Mallory is not usually interested in missing persons cases, but she is pressured to look into the case of a missing nun. Of course, no pressure would have moved her if she were not intrigued by a complicating factor, another person went missing at the same time and place, a twelve year-old boy who is blind has disappeared. Everyone thinks it is kidnap for ransom, but Mallory, as always, sees a bigger, more sinister possibility.

Soon the bodies of four people are found on the Mayor’s lawn, their hearts removed. One of the bodies is the nun. The boy though is still missing and curiouser and curiouser, the nun is his sister, a sister he has never mentioned to any of his friends. Clearly the clock is running on young Jonah Quill’s life and Mallory will do anything to find him.

The more the detective learn about the nun and her brother, the more determined Mallory becomes. As always, she is driven, blunt, rude and brilliant, making connections no one else can see.

Blind Sight is the twelfth Mallory novel. Series novelists must walk a fine line between meeting the expectations of readers who obsessively follow series, knowing what to expect and resistant to dramatic changes and meeting their obligation to their craft and their characters to allow them to evolve, keeping the series fresh and exciting. O’Connell walks all over that line.

4pawsThis is an excellent volume in this series. Young Jonah Quill is a brave, intelligent young man. He is smart enough to talk to the killer, to get him talking and listening. He makes it hard for the killer, but you know, killers are killers. The question is whether Mallory can find him in time or whether he can save himself…or maybe the memory of his aunt can save him.

There are many of the usual, expected manifestations of Mallory-ness, the impatience with routine, rules and regulations. The brilliant flashes of insight that leave her colleagues wondering how she does it. I wish, though, that the assumption that Mallory does not understand people would disappear. If she didn’t understand people, she could not suss out cryptic motives, manipulate people into helping her or anticipate what her quarry will do. She understands, she just thinks social conventions are a waste of time and she has no time to waste.

I received an electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley. Blind Sight will be released September 20th.