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Crime School Over the course of six novels, Carol O Connell has become one of our most acclaimed writers of suspense Her heroine, Kathy Mallory, is stunningly unique Milwaukee Journal Sentinel O Connell conjures up a world of almost Faulkerian richness and complexity, said People, and the Chicago Tribune wrote simply, O Connell has raised the standard for psychological thrillers A wild child turned New York City policewoman, Mallory was adopted off the streets as a small girl Very little has ever really been known about what happened to her back then, how she lived but the past is about to come alive Crime School begins with the discovery of a woman found hanging in a burning apartment, tufts of her own blond hair stuck in her mouth and red candles scattered all around Immediately, Mallory knows several things The fire was set so the woman would be discovered The crime is identical to another one twenty years old And she knows this woman She is a prostitute named Sparrow, who took her in all those many years ago, and then betrayed her There is unfinished business between Mallory and Sparrow, and the quest to settle it will send her spinning back to a time of secrets and desperation, and into the mind of a criminal whose work has only just begun Kathleen Mallory is not your typical policewoman First she was a street child until found and adopted by a policeman She uses her gut instinct to solve crimes and takes no guff from anyone Now she is working the murder of a bag lady. Absent all humanity, its bias and fragility, the law was a sociopathO Connell explores cops and killers, from cop killers to killer cops, in Crime School, book 6 in her 12 title Kathleen Mallory series It can be read as a standalone Of course, if one has read Stone Angel4 , Crime School packs a stronger emotional impact as it provides some insight into Mallory s feral years on the streets before police inspector Louis Markovitz and his wife took her in Sparrow, a former proAbsent all humanity, its bias and fragility, the law was a sociopathO Connell explores cops and killers, from cop killers to killer cops, in Crime School, book 6 in her 12 title Kathleen Mallory series It can be read as a standalone Of course, if one has read Stone Angel4 , Crime School packs a stronger emotional impact as it provides some insight into Mallory s feral years on the streets before police inspector Louis Markovitz and his wife took her in Sparrow, a former prostitute and long time informant for Special Crimes detective Riker, is found dangling from a rope in her burning apartment Riker s enigmatic and brusque partner Mallory also has a personal tie with Sparrow, but it s a bond that needs to be kept secret.The Special Crimes commander wants nothing to do with Sparrow s case, especially since a greenhorn detective resuscitated Sparrow from death to a vegetative state and into a hospital bed But Mallory spots a connection between Sparrow and a 20 year old cold case with a similar m.o And soon, comparisons are inevitably drawn between Mallory and another mysterious twenty something who also had a similarly traumatic childhood As Riker explains to Charles Butler, who is still devoted to MalloryIt s an old idea that cops and killers are twins What separates us that s what happens after the killing is overCrime Schoolis a multi layered police procedural with a serial stalker turned hangman and complex character dramas It was published in 2002, and yet New York feels like the NYC of the 1990s or older The police force s history is speckled with corruption and cops adopt compromising positions in order to preserve secrets Or cops just make major screw ups Although I still don t love the ruthless Mallory, I m intrigued by her support system Riker, who watched Mallory grow up, acts as her in loco parentis, and glimpses of his troubled history are provided Although Charles turns a blind eye to Mallory s personality deficiencies, he is the magnetic north for morality and normality My only quibble with Crime Schoolis the identification and arrest of the killer at the book s end it didn t feel solid enough for me It s an old idea that cops and killers are twins Another macabre masterpiece of crime fiction from O Connell someone is stalking and killing blondes in NYC but the story that unravels behind this trope of the genre isgruesome,emotionally wrenching than anything your average writer could produce.After dipping in and out of this series, I m now reading it in the correct order and can see how precisely O Connell rations information about Mallory, deepening both our understanding of he It s an old idea that cops and killers are twins Another macabre masterpiece of crime fiction from O Connell someone is stalking and killing blondes in NYC but the story that unravels behind this trope of the genre isgruesome,emotionally wrenching than anything your average writer could produce.After dipping in and out of this series, I m now reading it in the correct order and can see how precisely O Connell rations information about Mallory, deepening both our understanding of her damaged psyche and her relationships with Riker and Charles She sprang fully formed in the first book Mallory s Oracle but it was only in the last book Flight of the Stone Angel that we were allowed to understand where she came from Here, we get an insight into her life on the streets, and aoblique portrait of an equally damaged child who is both like and radically unlike Mallory herself.I can t put into words how much I love this series O Connell s writing is superb nuanced, crisp, acidic, full of dark dark humour but also pliable enough to hit emotional high notes without ever faltering Crime is such an over crowded marketplace, but O Connell is one of its contemporary cult stars just brilliant a woman is found hanged in her apt but what do the red candles and hundreds of flies signify then they find she is not actually dead and is now in hospital in a coma it gets personal as she is sparrow, a prostitute known both to riker and mallorythey pursue this case, together with butler, and find it has a link to an unsolved hanging 2 decades ago also there is another hanging and a further woman is being targeted can they stop this madman in time the usual well depicted characters and this a woman is found hanged in her apt but what do the red candles and hundreds of flies signify then they find she is not actually dead and is now in hospital in a coma it gets personal as she is sparrow, a prostitute known both to riker and mallorythey pursue this case, together with butler, and find it has a link to an unsolved hanging 2 decades ago also there is another hanging and a further woman is being targeted can they stop this madman in time the usual well depicted characters and this time it gets into the personal lives of riker and mallorythan usual h e the ending was disappointing it was left so wide open with no answers is this the author s way to encourage to read her next novel a good author should not need to do this bev

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