Review

Coming Back: A Sharon McCone Mystery

by Marcia Muller

With some authors --- typically the best ones --- readers get the sense that these writers are totally immersed in the characters they create and the action they produce. So it is with Marcia Muller, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master. Fans of the Sharon McCone series sense that she is right there, both in the story and enjoying it as well. COMING BACK provides situations and circumstances that once again allow the familiar family of characters to stretch and to grow. From San Francisco private eye Sharon McCone to Ted Smalley, the Grand Poobah of the office staff, all are challenged in numerous ways, and none fails to measure up.

"Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together makes for a heart-pounding adventure. Just the way we like it!"

Following months of rehab after coming out of her locked-in state (in which she experienced almost total paralysis, but was still alert and conscious), it is not only Sharon who needs to readjust to her work life, to her relationships and to the restrictions that prevent her from driving. Her husband, Hy Rapinsky, is torn between being annoyed with Sharon's stubborn insistence that she doesn't need help and his pain in watching her struggle with simple tasks. Adah Joslyn, the Operations Director of McCone Investigations, can't help treating Sharon as a weak link and wonders if she is up to remembering the important testimony she’s scheduled to provide in a huge government corruption case.

With all the players worrying about her, Sharon, never the most tactful member of the cast, is struggling with her emotions and has a tendency to snap at everyone with the least provocation. But the humane side of her nature, the side that led her to work for years at the All Souls Detective Agency --- assisting those who needed but could not afford legal counsel --- cannot help but care about Piper Quinn, a young woman who was in rehab with her and now seems to have disappeared without a trace. Not one to be grounded, Sharon engages a young neighbor to drive her and launches into one of the most intense cases of her career. One that will risk not only her life, but the lives of several of her closest friends and colleagues.

Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together makes for a heart-pounding adventure. Just the way we like it! Before it’s all over, a rogue remnant of an anti-terror group causes mayhem for everyone involved, with Piper and Adah being put in harm’s way because Sharon is still not at the top of her game.

Once again, Marcia Muller uses the technique of short, pithy chapters that keep me saying “just one more” over and over again. In the end, we are certain that Sharon McCone will be at the helm of McCone Investigations once again, and the bad guys better be ready.

Reviewed by Maggie Harding on December 28, 2010

Coming Back: A Sharon McCone Mystery
by Marcia Muller

  • Publication Date: September 27, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446400521
  • ISBN-13: 9780446400527