on August 13, 2002
Sharon McCone is shocked and dismayed when she is summoned in to a meeting of the partners of All Souls' Legal Cooperative where she works. Instead of the reprimand which she expects, Sharon receives the offer of a promotion which would put her behind a desk and away from the action. Although this goes against her grain, Sharon knows she must accept it if she wants to continue to work at All Souls'. At the same time, she discovers that her lover, Hy, has disappeared while on a job for a company called RKI. When she talks to Gage Renshaw at RKI, he tells her that he thinks Hy has double-crossed him and he wants to find him. Sharon offers to do so, thereby getting paid for something she planned to do anyway, and also having a paying job which doesn't involve All Souls'. She travels back and forth between California and Mexico in search of Hy and the answer to a series of unanswered questions. Muller's books in this series become longer as time goes on, and this causes some extra action which becomes a bit distracting to the main plot. However, she still spins a good tale and Sharon McCone remains a very likeable heroine.
on June 21, 2002
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.
on August 13, 2000
It's getting to the point where the ins and outs of life at All Souls Legal Coop is almost as much a part of the story as whatever case PI Sharon McCone is investigating. In this particular installment, McCone faces a career crisis when the "Corporation" wants to promote her to a desk job as administrator over a proposed staff of investigators and paralegals. While wrestling with this dilemma, McCone also tries to track down missing boyfriend Hy Ripinsky, which takes her south to San Diego and across the border into Mexico. Along the way, we once again meet members of McCone's real (biological) family. The story meanders a bit, but a tense climax to the mystery makes the story an entertaining read. The update on life at All Souls makes it a must for fans.
on December 23, 1997
Some people prefer the old days when Sharon was a young, eager, and underpaid investigator for All Souls Legal Cooperative. For me, the changes in McCone's character were not only expected, but in this case, they served to strengthen McCone's integrity and self-sufficiency. With her estrangment from the All Souls "family", McCone has to rely more than ever on her own sense and meticulous detecting skills. It's this greater sense of resolve, as well as the breathlessly paced plot, that make this novel one of the best Muller novels ever.