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Mallory's Oracle (A Mallory Novel) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1995


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Mallory's Oracle (A Mallory Novel) + The Man Who Cast Two Shadows (A Mallory Novel) + Stone Angel (Kathleen Mallory Novels)
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Product Details

  • Series: A Mallory Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515116475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515116472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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.
--V. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Raymond M. Rose on January 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes, police procedurals are a dime a dozen. As fun as it is to get into the minutiae of a fictional cop's life, it can be a little formulaic after awhile. The characters get a little cookie cutter. You know each of them: the alcoholic but good-hearted cop, the green rookie, and the hardened police captain.

Mallory's Oracle tries to make you think that it's just another procedural. And if you start to believe that, if you fall for that ruse, you will be wildly surprised.

In a genre ruled by plot, character-driven mysteries really surprise us when they come along. Now, I know that I'm a decade behind on this one - the book came out in '94, I think. But, for me, discovering Carol O'Conner is like coming across Elizabeth George and Laurie R. King for the first time. It's taking characters we know - the New York cop, the British Inspector, the consulting detective - and delving deep into their soul to see what makes them tick.

That's what happens in Mallory's Oracle. We dive deep into the soul of Kathleen Mallory. She is a deep, interesting, unpredictable, and enigmatic character. I really liked her "partner" Charles and the forays into the world of magic and mediums were great. She doesn't hand you the story on a silver platter - she makes you work for it. But trust me, it's worth the effort. This is a great start to what looks to be a great series.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Margaux Paschke VINE VOICE on July 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This reader was immediately sucked into this fast paced murder mystery. There were many suspects presented in this serial killer storyline and the suspense was well plotted. However, the characters in this book were the real gems. They almost became flesh and blood before my eyes as the author painted such loving images of not altogether loveable characters. First off, Kathy Mallory is a tough as nails young cop trying to avenge her sort of adopted father's death - Markowitz - and oh by the way, she was a runaway who was "found" on the streets by him when she was around 11. Her terrible and traumatic background is hinted at but never revealed. Mallory is unconditionally loved by Markowitz and his wife and even though both of these characters are dead as we read this book, the reader can see them as relevant characters and we feel her loss. Then there's Markowitz' band of poker buddies (The Rabbi, the Lawyer and the Doctor) who are three dimensional characters as well. Last but not least, there's her two sidekicks of Charles Butler (a modern day Ichobod Crane figure) and another cop named Riker(a drunkard with redeeming qualities). Sure her characters are flawed, but they all have principals that they hold true to and all of them can be admired. Kudos to the author for her skill in presenting such intriguing characters that seem so real. As soon as I finished this book I immediately picked up the next one in this series (The Man Who Cast Two Shadows).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Chamberlain on September 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think Carol O'Connell must be terrified of old age. That's the main feeling I took away from "Mallory's Oracle," with its plethora of elderly women and its painful depiction of their lives -- dismissed and condescended to by just about everyone under 60, living in terror of broken bones and broken TVs and loneliness, no meaningful activities to occupy them, no longer quite human enough even to deserve names (they are often referred to simply as "the moon-faced one" or "High Cheekbones" or "the nodding one").

Of course, one of the book's points is that it can be very dangerous to underestimate the old, but I found the overall attitude toward elderly people disturbing: they're to be mocked, feared, pitied, patronized, deplored, felt superior to -- but never, apparently, to be liked, understood, accepted, or seen as the equal of a younger person. They are old, and that's all that defines them. If the story is meant to challenge that view on some level, I don't think it succeeds -- too many references, with barely-concealed disgust, to liver spots, palsy, paper-thin skin, brittle bones, agonizingly-slow steps, etc. Occasionally a younger person will realize that the old were young once, too ("she might have been hot once," thinks a cop about High Cheekbones), but there's no sense that they are real people anymore.

And then there's the character of Kathy Mallory. I don't require a main character I can like or "identify with," so I don't mind that Kathy is unlikeable. What I do mind is that she seems like such an obvious authorial fantasy, a "Mary Sue," if I can use a term from fanfiction.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Mallory's Oracle" is a dense, wordy novel that covers a lot of characters and plot threads (insider trading, seances, street life, magic tricks, computers, police procedurals). So much so that I was unable to keep track of what was happening. Many of the characters (Coffey, Riker, the old ladies and the "bad guys") are not fully fleshed out. The other characters, with the exception of Charles, Markowitz, Helen and the Rabbi (and two of them are dead) are unsympathic and humorless. The author tried to pull all the plot elements together in the end, but it got very convoluted. O'Connell has a talent for writing, but reading this morass of a novel was not an enjoyable experience.
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