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I'd Pay My Own Money...
Crime School {Paperback}
Crime School {HC -- out of print}
A Mallory Novel
Carol O'Connell
...and bring my own cold drink and popcorn to see a catfight between Mallory and Eve Dallas.

There is a fascinating synchronicity between Carol O'Connell's Kathleen Mallory and "J.D.Robb"'s Eve Dallas.

Both are cops. Both are beautiful women. And both are the toughest so-and-so in their respective New York police forces.  Both have close, personal relationships with computers. ;-)

And both were feral children, their lives, psyches and emotions twisted and knotted by horrific acts of violence.

(Of the two, i must say that i'd prefer to work with Dallas -- while she can be a stone demanding bitch, she also has a sense of humour and an ability to relax. Mallory has very little of either.)

Mallory and her partner, Riker, respond to a call in another area, helping out a squad that's short on manpower due to a recent mini-epidemic of a nasty flu. Arriving, they find a horribly-bungled crime scene, and a hanged woman, her hair cut off and used to gag her.

And they know her.

To Riker, she had been one of his best informants when she was a junkie prostitute. To Mallory, she was something else -- something more personal and, like so much of Mallory's past, something twisted up with pain, love, hate and emotion.

Both Riker and Mallory want to take this case, for their own reasons -- but their lieutenant is going to buck it back to the precinct that originally caught it... until Mallory links it to another killing, done in the same manner, twenty years before, and still unsolved.

Before the case is closed, more people will die, Mallory's friends (and the reader) will learn more of her past, how she survived on the streets of New York, on her own at age eight... how Detective Lou Markowitz and his wife Helen took in the feral child and, if not civilised her, at least tamed her somewhat.

If you've never read any of Mallory's earlier adventures, be warned -- parts of this book are going to take you where the nasty things wriggle, just outside of the light. There are a lot of unpleasant people in this world, and cops meet most of them sooner or later.

But Mallory is such a fascinating character -- and her relationships with the cops she works with and the people around her are so interesting -- that the pages seem to turn themselves, and, by the time you reach the end, emotionally, the feeling is as if you'd ridden a particularly good roller coaster.

If you haven't met Mallory before this, do yourself a favour -- pick up her adventures, get to know her, enter her world, see it through her eyes. It may not be pretty, but it's absolutely enthralling.