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Stalwart heroine Sharon McCone is back in one of the most extraordinary detective stories Marcia Muller, a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, has ever conceived in this long-running series.

About the Author

MARCIA MULLER has written many novels and short stories. Her novel WOLF IN THE SHADOWS won the Anthony Boucher Award. The recipient of the Private Eye Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award.


Bestseller Muller's harrowing 27th mystery to feature San Francisco PI Sharon McCone (after 2008's Burn Out) opens with a bang: returning to her office late one night, McCone is shot while interrupting a burglary. When she wakes up in the hospital, McCone is fully conscious but "locked in." Paralyzed, she can communicate only by blinking her eyes. Muller articulates this chilling conceit with painful realism, even citing the popular French memoir about the locked-in syndrome, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Narrative duty falls on McCone's motley crew of co-workers and other series regulars like her husband, Hy Ripinsky. Each chapter, told from a different perspective, provides another clue in a convoluted case that includes multiple murders, a sex scandal in city government and the inevitable coverup. While this approach can be hard to follow at times, it provides Muller ample opportunity to showcase her strength at characterization. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Returning to her office at night to retrieve her forgotten cell phone, Sharon McCone (Burn Out) is shot by an intruder, the bullet lodging near her brain stem. Totally immobile but fully cognizant, she's diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome and given an uncertain prognosis. Trying to find the assailant, the staff at McCone Investigations reviews current cases, working with McCone's husband, Hy Ripinsky, and with McCone herself, as she communicates with blinks of her eyes. As several cases become intertwined, a portrait of abuse, prostitution, blackmail, and betrayal involving San Francisco city officials is revealed, resulting in multiple murders and suicide. McCone is buoyed by being involved with her agency's work until her condition suddenly worsens and she's whisked into surgery. McCone's interspersed interior dialog about her condition adds depth to what might have been just another complicated case to solve, and while readers won't be surprised at the outcome, they may end up more appreciative of life. Verdict Top-notch mystery and more from one of the genre's Grand Masters.-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"Throughout her many McCone novels, Muller has displayed a knack both for keeping the series fresh and for allowing her character to grow. She accomplishes both goals this time by taking McCone out of the spotlight but giving her fans a chance to root for her to recover. After all these years, Muller's series remains a gold standard for female detective stories." Kirkus, starred review"

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