Cape Perdido Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
MWA Grand Master Muller delivers a relatively routine stand-alone, a murder mystery with an environmental veneer, which falls short of the quality of her acclaimed Sharon McCone series (The Dangerous Hour, etc.). When a greedy North Carolina corporation seeks to harvest water from a quiet California lumber town—the Cape Perdido of the title—Jessie Domingo, a public and community relations consultant, and Fitch Collier, an arrogant and difficult attorney who specializes in water rights, team up to help the community fight the interloper. The conflict between the townspeople and the company rapidly escalates after a sniper takes a shot at one of the huge bags to be used to transport the water. The lingering shadow from a decades-old unsolved murder connected to many of the local players in the dispute complicates Domingo's work and leads to even more violence. Less than compelling characters and a pat ending mark this as an uncharacteristic lapse for Muller, who hopefully will return to form with her next book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Like Cyanide Wells (2003), this stand-alone mystery from the creator of the popular Sharon McCone series draws much of its appeal from its rustic, beautiful Northern California setting. A small tourist community, dependent on fishing and boating, is under siege. A -water-exporting company has petitioned the state for rights to literally bag the water from the Perdido River and haul it to drought-plagued communities in the southern part of the state. Tempers are hot, and seasoned environmentalists have stepped in to help the locals fight the commercial interlopers. Suddenly events spin out of control, and two activists disappear. Using the alternating perspective of four characters, Muller teases out the relationship between the present-day struggle and a terrible secret from the past. There is little here in terms of tone, style, and atmosphere that will seem new to Muller's regular readers, but the carefully measured plot revelations, which gradually expose the ways in which past and present are entwined, prove more than enough to keep both longtime fans and newcomers spellbound to the finish. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I never really engaged with anyone in the book, either positively or negatively, but the plotting and writing were fairly good.
The story involves a conflict in Northern California over water rights to a river. A megacorporation is trying to get permission to pump the river water into a very large bag and tow the bag to southern California, which needs water. The locals think syphoning off the water will ruin the environment, not to mention the tourist trade on which their economy depends. I kept waiting for someone to get killed, chapter after chapter, so I'd get to the usual murder mystery, but it's not that kind of book (although there is a murder in it).
It's the 11th hour and New York consultants have been brought in to organize a defense by building on the local resistance efforts. But the consultants don't seem to be on the same page. The local resisters are also in conflict with one another. What they have in common is a disregard for Timothy McNear who is facilitating the water grab . . . after having shut down the town's mill just a few years earlier. But McNear and several of the resisters seem to have a hidden mystery in common. What are they hiding?
As the story evolves, you will find yourself puzzled by what's going on and why . . . but not any more puzzled than any of several of the characters are. Ms. Muller provides a variety of narrators and points of view to show just how confusing the situation really is. She holds the key back until right before the end . . . in a telltale clue that suddenly ties all the ribbons together.
For me, the book worked quite well as a story and as a mystery. My main complaint against the book was that I didn't find myself feeling very sympathetic to any of the characters until near the end. Without that sympathetic connection, the plot details remained details . . . rather than a compelling story that required resolution for the "good" guys and gals.
You would think that a story about a corporation wanting to steal water rights would create automatic sympathy towards those who would lose benefits from having the water. It probably says more about how unsympathetic these characters are to say that such opposition didn't automatically make the potential "victims" attractive.
I am a fan of the Sharon McCone novels but find that Ms. Muller has painted herself into a story line that involves too many characters to be easy to enjoy. I'm sure she relishes operating with more freedom, and I think she used that unaccustomed freedom well in Cape Perdido. If she had created some more sympathetic characters, I would have delighted in the book.