I have to admit that I am addicted to these books. I have been trying to find all of them since I read the first one at a thrift store. I also have 2 other people reading them as soon as I finish the Mallory books.
Female dectective returns to her hometown in Louisiana to solve a case that she has been obsessed with since childhood. Rich characters. Imaginative. This book grabs your attention early and holds it throughout...
The perfect culmination to Mallory's backstory. In a sublimely-paced evolution of character -- both in terms of emotional damage and internal complexity -- O'Connell caps her trilogy of MALLORY'S ORACLE, THE MAN WHO CAST TWO SHADOWS and KILLING CRITICS with a "final chapter" both rich in its own complex identity and profound with revelations about the origin and futures of her over-reaching cast. While this book does not mark the end of Mallory's journey as a whole, it is an incredibly satisfying resolution to the stepped progression Mallory's past and the mystery of her mother's murder -- so much so that, taken as the capstone of a trilogy-plus-one sequence rather than simply on its own merits as a stand-alone, STONE ANGEL succeeds in a way no single novel can.
This is the best of all the Mallory novels (later novels included), but unlike the others, it does not stand alone. While the plot itself does open and resolve within the span of pages from cover to cover, the lion's share of STONE ANGEL's more profound content predicates itself on the previous three books, drafting off the momentum of their emotional complexity and deep inter-character dynamics to deliver its own knock-out punches with a power that requires time and distance to achieve.
STONE ANGEL is the payoff to a long-term investment. Without the appropriate foundation beneath it, the novel is very good but not great: a showcase for O'Connell's lyrical use of language, incredibly rich characters, and unexpectedly riotous sense of dark humor. With the appropriate foundation (MALLORY'S ORACLE, THE MAN WHO CAST TWO SHADOWS, KILLING CRITICS ... in that order) however? STONE ANGEL is as good as fiction gets.
Deborah H. (mooshudeb) reviewed Stone Angel (Kathleen Mallory, Bk 4) (aka Flight of the Stone Angel) (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on
NYPD sergeant Kathleen Mallory is drawn to a place far away from home. In a small town in Louisiana, she steps off the train. Within the hour, one man has been assaulted, another has had a heart attack, a third has been murdered, and Mallory is in jail, though she had nothing to do with any of these three events. She is there for an entirely different purpose.
Seventeen years earlier, Mallory's mother died in this town, stoned to death by a mob, and the six-year-old Mallory had disappeared, to reappear later on the streets of New York. Now she's back to find out who killed her mother, and what happened to the body, vanished as well, its only trace a winged angel in the local cemetery.