We tried previously one of the early Marcia Muller stories (#4) about her San Fran-based private eye Sharon McCone. Having found that 1984 offering a little lackluster, we jumped ahead to Wolf, #14 of 22, written in 1993. To us, a reasonably entertaining plot was spoiled by maneuvers and border hopping and such stuff that all seemed way too dubious unless our leading lady has suddenly become Wonder Woman. Once again, Sharon ignores her paying job at All Souls and sets off on her own, gone for over a week without even calling in. Sight unseen, an international security firm president not only grants McCone an audience but hires her on the spot to help retrieve either the kidnapped executive under their contract, or the absent agent, Hy Rapinsky, who just happens to be Sharon's lover (!), who has the two-million dollar letter of credit ransom to deliver. We won't delve further into the plot, but before it's over, Sharon is running back and forth into Baja Mexico, spying, remembering trick restrooms she hasn't seen in over a decade, shooting at people, and dealing with shady characters left and right, but emerging unscathed at every twist and turn. By the end it was clear that a Power Ranger has nothing on Ms. McCone.
This series must have a faithful following to warrant 22 titles to date, but despite what the dust cover says, Grafton and Paretsky are much better -- their female leads at least seem like regular real women who are just good at what they do. We believe we'll let the other 20 stories go for now.