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Shell Game Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 2000

3.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reissue edition (Aug. 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425176037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425176030
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 2.9 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #407,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had "Great Expectations" for this book. The book comes up short of bitter/sweet. A miscalculation of Mallory's personality. Can a reader still care for this character? I have read Carol O'Connels other books and in each case have been breathless to continue to the next. Her writing is crisp,stylish and plots satisfying. Characters in her novels are usually complicated enough for me to care about them, and the web of intrigue keeps me from doing other duties until I finish her books. In the "Shell Game" I was very disappointed and in fact had a hard time finishing the book. I feel as if the author short changed the characters developed in other books. Considering what I thought a set up for complicated interest in the book "Stone Angel" Mallory does not deliver in Shell Game - weak plot. The Shell Game should be magic in verse and story. I feel Ms. O'Connell deceived the greatness of supporting characters such as Charles Butler and Riker. Strong characters in Stone Angel their loyalty was betrayed by a weak sub-plot in SG. Ms. O'Connell herself proved that digging up Mallory's past was not necessarily a good thing, since the next book did not measure up. Is there hope for her character after this?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read all of the Carol O'Connell books featuring Mallory, etc. Having always had an interest in magic, I thought this would be a great read. "Tedious" is the word many other reviewers have used and I agree. I really lost interest in how and why Louisa had been killed 60 years before and which of the magicians were guilty then and now for the present murder(s). Thank goodness it was not the first O'Connell book I have read. Not up to the standard of those great books that preceded it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This fifth book in the Mallory series was the best one I've read yet and I love the fact that each one of these books stand alone. Instead of repeating whole sections of previous books to fill the reader in, O'Connell sums up everything you need to know in one or two sentences here and there. She is truly a gifted writer. This story finds Mallory in the middle of a revenge murder surrounded by magicians. The regular cast appears yet they are much more in the background this time as Mallory is front and center. For the first time the reader becomes much more emphatic with her character as we see a softer side and watch Mallory evolve into this more humane person (she opens up and shares a deep dark secret - her pysch evaluation as a child - with another character and we also see how hurt she is when those closest to her don't believe her). However, just when we think Mallory has changed and gone all sappy on us, the plot ends with Mallory being pure Mallory which is pure genius. I've always thought Mallory was a misunderstood character as she does stand for moral principles and maybe you have have to be somewhat cold to be willing to go to the lengths she does when choosing between right and wrong. We even understand why Mallory is the way she is given her background......and although there are no obvious "Stone Angel" references, the revelations of Mallory's past in that book have visibly and profoundly affected Mallory as her story continues in this murder mystery. Speaking of which, I'm thrilled the whole haunting love story of Louisa and Malakhai was the focal point as it was always hinted at previously and the real narrative was fascinating. This author knows how to write a spellbinding tale.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember how much I really enjoyed the first couple of books by O'Connell. She introduced the female character Mallory, who is so multifaceted in personality and characteristics due to her very different childhood. Up til this book, both the characterization of people and plot development were very well handled by O'Connell. This time the author came up short. I don't know why. O'Connell doesn't churn these mysteries out as fast as she can like some other female writers of the mystery genre.
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.
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