City of Whispers: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller (Grand Central Publishing, $25.99, 262 pages)
“Mick booted up his Mac and fired off a message to Marco’s address. Then he checked his mail: nothing of importance, but he hadn’t expected there to be.”
The first 190 pages of this mystery novel read like a PowerPoint presentation. Could it be that author Marcia Muller has become ultra-formulaic in this her 29th book of the Sharon McCone series? The short chapters, each emanating from the perspective of several characters (Sharon McCone, Mick Savage and Darcy Blackstone) felt like a rotation among them. If one were to harken back to olden day’s technology, a slide carousel click could almost be heard as the reader turns the page to a new chapter.
The scenes are set in the lovely San Francisco Bay Area which Ms. Muller exploits to keep the reader’s attention. Clearly, her fans are locals who delight in knowing the intimate details of each place sullied by the crimes at hand. This reader was somewhat upset at the gruesome scene set near the site of her granddaughter’s first Halloween outing. It will not be the same when we visit there next year!
Family ties provide the other hook. Detective Sharon McCone’s family is oddly configured and her relationships provide some tension as McCone vacillates between loyalty and confusion with her half-brother Darcy Blackstone’s mental illness and recent disappearance.
This tale is something of an improvement over Coming Back, which was previously reviewed on this site. That said, it seem to be suitable for a recommendation to faithful followers of Sharon McCone and perhaps a few diehard San Francisco mystery fans.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Here is a link to the earlier review of Coming Back: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller: http://josephsreviews.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/out-of-time/