Mallory power is as irrelevant as personal relationships and she wrecks a few more of her own while chasing down leads in this macabre case.

A strange little red-headed girl is found wandering alone in Central Park telling stories about her uncle Stan turning into a tree.

The police might have simply ignored her ramblings and put her into care, but there is blood on her shoulder and she seems to know exactly where her uncle made his transformation.

There they discover a man in a bag hanging from the upper reaches of the branches.

And he’s not the only body in the trees.

Were it not for work and sleep, I’d have read this novel in one sitting.

Well-written and pacy, it’s another example of O’Connell’s imaginative prowess and her protagonist has so many interesting nooks and crannies in her psyche that she is constantly surprising her readers.

A great read for anyone who likes a good yarn full of violent death, villains getting their comeuppance and a cast of heroes who we all wish worked at our local police station.

The Chalk Girl
435 pages; R195

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