Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Worst Nightmare

Anyone who knows me knows that there are many things I like to do, but none so much as talk.  I love to talk about everything to everyone pretty much all the time.  Politics, religion, sex, the weather-there are no taboo topics for me.  That's why reading Marcia Muller's latest Sharon McCone novel, Locked In, gave me literal nightmares.  Muller's heroine, the San Fransisco P.I. Sharon McCone, goes back to her Pier 24 1/2 office one night to pick up the cell phone she left on her desk.  While there, she interrupts something nefarious, and is shot.  The bullet fragments lodged in her brain cause a rare condition called "locked in syndrome", a condition that leaves the victim fully aware, able to think and feel, but without the ability to speak or move.  Hence the nightmares.

What follows is an intricately crafted mystery in which all of the members of her P.I. firm, as well as her husband Hy try to figure out who was responsible.  As they start going over their firm's cases, looking for anything that might point in the direction of her attacker, each one finds a case that could be the link.  As they start working their individual leads, they come to realize that what they had thought were unconnected cases are actually part of something larger and more sinister.

Muller is one of my favorites.  Her characters are always interesting, and are only predictable in their loyalty to her main character, Shar.  Each one brings something different to the firm, and this novel really shows how their individual characteristics make up the well-oiled machine that is the firm-and that are Muller's novels.  If you haven't read Muller before, I recommend starting at the beginning, as there is a lot of backstory that is not critical to understanding the plot, but makes it all more gripping.  But if you are a fan from way back (like me) run, don't walk, to your nearest library or bookstore.  A very entertaining day or two awaits you in San Fransisco!

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