A Detective Kathleen Mallory novel. O'Connell also wrote "Dead Famous."
A sixty year old kidnapping is the catalyst for a murder and in her investigation Det. Mallory unravels a story of family horror, abandonment, greed, revenge and (not least) twisted love. This is a good mystery/suspense novel with atmosphere to spare.
Review: "Witty, bravura writing ... [an] emotional power almost never found in other mysteries." The San Jose Mercury News
Some authors write fascinating detective puzzles with cardboard characters; some write complex characters and psychology, at the expense of action, story, and the thrills of detection. Carol O'Connell is one of the few who combines both good story-telling with psychological depth, and this is one of her most complex.
I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book and, therefore, not sure how to write a review! On one side, the who-done-it part of the crime(s) is actually quite good, which I loved. On the other side, I wasn't able to grab a hold of and embrace the whole "Red Winter" thing. It was a little too far-fetched and seemed to go on and on where it needed to be reined in and I just wanted it to get to the point. Top that with an unbalanced Detective Mallory, whom everyone knows she is, but does nothing about it, irritated me somewhat and again, I wanted the story to get to the point already. Still, the story had some good points, so, you see my conundrum. Would I recommend it? No, because there are too many other excellent books out there and this was kind of a waste of time.
Carol O'Connell's latest "Mallory" book. The central mystery in this book revolves around the ice-pick murder of a suspected burgler. For almost all involved it seems at first like self-defense, until the secrets of Winter House begin to surface, and the women involved are revealed to be more than they appeared.
I think this is quite possibly the strongest of the Mallory books so far. It can stand on its own, but much of the background and nuance would be lost to new readers of the series. The mystery is just as convoluted as any of O'Connell's past works, and it's a nice paced read. Mallory and Charles do more interacting in this novel, and Charles has a greater role overall than he has in the past, which is nice to see. If you're a fan of the series, you'll like this one. If you haven't read any of the others, I suggest you start with Mallory's Oracle instead of this one.
Winter House by Carol O'Connell, features Kathy Mallory, a police detective who is described as a sociopath. If you've seen the Sherlock television series with Benedict Cumberbatch you know what's meant. Still, she's loved by her detective partner Riker, her business partner Charles Butler, and an assortment of other regulars. O'Connell writes with biting wit about Mallory. When she's found asleep in his desk chair, the chief medical examiner thinks to himself, "Well, this put a lie to Detective Riker's theory that she slept hanging by her heels like a bat." When she woke up, "Her eyes snapped open in the mechanical fashion of a doll--or a robot.... This leant credence to his own theory that she had an on-off switch." The back cover of the book describes it as a cross between a modern gothic and a police procedural. Certainly, the characters who live in Winter House, where the dead body of a supposed burglar is found, are a pretty gothic group. To call them a dysfunctional family is downright insulting to the term. O'Connell is a master of character. I've enjoyed all her books, and in this one she's at the top of her game.
After only 50 pages I knew I wouldn't be able to finish this--first off I didn't care much for any of the characters and second I guess I didn't want to read about old people killing then going back to solve another murder from 50-70 years in the past---so I found it to start out rather boring.