Review: It Happens in the Dark (Kathleen Mallory #11) ~ Carol O’Connell

It happens in the darkThe reviews called it “A Play to Die For” after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn’t seem so funny the next night, when another body was found—this time the playwright’s, his throat slashed.

Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person—if “person” is the right word—who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional. “MALLORY,” the blackboard reads. “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT. NOTHING PERSONAL.”

If Mallory can’t find out who’s responsible, heads will roll. Unfortunately, one of them may be her own.

1 Thumbs-UpI wasn’t aware, until I received this book from the Publisher that it was in fact part of a long running series.  And to be honest, if they hadn’t taken great pains to point this out in the accompanying letter, I would never have guessed that the main protagonist had appeared in so many previous novels.

Let me start with the main protagonist.  I imagine the Author intended her to come off the page as a strong and independent woman, but ultimately the image portrayed is of a woman who is moneyed, opinionated and knows she’s beautiful; and the reader is reminded of this in almost every chapter of the book.  I’m not sure what the intent of the Author was when they wrote this in every chapter, but after a while it becomes boorish and monotonous, and it doesn’t stop with the main character.  Others that, I assume, have appeared in previous novels are treated in much the same manner, and by the time I was halfway through reading this I felt very much as if the Author were treating me like a sufferer of memory loss that needed to be reminded at every page turn what makes her characters tick; either that or they are trying to justify keeping these tired persona alive.  As this book was number 11 in the series, I was expecting the Author to have got into their stride with providing some step forward in character growth during each novel, but if this one was anything to go by it has not happened.

Although the story had quite an interesting plot line, this too was not up to the standard I have read in some books by Authors just starting out, and I expected better from an established Author; it was choppy and rambling to the point where many times I felt my attention wandering to whether I should walk my dogs or do laundry.  In my opinion, if the Author feels they have reached a dead-end with this character and series, they may need to consider doing their readers a favour and either bringing it to an end or revamping the characters to make it more enjoyable.

I’m sorry but this is one book I just can’t recommend, not only do I feel it would be a waste of money and time but, if the series has a fan base, it is bordering on the insulting to those loyal readers.