Tag Archives: Coming Back


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.


Ruta Arellano

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:  https://josephsreviews.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/out-of-time/


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Out of Time

Coming Back: A Sharon McCone Mystery by Marcia Muller (Grand Central Publishing; $24.99; 304 pages)

In this, the 28th mystery novel featuring San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone, author Marcia Muller explores the collateral damage wrought by McCone’s experience in a conscious vegetative state that resulted from a bullet to her brain.   McCone’s chapters are in the first person and the reader is pulled along as she tries to resolve her need to get back in the action and maintain her relationship with her husband.

This reviewer’s lack of familiarity with the series made it difficult to appreciate just what sort of life McCone is struggling to maintain.   The references to flying her husband’s private airplane, a vintage sports car, multiple homes on acreage and a staff at her beck and call made McCone less than the pitiable victim Muller tries to characterize.

The theme of the book seems to be that interfering in other people’s lives is a rewarding activity.   Since there is no paying client, the reward must be purely emotional.   Although the loosely developed story is set in San Francisco, there are action scenes that take place in Muir Woods, Walnut Creek and along the east side of the Bay.   In each instance, the setting was well known to this reviewer and did not seem the least bit scary.   Maybe that was Muller’s point – scary things can happen in ordinary places.

Perhaps it’s time to retire Sharon McCone to one of her getaway homes?

Quirkly and a bit interesting, but not much more.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.


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