First Sentence: The Theater District did not shut down for winter storms.
on a play in New York is always a tough gig. However, having the play
change constantly and having a person in the audience die each of the
first two nights, makes it particularly challenging. It does draw an
audience, and the attention of Special Crimes Unit, including Detective
Kathy Mallory is a force and one of the most memorable
and compelling characters there is. Her partner Riker, Dr. Edward
Slope, brilliant Charles Butler and all of the recurring characters in
this series are not only her family, but become part of everyone who
follows the series. If you’re a fan, you are a real fan. If you’ve not
read the series before, don’t start here.
It has taken me a long
time to figure out how I feel about this book. The answer is that I’m
somewhat disappointed. The reason why is the plot. It is confusing, to
put it kindly. Of the secondary characters, there is only one about
whom we care, and it takes us a long time to get there. Of the others,
there is only one from whom we may feel some sympathy, but not that’s
enough. There is, however, a very good second thread which does make
the story more interesting. As opposed to most Mallory books, I did not
find this a one-sitting read. I never considered not finishing it, but
I did keep hoping it would get better.
The two things that
drove me forward were the character of Mallory, who is always
compelling, and O’Connell’s dialogue including her use of wry
humor…”Words of a wise man: “Don’t ever let me catch you punching out a
reporter.” And the late Louis Markowitz had also told her,” It’s
unsanitary, kid. You don’t know where that scum has been.”. Those two
elements are wonderful, but not enough on their own.
to be a major continuity gap between the previous book, “The Chalk
Girl”, and this book. That gap is never explained. There is also an
epilogue in this book, as was in the last, that really doesn’t
contribute anything to the story itself. The first time, it was
interesting and touching; this time it seems disjointed and somewhat out
of continuity with the previous one. I do, however, have a suspicion
that O’Connell is playing with us, in the way Mallory would, and all
will be clear….someday.
“It Happens In the Dark” is not
O’Connell’s best book. Were someone new to the series, or someone who
is not a true fan, to read it, I suspect this would be the end or only
book they would read by her. As someone who is a fan, I am willing to
forgive an author their occasional blunder—who knows what may have been
going on in Ms. O’Connell’s life during the time she was writing
this—but I shall also very much hope the next book rises back to the
level we’ve come to expect.
IT HAPPENS IN THE DARK (Pol Prod-Mallory-NYC-Cont) – Good
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013