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Proving once again that she can triumph in any genre of fiction, Colleen McCullough, the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds, now presents her readers with a gem of a murder mystery about a serial killer.

At the heart of this brilliant blend of suspense, forensic science, eerie and sadistic sexuality, and good old-fashioned storytelling is a dedicated but lonely detective, Lieutenant Carmine Delmonico. The year is 1965, the setting a university town in Connecticut, and serial killers are still referred to as "multiple murderers." Profiling hasn't even begun, so Delmonico has to go it alone on a frantic learning curve that has the killer always two steps ahead of him.

The story begins when parts of the body of a young woman are found in a research center for neurology privately funded by one of the university's greatest benefactors.

It swiftly develops that the killer is very possibly a member of the research facility and that this is not his first murder. With great cunning and daring, he targets a "type" of young woman, following which the women are subjected to unspeakable torture and rape, and finally a horrible death.

The suspects are many and varied, and include a wealthy and ambitious young Indian eager to win a Nobel Prize; the professorial head of the institute, who does something peculiar in his basement; an internationally renowned epilepsy clinician; a neurochemist with a taste for fine food, wine, and music; a Japanese with rarefied and strange tastes; and a business manager named Desdemona Dupre, a tough, well-educated woman, full of common sense, for whom Delmonico feels a growing, risky attraction.

As the serial murders begin to mount -- the killer is getting more and more bloodthirsty and bold -- and the media and anguished parents begin to put pressure on the governor, Delmonico and the forceful, enigmatic Miss Dupre are drawn deeper and deeper into the secrets of the suspects and toward an old family scandal as shocking as it is bizarre. But is the scandal something quite separate, or does it lie at the roots of the present killings?

Colleen McCullough artfully maintains the suspense and holds back the truth until -- literally -- on the last page, with the impact of a thunderbolt, she presents the reader with one final terrifying and unexpected twist.

Her book is a classic murder mystery, written with all the flair and skill that have made Colleen McCullough one of the most popular novelists of her time.
Published: Simon & Schuster on Jun 2, 2006
ISBN: 9780743293235
List price: $7.99
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On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I listened to On, Off by Colleen McCullough on an audio book borrowed from the library. I found myself intrigued by the story and eager to listen every day for more clues to the identity of the brutal killer of a minimum of 14 mixed race girls. The body of a victim is discovered by accident in the refrigeration unit at the Hughlings Center, a research facility. Detective Carmine Delmonico is brought in to discover the murderer. McCullough soon involves Carmine in a romantic entanglement with Desdemona Dupre, who is in a management position at the Hug as the facility is called. I felt this part of the book to be the least interesting, mainly because while Carmine is somewhat intriguing, both characters lack any real appealing characteristics. The eccentric group of suspects are far more interesting. I found that the book took longer to find its way to the end of some scenes than necessary. This caused the action to slow down and made me want to fast forward until I find another action-packed scene. I kept expecting there to be a reason why McCullough set the story in 1965. I never did find one. After some research, I did find that McCullough was a neuroscientist for twenty years before she was published, so that explains the setting in a science research facility. Ultimately, I think the book was too long. There were many passages that did not seem to move the story along in the least. While it may have served the purpose of explaining some motivations for characters actions, it was not necessary in helping to discover the identity of the murderer. The two main characters, Carmine Delmonico and Desdemona Dupre were equally uninteresting and so, seemed well-matched for each other. Still, I did ultimately listen to the whole audio book so there must have been enough happening for me to finish the story. I don't think I can highly recommend it, but I would not discourage any of her fans from giving it a try.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I listened to On, Off by Colleen McCullough on an audio book borrowed from the library. I found myself intrigued by the story and eager to listen every day for more clues to the identity of the brutal killer of a minimum of 14 mixed race girls. The body of a victim is discovered by accident in the refrigeration unit at the Hughlings Center, a research facility. Detective Carmine Delmonico is brought in to discover the murderer. McCullough soon involves Carmine in a romantic entanglement with Desdemona Dupre, who is in a management position at the Hug as the facility is called. I felt this part of the book to be the least interesting, mainly because while Carmine is somewhat intriguing, both characters lack any real appealing characteristics. The eccentric group of suspects are far more interesting. I found that the book took longer to find its way to the end of some scenes than necessary. This caused the action to slow down and made me want to fast forward until I find another action-packed scene. I kept expecting there to be a reason why McCullough set the story in 1965. I never did find one. After some research, I did find that McCullough was a neuroscientist for twenty years before she was published, so that explains the setting in a science research facility. Ultimately, I think the book was too long. There were many passages that did not seem to move the story along in the least. While it may have served the purpose of explaining some motivations for characters actions, it was not necessary in helping to discover the identity of the murderer. The two main characters, Carmine Delmonico and Desdemona Dupre were equally uninteresting and so, seemed well-matched for each other. Still, I did ultimately listen to the whole audio book so there must have been enough happening for me to finish the story. I don't think I can highly recommend it, but I would not discourage any of her fans from giving it a try.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I listened to On, Off by Colleen McCullough on an audio book borrowed from the library. I found myself intrigued by the story and eager to listen every day for more clues to the identity of the brutal killer of a minimum of 14 mixed race girls. The body of a victim is discovered by accident in the refrigeration unit at the Hughlings Center, a research facility. Detective Carmine Delmonico is brought in to discover the murderer. McCullough soon involves Carmine in a romantic entanglement with Desdemona Dupre, who is in a management position at the Hug as the facility is called. I felt this part of the book to be the least interesting, mainly because while Carmine is somewhat intriguing, both characters lack any real appealing characteristics. The eccentric group of suspects are far more interesting. I found that the book took longer to find its way to the end of some scenes than necessary. This caused the action to slow down and made me want to fast forward until I find another action-packed scene. I kept expecting there to be a reason why McCullough set the story in 1965. I never did find one. After some research, I did find that McCullough was a neuroscientist for twenty years before she was published, so that explains the setting in a science research facility. Ultimately, I think the book was too long. There were many passages that did not seem to move the story along in the least. While it may have served the purpose of explaining some motivations for characters actions, it was not necessary in helping to discover the identity of the murderer. The two main characters, Carmine Delmonico and Desdemona Dupre were equally uninteresting and so, seemed well-matched for each other. Still, I did ultimately listen to the whole audio book so there must have been enough happening for me to finish the story. I don't think I can highly recommend it, but I would not discourage any of her fans from giving it a try.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
On, Off is the first novel of Colleen McCullough's that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much. The book was interesting from start to finish, with plenty of suspense and romance to keep me captivated. The one dificulty I had when reading On, Off was keeping all the characters and their respective stories straight. There were the Hug scientists, their wives and families, the Parson family, the police force, the murdered young girls......there were a lot of people. The number of characters might have contributed to the sometimes less than fantastic character development. However, over all most of the characters were intrigueing. My favorite part of On, Off was the last few pages. All my lingering questions were answered, and in a way I would never have suspected. I'm a big fan of the final ending twist, and this book did not disappoint. All in all, I was very satisfied with this book and I look forward to reading more from Colleen McCullough.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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