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Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if "person" is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional. "MALLORY," the blackboard reads. "TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT. NOTHING PERSONAL. If Mallory can't find out who's responsible, heads will roll. Unfortunately, one of them may be her own.
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By Nancy J on 08-25-13
I do not ordinarily enjoy stories which are dark, with little relief in the way of lighter passages. However, the skill with which Carol O'Connell writes her Mallory series draws me in and keeps me mesmerized to the end. That was the case when I read the first book almost 20 years ago, and it was still the case with the latest book, "It Happens in the Dark." When you combine O'Connell's superb text with Barbara Rosenblat's exceptional performance in narration, the result is unbelievably good.
Mallory (no one is allowed to call her Kathy, and only a few get away with it), who lived her early years as a feral street child in New York City, is a character who rarely shows emotion, other than contempt, yet O'Connell makes the reader pull for her. Those early years have shaped the way she interacts with other people, and once you get to know her, you can see "tells" that indicate emotions which she will never express. Mallory could be described as Eve Dallas in the "In Death" series without the human emotions Eve has learned to express. Mallory is also brilliant, and deduces things miles ahead of her partner, Sgt. Riker, but will never explain her conclusions to him. A strange and sometimes eerie character, but I love her.
This Mallory book concerns a string of murders during performances of a play on Broadway. The play is about a family massacre some years before, and it turns out that some of the actors were actually involved in one way or another with that massacre.
The Mallory books are dark, but usually do not contain much in the way of graphic violence or sex. It is probably better to start at the beginning of the series, in order to become familiar with some of the really quirky characters, to understand the relationships among the recurring characters and to get information on Mallory's background. I would recommend these books to anyone who appreciates exceptional writing. They are well worth your while.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Sires on 03-26-14
Competent if You Are Already a Fan of the Series
Read by Barbara Rosenblat who does a good job although she sounds a bit old for the twenty something Mallory. However a lot of the story is told from the viewpoint of other characters which works out pretty well. No dispute, Rosenblat is a good narrator and her work on the Amelia Peabody novels would be hard to top.
Back to this novel though. Kathy Mallory is brought in to investigate the death of the author of a Broadway play. In the Audience. At the end of the first Act. And then she finds that this is the second death during a performance of the play. But it appears that both deaths might have been natural. So Kathy has to work back toward the beginning and forward toward the conclusion.
She also has an older case that is involved with the current mystery.
Because I've liked Mallory ever since her first appearance in 1995. Therefore, it was easy enough to fill in the bits that the author doesn't really explain. Mallory seems less ambiguous and more annoying. The ghost writer starts out rather effectively but loses steam before the last revelation. Poor Charles is treated badly by both Mallory AND the author.
So go with this one if you like the series, otherwise go back to the first book in the series and read forward.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful