Synopses & Reviews
Carol O'Connell's last novel, Dead Famous
, made multiple best-of-year lists and won critical acclaim nationwide. "O'Connell brings a hard edge of greatness to the crime thriller," wrote the San Jose Mercury News
. "A tough and brilliant action-, wit-, and surprise-packed novel."
But never has Mallory faced as many surprises as in the case before her now. It seems cut-and-dried at first: a burglar has been caught in the act and killed by an ice pick-wielding home owner. Except that the home owner turns out to be the most famous lost child in NYPD history, missing for almost sixty years, thought to have been kidnapped following the massacre of her family: five siblings, father, stepmother, nanny, and housekeeper nearly the entire household wiped out...with an ice pick.
Filled with the intricate plotting and extraordinary characterization that are O'Connell's hallmarks, Winter House is her most powerful and most astonishing novel yet.
"An ice pick is the murder weapon of choice in O'Connell's new noir featuring glacier-cool detective Kathy Mallory. A former homeless child-thief adopted by a kind-hearted New York cop, Mallory has parlayed her familiarity with the shady side of society into a successful if somewhat unorthodox career as a sleuth (she picks complex locks with aplomb and her investigative methods flirt with the limits of the law). When Nedda Winter, missing for 58 years following the massacre of her family at their New York mansion, reappears at the scene of the crime now the site of a brand-new homicide Mallory ('[s]till feral in many ways') digs her red lacquered nails right into the case. Cleo and Lionel Winter are mystified by their sister Nedda's return, certain they were the only survivors of the long-ago stabbing rampage. Mallory, working alongside sartorially challenged homicide detective Riker and psychologist Charles Butler, suspects the reason lies with Cleo's ex-husband, Sheldon Smyth, a slick estate lawyer with exclusive access to the Winter family's multimillion-dollar trust. But Smyth's dubious deeds are just the tip of the ice pick in the hands of O'Connell, known for her idiosyncratic characters and labyrinthine plots in eight previous thrillers including Mallory's Oracle and Dead Famous. Vivid prose keeps the pages turning in this intricate tale of betrayal, buried secrets and lives chopped short in the name of greed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The brilliance of this novel is in the exploration of the feelings and motives of Nedda and Bitty, especially, and how they influence the Mallory-Riker-Butler team. O'Connell fans, who've come to expect a lot from her, still will be knocked out by this one." San Jose Mercury News
"The individual stories are not very compelling, giving this walk-in closet full of enervated skeletons an air of unreality. Mallory fans and puzzle enthusiasts should appreciate the convoluted plot, but the title doesn't stand well on its own." Booklist
"Winter House may have trouble finding its audience due to how slowly and steadily it makes its macabre way through a decades-old mystery that has repercussions in the present. Start it, and stay with it. The journey is the reward. Highly recommended." BookReporter
Kathleen Mallory's latest case seems cut-and-dried: a burglar has been killed by an ice pick-wielding homeowner. Except that the homeowner turns out to be the most famous lost child in NYPD history--missing since her family was massacred 60 years ago with, coincidentally, an ice pick.
A reclusive senior citizen kills an intruder—but there's more to the story. In Carol O'Connell's new novel New York City officer Kathleen Mallory purges a woman of her mysterious past—and the flesh-and-blood ghosts of a violent family legacy.
About the Author
This is Carol O'Connor's eighth novel, the seventh in the Mallory series.