Listen to the Silence Hardcover – Jul 19 2000
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Sharon McCone (A Walk Through the Fire, McCone & Friends, Both Ends of the Night, etc.) is used to solving problems. She's been doing it for over 20 years in Marcia Muller's pioneering and acclaimed series about the San Francisco PI. And thanks to her extended and occasionally dysfunctional family, she's no stranger to the consequences of revealing the occasional skeleton in the closet. But her latest case is both personal and deeply devastating. After her father dies, Sharon discovers documents that have been hidden for her entire life and they launch her on a voyage of self-discovery. Intent on exploring her own past, Sharon travels from a Shoshone Indian reservation in Montana to a ghost town in northern California, and she becomes involved in a larger story of deceit--and murder.
Writing a series means treading delicately on a high wire between repetition and revelation. Having once created a character who will voyage through two or 10 or 10,000 books, an author must decide what facets of the character's life will reappear as touchstones in each book, what items may be left by the wayside, how the past will inform the present, and how the present will indicate the future. With each new novel, the author reaches out to readers who may be comfortably familiar with the series and to readers who may be discovering it for the first time. There is no shortage of mystery writers whose series are immensely rewarding (think Sara Paretsky or Sue Grafton), but it's a difficult balancing act nonetheless. With Listen to the Silence, Marcia Muller seems to stumble slightly, just enough to leave readers wondering whether a safety net is in order. It's as if the burden of the past becomes too heavy for either character or author to support. Sharon seems a trifle flat, and Muller's integration of family and familiarity seems forced and abrupt. A first-time reader would do well to seek out earlier volumes in the series, but confirmed Muller fans will still relish the intensity with which the novel plunges into deeply unsettling territory. --Kelly Flynn
From Publishers Weekly
Boucher Award-winner Muller is back on form (after last year's somewhat disappointing and atypical A Walk Through Fire) in this latest entry in her deservedly popular series featuring PI Sharon McCone. In a personal twist, McCone has to crack one of her toughest cases yet: the mystery of her own life. Her father's death brings McCone not only sadness but the shocking revelation that she was adopted. The search for her birth parents takes her to a Shoshone reservation in Idaho, where an old man named Elwood Farmer offers cryptic advice. Armed with an old photograph in a buffalo-bone frame, McCone tracks down Saskia Blackhawk, the woman she believes to be her birth mother, only to see her put into a coma by a hit-and-run. Saskia, a lawyer, had been battling with Austin DeCarlo, a developer, over Spirit Lake, an area Modoc Indians consider sacred, but DeCarlo considers ripe for a resort. DeCarlo may be McCone's biological father, which would mean that her father may be trying to kill her mother. Meanwhile, professional troublemaker Jimmy D. Bearpaw seems happy to play on either side of the fence as long as he can make life hard for everybody. McCone must sort out the current legal tangles and ask some tough questions if she's to discover what really happened 40 years agoAand facing some important family truths may be harder than confronting a killer. Although Muller gives a long-ago murder curiously short shrift, she delivers an emotion-packed tale that adds new depth to her heroine. Mystery Guild main selection. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In LISTEN TO THE SILENCE, Muller adds fresh twists to McCone's background. Upon the death of her father, McCone discovers why she is the only child in her family who appears to be Shoshone. The reason is simple and obvious. She was adopted by the McCones and her birth family's roots rest on a Native American reservation. McCone's discovery of her adoption launches her on one of her most fascinating investigations. I found this book engrossing, and I was once more amazed at how Marcia Muller manages to add new facets to one of the classic characters in contemporary mystery fiction. I recommend this book highly.
A box of papers left after her father's death reveals her adopted status by the McCones. How this happened and the question of who she is propels Sharon on a search for her roots and identity. Come with her as he confronts relatives who refuse to supply her with any information regarding her birth parents. Feel her frustration as she must listen carefully to what is unsaid as well as to what is said. Most of all share her disappointment in the people whom she loved who failed to disclose the truth to her. Lying was much easier.
Listen to the Silence is a great and enjoyable novel as it explores the meaning of family and the unraveling of secrets long hid from our favorite female investigator. Join with her in this painful yet liberating quest into her past. You will love the various twists, turns and detours that Sharon must undergo before truth shines through. You will not be disappointed in another great Mccone Mystery Series.
I can't tell you very much about the plot without giving away things that will spoil the story for you. So I apologize for not giving you as much detail as I usually do.
Let me talk instead about how the plot is organized. Sharon McCone is off on a search for identity where one clue connects to another. So there is the usual mystery-unraveling aspect to the plot. The complications are above average in their extent, and provide satisfying revelations right up to the end.
As you may know from other Sharon McCone novels, Marcia Muller likes to work with mental dialogue as well as spoken dialogue. In this case, the internal dialogue is about listening for what people don't say, when they hesitate, or change the subject. From this interesting technique, you will probably become a better listener. Like most of us, Sharon McCone lets most of this information pass her by the first time she hears it. But upon further reflection, she sees missing elements. And then profitably focuses her attention on those. By this method, most of the plot is unraveled.
But the development of what a family is makes this a remarkable mystery.Read more ›
The book is good, but as an adopted person myself, who has chosen not to look for "birth" parents because I suspect it would be too hard for my mother to accept, I think adopted children should be told from the get go that they were chosen and then get on with the daily part of living.
Anyway, read the book it is very well done.
Most recent customer reviews
This was my first Muller book and I selected it because of the American Indian influence. Not sure how I'd like her others, but I wasn't disappointed in this. Read morePublished on April 3 2004 by Born to Read
Marcia Muller writes like somebody who has just accomplished a 3 week seminar on how to become a "bestselling author". Read morePublished on March 28 2004 by shuwa
When Sharon McCone's father dies, he leaves a request that Sharon be the one to go through his papers. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002 by Karen Potts
"Listen to the Silence" is the 21st Sharon McCone novel by Marcia Muller. I think that this novel is one of the best, if not the very best, of this long-running series. Read morePublished on July 7 2002 by Ricky N.
Sharon McCone doesn't just look like a Shoshone. She is one. Throughout this highly successful mystery series, Marcia Muller has run this continuing tread of her private... Read morePublished on Dec 12 2001 by Edna H
Sharon always knew that she was part Shoshone, growing up. She took a funny pride in realizing how much she looked like her Shoshone great-grandmother rather than the rest of the... Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2001 by frumiousb
I just finished reading this book and it was great. I was hooked by the 3rd page. Sharon found out she was adopted after her father dies and she sets out to find out who she really... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2001
For a while, I was reminded of Yvette Melanson's true story "Looking for Lost Bird" and maybe that's where Marcia Muller got her inspiration for this fork in the Sharon McCone... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2001 by TundraBee
Private Detective Sharon McCone takes herself as a client when she learns she's adopted and determines to track down her birth family. Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2000 by booksforabuck