Monday, October 17, 2016

Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell

First Sentence:  If they knew why he had come here, all these men would turn away.     
A Catholic nun and a young blind boy, Jonah Quill, have gone missing; vanished in front of a sidewalk full of people.  The nun’s body, along with three others, turn up on the front lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City.  But where is the boy; a boy who is the younger brother to the nun.  Mallory will dig through all the lies, including those of the mayor, in order to find this lost child.
Carol O’Connell’s use of imagery never fails to impress—“The stall was shallow, sized to fit a narrow sidewalk that was choked with sneakers and sandals as the walking tour walked on.”  Her descriptions of people are immediately recognizable—“The mayor’s aide, Samuel Tucker, was puffed up with all the importance of an entitled far boy from some college of fastidious twits.” Part of what makes Mallory such a captivating character is her complete disdain for artifice. 
Mallory truly is one of those rare, completely unique characters who makes one extremely uncomfortable, but fascinating.  It is the “humanness” of those around her who make her acceptable, even though she forces the world to deal with her on her terms.  It’s not out of cruelty, but because it is the way she can control her world.  Yet, one should not overlook the tiny “easter egg” O’Connell provides.
And then there are those around her who, in a sense, inherited her.  Her partner Riker, her superior Coffee, and all the others; particularly Charles, who is the antithesis is of Mallory.  Although readers would really need to go back to the beginning of the series in order to fully understand these relationships, O’Connell does a good job of allowing new readers to step in and have a good sense of who they all are
The plot is as complex and unique as are the characters, which is what makes this such a strong and compelling read.  The times away from Mallory, and through Jonah, are where one really sees O’Connell’s ability to convey emotion.
With O’Connell, it’s not the crime or the investigation that holds you, although it has suspense that peaks, then levels, then peaks again.  It truly is the characters; both those who are continuing throughout the series, and those who are part only of this story.  But most of all, it has the incomparable Mallory. 
Blind Sight” is an excellent read.  But above all, it is the writing and O’Connell’s ability to create something truly individual that draws one in and keeps one there to the very last word. 

 BLIND SIGHT (Pol Proc-Det. Mallory-New York City-Contemp) - Ex
      O’Connell, Carol – 12th in series
      G.P. Putnam’s Sons – Sept 2016

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