The Chalk Girl
By Carol O'Connell
Reviewed by Sue Wilder
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
A school class trip to Central Park on a beautiful spring day turns to mayhem when a plague of rats descends on the park. The teacher keels over from a stroke and Coco, a small red-haired girl who was not part of the group, disappears into the ramble area of the park, pursued by a predator.
Detective Mallory and her partner Riker are called to the scene. They find Coco who has a patch of blood on her shoulder, claiming that her uncle turned into a tree. When they look up, they see a burlap bag hanging from a tree. The bag contains Coco's uncle and is the first of three bags found in the trees. When Mallory and Riker investigate the connections of the victims, they follow a trail stretching back to unreported crimes and buried secrets from fifteen years ago.
Mallory is known as "the machine" in the squad room. She is extremely bright, obsessively organized, and technologically adept. Mallory is also a damaged personality from childhood which makes her a perfect match for Coco who suffers from Williams syndrome. Mallory tends to follow the money trail in her investigations, which in this case takes her into the upper echelons of New York City's police and political circles.
The Chalk Girl is intricately plotted. Ms. O'Connell expertly weaves the threads of the current crimes with those of fifteen years ago. The characters are expertly drawn, their motives excellent catalysts for their actions.
Mallory is one of the most fascinating characters in crime fiction. Before Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo series, there was Mallory. The award winning Mallory's Oracle was the first in the series. Driven by her own unique sense of justice, Mallory brings her cases to a satisfying close.
Highly recommended to fans who like their protagonists dark and fearless and their stories mentally challenging. Difficult to put down.PUT 25.95
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