The reviews called it "A Play to Die For" after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, his throat slashed.
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.
©2013 Carol O'Connell (P)2013 Recorded Books
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
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.
Although this book is not as good as some others in the series in developing the Kathy character, she is a complex and always interesting lead. The author also gives you a wide variety of characters, not a run of the mill mix.
Rosenblat's narration is spot on--she understands the characters and the script. The reading is fluid and enjoyable.
I love the Mallory series, but really miss Alyssa Bresnahan. I enjoy Barbara Rosenblat very much in other books, but this is read in a cutesy/"acting the story way" that is not suitable to the more noir aspects of these books. I'm nearly an hour in, and not sure I can keep listening. I may just go buy the book in paper and read it that way; this is very disappointing.
The stories in this series are always interesting, and I really recommend them.
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Once again Carol O'Connell has written a winner.
This book is full of murders, mysteries, and villians. Each twisted character has a history and motive for mayhem. It unfolds in a theater around a play that just can't get through and beyond Act I. Every time I thought I had it all figured out a new motive or persona would appear. Mallory et al, each of them with their own dysfunctions, patiently work through it, sort it out, and bring about a satisfactory conclusion.
Barbara Rosenblat did an outstanding job of giving the various characters their own voices, maintaining the characters throughout, and even adding emphasis to some annoying behaviors.
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