There are some authors that I wish could write really, really fast, as I anxiously await their next book. When a new one does come out, I delay reading it, choosing instead to let it sit beside my bed while I read thrift store paperbacks, overdue library books, favorite blogs. Not only to delay gratification, but because the longer I wait to open that new book, the less time I have to wait until the next one comes out.
Several of us chatted before about Elizabeth Peters, so I thought I would like to bring up another author I like, who, by the way, is nothing like Elizabeth Peters.
Carol O’Connell has a mystery series out with a main character named Mallory. I won’t tell you her full name as that is one of the mysteries and a subplot in one of the books. Mallory was a street urchin picked up by a police officer and eventually adopted by him and his wife. She’s grown up to also be a police officer. She’s strong, independent, has a very small circle of people she trusts, and solves mysteries. Oh, and she’s a sociopath.
I first picked up a Mallory book because I was bored with protagonists who were beginning to all sound alike. I’ve stayed with this series because Mallory is so flawed, so injured from her past, so vulnerable. In spite of being one of these super strong female protagonists. I root for her while reading because I want her to find happiness. And yet I don’t want her to change because her sociopath behaviors not only give her strength but also, oddly enough, give her empathy for others who are also injured. She’s the classic hero of the underdog, even if she doesn’t realize it, and her methods are usually illegal. There is also humor in the things she does, and I have laughed often reading these books. O’Connell writes with a wry humor that catches me unawares.
You don’t have to read these books in order, but it does help to understand the character of Mallory if you do. Chalk Girl is the newest in the series, and I have finally given in and opened it. There’s nothing like the smell of a new book, the feel of pages not yet dog-eared, the sound of a book spine being cracked open for the first time.
Chapter One. A little girl, hundreds of rats, Central Park, a sunny day. Now there’s a combination to make me want to know what’s going to happen, where Mallory fits, and what she’s going to do. Excuse me while I go turn a page.