On, Off by Colleen McCullough

‘I don’t suspect anyone, and that’s my worst worry. I should suspect someone. So why don’t I? What I do have is a sense that I’m missing something right under my nose…’

It is 1965 and at a prestigious medical research facility in Connecticut, familiarly known as the ‘Hug’, a chilling discovery is made – the dismembered remains of a teenage girl, stored in a refrigerator with dead laboratory animals. Lieutenant Carmine Delmonico is put in charge of the investigation and soon begins to suspect that this victim is just the latest in a string of horrifying disappearances.

With the Hug in turmoil and every member of staff seemingly with something to hide, Delmonico comes up against dead ends with each new path his investigation takes. The killer seems always two steps ahead of him. As more teenagers disappear, it is a race against time for Delmonico and his team.

As a thriller, On,Off is new territory for master storyteller Colleen McCullough, but draws on old ground for her – McCullough was a neuroscientist for twenty years before she was published, hence the use of a neurological research facility as the centre point for much of the action. The storyline is chilling yet absorbing, and woven in such a way that the reader is kept guessing right to the end.


On,Off, by Colleen McCullough
Harper Collins, 2005