The Chalk Girl (A Mallory Novel) by Carol O’Connell

The Chalk GirlYou love her, you love her not… 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I should love Carol O’Connell – she has everything I look for in a crime writer. Great use of language, complex and interesting plotting, the ability to conjure up tension, humour…

I should love her, but unfortunately I don’t, and for one very simple reason – Mallory. O’Connell’s detective is so unbelievable as to be ridiculous – Superwoman, who can quell nasty criminals simply by putting her hands on her hips; a woman with no heart and a really bad attitude whom nevertheless everybody loves; an over-the-top rule-breaker who gets away with it for reasons that O’Connell fails to adequately explain. Even in the days of the maverick detective, Mallory was extreme and now that crime fiction is finally moving on/back to a new generation of more realistic detectives, Mallory also seems very dated – Modesty Blaise without the sexiness. This is the first Mallory book I’ve read in over a decade and I read it in the hope that she may have developed a bit, but no – still 26, still crazy, still loved by all…except me.

Having said that, O’Connell writes very well and the plotting was excellent. Apart from Mallory, her characterisation is good although her bad guys slip occasionally into pantomime villain territory. Despite my criticisms, I felt compelled to stick with the book to the end to find out what happened, though in usual Mallory style the ending was unbelievable and unsatisfactory. Difficult to rate the book – it’s much better than OK in terms of writing and plotting, but the major flaw of the main character means I can’t say I really enjoyed it, nor am I likely to try another in the series. So I’m giving it a generous 4 stars, because anyone who can tolerate Mallory will surely find this an excellent read.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link:

Amazon US Link:

2 thoughts on “The Chalk Girl (A Mallory Novel) by Carol O’Connell

  1. Very generous review, considering your opinion of Mallory. I’m a Carol O’Connell fan from way back and I don’t mind Mallory. She’s the original sociopath heroine, the predecessor to Lisbeth Salander. That said, I haven’t read a Mallory novel in a while.

    Have you read Carol O’Connell’s stand alone novel The Judas Child? It’s possibly the scariest book I’ve ever read. The characters have stayed with me for years.


  2. I hadn’t realised Judas Child was a stand alone. I’ll certainly read it now – I do really admire O’Connell’s writing and if it weren’t for my antipathy to Mallory would read far more of her work, so a stand alone might be the perfect answer!

    Thanks for the recommendation – and the comment. 🙂


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