cover image It Happens in the Dark

It Happens in the Dark

Carol O’Connell. Putnam, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-16539-9

M is for Mallory—Kathy Mallory, bestseller O’Connell’s powerful and powerfully flawed New York Special Crimes Unit detective. M is also for morbid, macabre, and mordant—adjectives that can be applied to the plot, the prose, and the humor of this dazzling 11th novel in the series (after 2012’s The Chalk Girl). An audience death on opening night stops Peter Beck’s play The Brass Bed, based on the slaughter of a Nebraska family, as does the discovery of Beck’s bloody corpse in a front-row seat the next night. Add to the strange mix of cast members a mysterious ghostwriter working on the script who leaves taunting messages for Mallory. Mallory makes startling deductions; manipulates witnesses, suspects, and colleagues unsparingly; humiliates a brash official who tries to grab her case; and draws the smalltown sheriff who investigated the actual slayings to Manhattan. Her bravura performance wreaks justice both inside and outside the legal system. Author tour. (Aug.)