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Dead Famous [Mass Market Paperback]

Carol O'Connell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 9.99
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Book Description

Sept. 6 2004 A Mallory Novel (Book 8)

Jurors on a controversial trial are being killed off one by one, and only Detective Kathleen Mallory can figure out why. But the FBI has told her to lay off and leave it to the Feds. That's never stopped Mallory before.


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Product Description

From Amazon

To summarize the plot of Dead Famous would be to spoil it, since O'Connell keeps revealing it layer by layer as you go along--a daring technique, and a rewarding one if you're a patient reader. Suffice it to say that the story involves a seemingly unstoppable serial killer; a beautiful hunchback with tragedy in her past; a radio shock-jock who helps the killer find his victims; an extremely mean house cat; a gloomy veteran cop drinking himself into oblivion; and, at the center of it all, NYPD detective Kathy Mallory, who returns here for her seventh outing. Mallory (don't call her Kathy) is one of the strangest, most intriguing series heroines in crime fiction: a former street waif who's brilliant and gorgeous, but also sociopathic, manipulative, and obsessive-compulsive.

No formulaic cop thriller, Dead Famous is instead a crime tale that focuses on its quirky, often outre characters. There isn't a lot of conventional suspense. Yet near the end, the story gathers tremendous narrative momentum and rises to a real tragic power. O'Connell's quirky writing style and approach aren't for everyone, but her fans--old and new--will find much to appreciate here. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

O'Connell's post-feminist detective Kathleen Mallory returns full-throttle for an eighth grisly urban crime saga. And O'Connell's prose-sharp, gritty and streetwise-is in top form. In her previous case (2002's Crime School), Mallory solved a very personal murder and faced the doubts of coworkers about her competence. Now she's in total control, overseeing the recuperation of old friend and partner Riker, victim of an arrest-related shooting (she sets up a bogus fund to send him disability payments) and staying two steps ahead of a belligerent FBI agent named Marvin Argus. Two other vivid characters figure prominently in the story (or three, counting New York City itself, which O'Connell gives a palpable neo-noir grit): Argus is hounding Johanna Apollo, who's fled Chicago in the wake of a high-profile murder of another FBI agent named Timothy Kidd. A hunchback with extra-long legs, porcelain skin and raven hair, Johanna is working long, difficult hours as a crime scene cleaner. In Chicago, she was Kidd's therapist, and maybe his lover... and maybe she killed him, too. O'Connell devilishly fills in the pieces of the puzzle so that the reader's perspective undergoes constant shifts. Shock jock Ian Zachary-more abrasive off the air than on, if possible-exhorts loyal listeners to locate the members of a jury that let a killer walk free. And with his encouragement (if not instruction), a serial killer calling himself The Reaper has been obligingly knocking off the jurors. The way these two cases fit together is ingenious; once again, O'Connell sets the standard in crime fiction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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THE BLACK VAN HAD NO HELPFUL LETTERING ON the side to tell the neighbors what business it was about on this November afternoon. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Connor does it again! June 18 2004
Format:Hardcover
I never know what to expect from O'Connor's mysteries, except for one fact. They are not like anything I've ever read before. I think part of the reason I love her work, is because I studied neuroscience for six years, specifically on the brain. Her mysteries are psychological mysteries, ones that deal with people on both the good and bad sides, whose flaws are almost too obvious. Yet, each person within her books has psychological short-comings...even the so-called normal ones (and those are few). This book center around Riker, Mallory's sidekick and mentor, who is undergoing massive trauma due to a near-death experience. He refuses to recognize his needs (sounds like Mallory), so Mallory tries a little shock treatment on him...which backfires on her.
O'Connor characters are the best things about her books. They are rich and they are deep, her characters have flaws, but most of them (not the criminals) have tangible good points about them. In this book, Riker meets a woman who helps to restore his damage psyche who is physically imperfect, and I think O'Connor dealt with this problem of being visually imperfect in a society that demands perfection with just the right touch.
The plot is very convoluted to say the least. O'Connor tends to have several intertwining plots going on a once, and I guess some people will find it very difficult to keep these plots separate in their minds. Me, I have come to expect this from O'Connor, and I enjoy trying to make sense of all of the twists. As usual, I cannot wait until the next Mallory book!
Karen Sadler
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but choppy Nov. 3 2003
By PJ
Format:Hardcover
Carol O'Connell's writing is wonderful, with vivid descriptions and delicious sentences and metaphors. Despite that, I found the plot (plots?) choppy, and the book overall schizophrenic. The book shifts focus too many times, from Riker and Johanna, to Mallory, to psychological descriptions on various characters' craziness. It began with a creepy-seeming emphasis on Johanna's physical characteristics, but the creepy tone was dropped almost immediately and her deformity was not important, so I'm not at all sure why it was even in there. The end - or the last half or third - was pretty drawn out and really bounced around a lot. It'd be interesting to try to outline this book, using color-coding to note the focus and tone - I think that would show how disjointed it is. It almost seems like parts were written by different authors, or like O'Connell was experiencing very different moods as she wrote it, and never went back to try to reconcile the different sections. Read it anyway, because I think Riker's development in this book may be important to the next book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Satisfying Character Study Oct. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This novel continues the revelation of new aspects of the characters we have all grown to love. However, Carol O'Connell does not share a lot of new information about Kathleen Mallory with us in this novel. Instead, Mallory's partner Riker is the focus. He is on leave from his police work after an injury, and Mallory is attempting to ensure that leave is temporary.
The mystery plotline is almost secondary in this novel. It is overshadowed somewhat by the development of a romantic relationship between Riker and a cleaning woman with secrets of her own, which factor into Mallory's current investigation.
Carol O'Connell writes well, as always. She is an under-appreciated novelist who deserves more accolades for her work. Getting to know her characters is extremely gratifying.
However, if you have not read her Kathleen Mallory books before, you will not fully appreciate this book. Do yourself a favor and start at the beginning with Mallory's Oracle.
For those who have read all of the previous Mallory novels, this one is also high quality, although there may not be as much of Mallory as you might like.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying Oct. 10 2003
Format:Hardcover
Kathleen Mallory is a splendid, complex character any writer would love to develop stories around. I would _love_ to read more about her. Think of the possibilities! Kathy with a girl friend her own age, with a boyfriend, confounded by things she doesn't understand, progressing in her journey to humanity. This book has the possibilities, the hint of such a story: Kathleen the sociopath vs another sociopath. Unfortunately, we get only glimpses of what might have been. In fact, we get little more than glimpses of Kathleen.
This is the kind of story an editor loves, the kind of writing literature professors use as examples of fine prose. O'Connell's writing is top notch, as always, written with beautiful form. Unfortunately, it's like she's playing to those who admire the way you tell a story, rather than the story. So she neglects the substance for the style.
The story is complex, as is usual for the Mallory series, but spends far more time on secondary characters, and FAR too much time on their various neuroses and phsychological defects. This entire book is about psychological problems. It seems, at times, that we go from exploring one person's traumas to another's insanity, and spend a lot of time with one character or other talking about or thinking about this.
The actual mystery, the supposed major plot line, is secondary. And not all that important, anyway. This book is about psychological trauma and insanity, not murder. It starts out with Ryker traumatized and broken, and Mallory unhappy, and pretty much ends up that way. Along the journey a mystery clears itself up with little help from Mallory or Ryker and not very much suspense of tension - and certainly very little action. The ending is telegraphed, drawn out, anti-climactic, and wholly unsatisfying.
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