Shell Game Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 2000
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There has always been a touch of magic, a whiff of deception and illusion about Mallory, the New York homicide detective who never lets anyone call her Kathy. In highly praised books such as Killing Critics, Mallory's Oracle, and The Man Who Cast Two Shadows, Carol O'Connell has wrapped her fascinating, frustrating character in a cloak of myth. So it's no surprise that in her fifth adventure, Mallory is literally surrounded by magic and magicians, trying to find out why an old illusionist was killed while re-creating a famous trick involving four crossbows.
All of the suspects are magicians themselves, connected to the past and each other by events in Paris during World War II. One of them, a self-declared madman named Malakhai, lives in a mental hospital and maintains an elaborate fantasy involving his dead wife. There's a marvelous set piece early on--a poker game at which this invisible woman not only takes a seat but also makes bets, wins hands, and smokes lipsticked cigarettes. Of course Mallory is largely on her own in the investigation: she insults her only two friends and alienates all her police colleagues with her weird, unorthodox methods.
O'Connell is a richly poetic writer who fills her books with fleeting samples of everyone from Rilke and T.S. Eliot to Billie Holiday. Even if you're not deeply interested in how magicians work their magic, you should find enough other pleasures here to enjoy the author's superb bag of tricks. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
O'Connell (Judas Child) deftly demonstrates her own sleight of hand as she recounts NYPD detective Kathleen Mallory's investigation of the "accidental" death of magician Oliver TreeAwho died while trying to recreate on live TV the late Max Candle's most famous trick, in which a man survives the fire of four crossbows. As Mallory capitalizes on her friendship with Candle's beloved cousin, Charles Butler, to delve into a WW II mystery involving a group of elderly magicians, all colleagues of Candle and Tree, hints of Mallory's inner life begin to emerge. Once a street kid, the coldly efficient detective comprehends better than most the soul-deadening choices these men made to survive during the war and the cycle of repentance and retribution that have set a deadly game in motion. Mallory is drawn in by the seductive Malakhai, a master of misdirection who is always accompanied by the illusion of his long-dead wife, Louisa. While the detective, in search of answers, uses her high-tech skills to manipulate data banks and to amass information, Charles Butler is in his basement, trying to put together Max's great trick. Meanwhile, the stalwart Sergeant Riker, Mallory's unofficial guardian and staunch defender, is on call. O'Connell adroitly entwines the excitement of Manhattan's Thanksgiving Day parade with the world of illusion and the anguish of war. Her tough realism and hypnotic prose will leave readers eager for more. Author tour. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is not a bad read. Compared to many other authors who do churn out mysteries on a bi-annual basis, this book is a masterpiece. Yet, if the reader compares this book to O'Connell's first few books, they will be a mite disappointed.
There are way too many characters. Not only was the plot very complicated due to it having to do with WWII and a group of magicians, but there were too many characters to keep track of. On top of that, it is obvious O'Connell did a lot of research into certain illusions, which for someone who has no background in magic ended up being very confusing.
More was revealed about Mallory's background and how she thinks. This was probably the best part of the book. Yet the development of her two 'buddies', Riker the cop and Charles, the man who is Mallory's friend, was almost absent. They were placed in the book as an afterthought. There were six magicians originally, and though all were present during WWII, in the future, the now that exists for Mallory and gang, two are dead (and includes the 'original' murder victim), and the rest seem to be involved in a conspiracy.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
When a magician is killed in a stage accident, only Mallory believes it to have been murder. In order to solve that crime and prevent another, she's drawn into a relationship with... Read morePublished on July 15 2001 by frumiousb
In _Mallory's Oracle_, Carol O'Connell introduced us to a unique detective - Mallory, a beautiful, near-sociopathic genius with a mysterious past. Read morePublished on May 25 2001 by Joseph
Carol O'connell has shown subtle new shadings in Mallory's character directly related to her personal journey in Stone Angel. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2001 by Stephanie Patterson
A tedious, tiresome, terrible book. Mallory is completely unlikeable and I just couldn't find a reason to care less about her. She does not elicit interest, empathy or sympathy. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2001
I've read the entire Mallory series and, without a doubt, Stone Angel is the best. Still, Shell Game was extremely interesting, the storytelling up to O'Connell's usual standard. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2000 by José L. González
I've read in some of the other reviews discontent with this book and I find it perplexing. This was, by far, the best book of the bunch. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2000 by J. D. R.
Shell Game was not what I expected at all. I have read several other O'Connell novels (Mallory's Oracle, Stone Angel, Judas Child, and Killing Critics) and have really thoroughly... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2000 by jeanne-scott
I did not find this installment disappointing like the other reviewer. Kathy Mallory is one of the most interesting protagonist I have every read. Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2000 by Michael Butts