In Muller's brisk, carefully crafted 28th Sharon McCone mystery, the San Francisco PI, who's recovering from a debilitating bullet wound to the head suffered in 2009's Locked In, becomes alarmed when a close friend, Piper Quinn, abruptly stops coming to their rehab center. When McCone visits Quinn, whose husband was killed in Iraq, she finds her semi-conscious, watched over by a sinister and evasive caregiver. A further visit by Adah Joslyn, McCone's office manager, finds Piper gone and her apartment scrupulously and professionally cleaned. Shortly afterward, Adah herself vanishes. When McCone Investigations' shrewd employees pool their impressive abilities and connections to find the two missing women, early evidence suggests that a malevolent and clandestine intelligence agency might be deeply involved. Each chapter neatly dovetails with the next and each supporting character plays a key small role as the action builds to a gripping conclusion. (Oct.)
Rehab is hard work. Seven months after emerging from Locked-In Syndrome (as recounted in Locked In), Sharon McCone has been laboring to regain speech and motor control, working daily at physical therapy alongside Piper Quinn, victim of a devastating car accident. When Quinn misses days of exercise, McCone is worried enough to track her down, and when all traces of her and her fellow apartment building residents vanish overnight, McCone calls investigator Adah Joslyn for help. But when Joslyn also disappears, McCone realizes that her lack of follow-up has put her colleague in peril. As McCone chafes at being considered "special" and restricted from driving or piloting a plane, she finds her agency up against a ruthless rogue intelligence group, disbanded by the Obama administration but still operating and going after intelligence gathered by Quinn's ex-husband in Iraq. VERDICT What sets this novel far above the standard is Muller's sensitive and poignant description of McCone's struggles to regain her abilities—once again to be the brave and self-sufficient woman her husband Hy Ripinsky fell in love with. (And if Muller seems to preach about the danger of quasi-government and paramilitary organizations, her warnings sound justified.) Seeing Sharon McCone come back is a special pleasure—don't miss it. [Muller is married to mystery author Bill Pronzini, whose latest book, The Hidden, is reviewed below.—Ed.]—Michele Leber, Arlington, VA
Sharon McCone's 28th case.
After a bullet put her out of commission for the better part of a year while she learned to walk and talk and reestablish some semblance of independence, McCone has one more indignity to suffer through: her kith and kin's conviction that she's less than she was before, more prone to mistakes, less proficient as a private eye. When Piper Quinn, who like McCone is climbing back from physical problems, misses five days of rehab, McCone goes looking for her and finds that not only has her apartment been dismantled and repainted, but the neighbors swear she never lived there. McCone calls on Adah Joslyn, from her agency, for assistance. Adah's disappearance sends her into full investigative mode. Using his secret government contacts, McCone's husband, Hy Ripinsky, learns that Piper's ex-husband, supposedly killed in Iraq, did hush-hush work for rogue elements not accountable to Congress. Now the hunt is truly on, with no clear indication who'll surface first: Piper, her ex or Adah. McCone and Ripinsky take helicopters, buses and vintage cars to suspect locations while their employees fiddle with flow charts, telecommunications and legwork. They turn up a few extraneous bodies, but not the ones they're looking for until McCone's expended almost all her limited strength and Ripinsky's been dinged in the shoulder.
Glib and heavy-handed. Muller (Locked In, 2009, etc.) tackles security forces run amok with all the subtlety of a supermarket tabloid.
From the Publisher
"After all these years, Muller's series remains a gold standard for female detective stories."Kirkus, starred review"
Top-notch mystery and more from one of the genre's Grand Masters."Library Journal