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Too Many Murders: A Carmine Delmonico Novel (Carmine Delmonico Novels) Hardcover – December 1, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Carmine Delmonico Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in a Connecticut college town, bestseller McCullough's disappointing sequel to On, Off (2006) starts off with an over-the-top premise and doesn't improve from there. In April 1967, a dozen murders occur in the normally quiet town of Holloman, Conn., in just 18 hours, culminating in the death by bear trap of Evan Pugh, a student at Chubb University with a penchant for blackmail. The disparate victims include a hooker, a college dean and the head of a major corporation; among the killing methods are four poisonings, three shootings and two pillow suffocations. In an unrealistic move, Capt. Carmine Delmonico of the Holloman police, who's in charge of the unwieldy investigation, sends his sergeants home for a good night's sleep while the crimes are still fresh. The solution may elicit unintended giggles as it papers over holes in logic rather than filling them. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Carmine Delmonico, the homicide cop introduced in On, Off (2007), returns in this sequel. It’s April 1967, and the college town of Holloman, Connecticut, is rocked by the murders of 12 of its citizens, all within the space of a single day. There appears to be no connection between the victims (who include an eight-month-old baby, a prostitute, and the head of a large corporation), but Carmine soon begins to wonder whether, somehow, the murders have something to do with an unknown individual, whom the FBI has code-named Ulysses, who is selling top-secret information to the Russians. Like On, Off, the novel is a contemporary-style procedural set in a pre-forensics era. The historical setting gives the novel a fresh feel, and it keeps readers off guard: if the story were set in the here and now, we’d easily be able to anticipate the flow of the plot, but since it takes place in a time before DNA evidence, national computer databases, profiling, and so on, we have no idea how Carmine can possibly find a solution. A thoroughly entertaining crime novel. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Series: Carmine Delmonico Novels
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439177473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439177471
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,268,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Holloman, Connecticut is rarely beset with hard crime cases in 1967, but April 3rd changes this small city forever. Twelve seemingly unrelated murders occur on that fateful day. Chief of detectives Carmine Delmonico and his unit are swimming in crime scene evidence, lengthy survivor interview files, and few if any suspects. The mayor and the media are clamoring for solutions to these gruesome deaths.

Carmine is tough but suave, and his Italian background and longtime residence in the community have garnered him respect in his hometown. He's taken aback by the diversity of the crimes that have just occurred. A large rusty bear trap has clamped the life from a college student at the local Chubb University. A young mother's life has been snuffed in her own home. A college administrator has been poisoned by the tea he drank while conferencing with students. A professor's wife has inadvertently served her husband poisoned juice for breakfast. The wealthy CEO of Holloman's largest employer, Cornucopia, has been sexually brutalized, drugged and killed. Puzzling yet is the rape and murder of a well-known black prostitute.

Carmine's staff is stressed by the workload. Two of his detectives are in line for a promotion, and each would benefit from a rapid closure to these cases. His right-hand assistant, Delia Carstairs, is the overqualified but enthusiastic niece of the local police commissioner.

Colleen McCullough's long list of successful books began with her family saga, THE THORN BIRDS, and continues with a biography and crime novels that showcase her outstanding writing talents. Her characters become reality on the page. Carmine is portrayed as a handsome, fairly tall man with Mediterranean features whose family background strengthens his personality.
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Format: Hardcover
One day, one town, twelve murders. And you thought that Pearl Harbor was the "Day that Will Live in Infamy".

The unusual conglomeration of victims include a child suffering from Downs Syndrome, a prostitute, a pre-med student, the wealthy CEO of a major R&D company, a college dean, a little old lady, three black caterers, etc. All have been dispatched by a range of methods ranging from poison and gunshot to drowning and strangulation to death by bear trap. Are these all singular, unrelated incidents or are they each just one piece of a larger more sinister plan hatched by one cunning mind? Set in 1967, long before the advent of many of the forensic tests we currently take for granted came into being, Police Captain Carmine Delmonico and his crack investigative team of Corey Marshall, Abe Goldberg and Delia Carstairs find themselves facing the huge challenge of connecting the dots to solve the murders. Complicating their investigation even further is the appearance of an FBI agent who reveals that one of the twelve victims is the head a company that works on secret government projects involving the development of defensive weapons and has been infiltrated by an agent of the USSR who has managed compromise company security and appropriate valuable information. (Are we all old enough to remember the Cold War??).

The investigation proceeds with the plot becoming more and more thought provoking and convoluted. Who is the killer? Is there more than one? Are the murders and the security breach connected? Is the spy also the killer? There are a plethora of questions to be answered and suspects from which to choose and the reader is invited to join the investigative team and see if they can arrive at the answer before the police do. Although the storyline is truly impracticable it is, nevertheless, an entertaining diversion guaranteed to keep you reading. 3 1/2 STARS
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don’t think I’ve ever had my enthusiasm die faster or more unexpectedly than while reading this disappointing sequel to the stellar first book in the series, On, Off. I consider that book to be a classic along the lines of The Silence of the Lambs or the movie Se7en. This sequel seems like the off week in a television serial, stuff happens but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about it. I was immediately enthralled by the first book, but this one just never engaged me. On, Off I will keep on my shelf and reread for the rest of my life, this one I won’t touch again.
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Format: Paperback
CM was an aficionado of the police procedural genre, and it shows. I enjoyed the other Carmine Delmonico novels a great deal, but Too Many Murders was just a bit too much. Holloman is a pseudonym for New Haven, and Chubbs University is Yale, the school where McCullough taught neurology prior to becoming a best-selling author. As the moniker Chubbs suggests, CM finds her old employer and the politics of exalted academia worthy of good-natured but barbed disdain. As is often the case with me, I read the whole book in a sort of extended sitting over a day or so, and while I couldn't seem to release myself from its grasp, the book's embrace fell well short of seductive. Her love for and broad exposure to the genre and its convoluted plot twists is very apparent.
In fact, it may be what holds the book back. It's almost as though CM pauses as each plot knot unravels in order to give us time to congratulate her cleverness. This phenomena starts in the first chapter where a smarmy Chubb's sophomore is snapped in half by a steel bear trap that he springs in his dorm room closet while grabbing for the satisfying fruits of extortion, $100,000 carefully contained in Saran Wrap. Perhaps her historical fiction set in Ancient Rome is a better read because the author finds the subject more humbling.
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