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'The Man Who Cast Two Shadows,' by...


'The Man Who Cast Two Shadows,' by Carol O'Connell. 278 pages. New York: G.P. Putnam's. $22.95 Here's another variation on the tough heroine with nerves of steel: Kathleen Mallory, NYPD cop, has no nerves.

Mallory is a cop only because her colleagues realize how much safer it is to have her working with them than against them. She operates solo, fast, and far outside the rules.

In this second Mallory book, she takes on an out-of-precinct murder investigation because the victim is wearing a jacket with Mallory's name in it. Mallory, knowing what charity she had given the jacket to, gets half the detective work done before most people realize she's not the victim. Simultaneously, she's free-lancing an investigation of a child with seemingly paranormal powers. The double plots - which seem to be de rigueur these days in murder mysteries - come together a little too amazingly. Nonetheless, the suspense along the way is excruciating. This book offers a cast of psychopaths, simultaneously repulsive and captivating.

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