A red-haired, eight-year-old girl with an elfin smile runs up to strangers looking for a hug. Rather than embracing her, they back off. She’s dirty. There’s spots of red on her T-shirt that look like, and, of course, turn out to be, blood. Best-selling mystery author Carol O'Connell is back with her antisocial New York City detective Kathy Mallory in The Chalk Girl — a many-layered novel that will both satisfy and frustrate the readers left hanging by the ending in her previous Mallory book, Find Me. O’Connell, who was going to kill the Mallory character off in her first book until a publisher “talked me into letting her live,” says she’s tired of “expert” psychologists labeling people on television. “It should always be a question in your mind what other people are,” she says, which in large part explains the continuing appeal of her brilliant detective, who doesn’t like other people (mostly) but has unexpected moments of grace. O’Connell will be signing her book today at 6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free.
Wed., Jan. 18, 2012