In a 2003 interview this is what Carol O’Connell had to say about her character, Mallory: ”The way her character is,” O’Connell said by phone from her home in New York, ”Is in that line from James Joyce’s ”Ulysses” — I’m sure you’ll remember when Bloom is downstairs, looking at his wife’s cat — the cat is also a metaphor for the wife: ”Cruel. Her nature. Curious mice never squeal. Seem to like it.”
The chilling descriptors above set the tone in O’Connell’s Blind Sight. A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone—vanished in seconds.
Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD’s Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun’s body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing.
Unknown to the police, that blind boy is with a stone killer. Though he has unexpected resources of his own, his rescuers have no suspect, no useful evidence, and no clue — except for Detective Mallory’s suspicions of things not said and her penchant for getting to the truth beneath lies.
Carol O’Connell has penned a thriller of singular intensity. At times the plot switched back and forth, making the read a bit confusing. O’Connell also introduced a number of characters early; this gives the reader pause to try and sort who’s who. Nonetheless readers are rewarded by Mallory’s logic and relentless pursuit.
Mallory takes the lead on this case. Unlike her fellow detectives, Mallory is not bound by the limits of the typical. Her intuitions and her street smarts are unique tools. Mallory is spot on and, as always, she keeps her SCU colleagues in the dark as she hunts.
There are many instances of “blind” in this thriller. O’Connell thoroughly captures the world of the physically blind in her portrayal of Jonah, the kidnapped boy, where reliance on other senses is critical for survival. But the police are blind as well – few clues, few suspects, and few opportunities to connect the dots.
As for Mallory, she seems blind to the human aspect of the crime. We bear witness to how Mallory armors herself to create that façade. Deep in her psyche, she carries the eternal flame of love and compassion even if she wishes to hide and protect that vulnerable part of herself.
Blind Sight is well worth the read. Stick with the maze of a start because the ending will blow you away.Sharon Kriegisch is a psychological thriller fan, a beta reader/editor and successful entrepreneur