Picks and Pans Review: Stone Angel

updated 08/04/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/1997 01:00AM

by Carol O'Connell

Beach Book of the Week

THE BAYOU REMEMBERS. DEEP IN ITS marshy depths old evils lurk, ready to strike with gator force should someone be fool enough to stir the waters. But in this moving mystery, that someone is more than ready for the fight of her life. She is NYPD Detective Sgt. Kathleen Mallory, who has returned to her tiny Louisiana hometown after almost 20 years to solve the case that has obsessed her since childhood: the murder of her own mother.

Mallory's memory-haunted journey of discovery should prove equally illuminating to readers. The many fans O'Connell has won over with her first three novels will glimpse not only some of the mettle beneath her computer-hacker heroine's steely facade, but also the breadth of her own talent. Here she conjures up a world of almost Faulknerian richness and complexity—though in mercifully shorter sentences—peopled with characters every bit as compelling as those on Mallory's usual Manhattan beat. In Stone Angel, O'Connell's imagination truly takes wing. (Putnam, $24.95)

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