Marcia Muller is one of the pioneers of contemporary, hard-boiled female serial mystery fiction. Her stoic heroine, Sharon McCone, has grown through 25 years --- from a starry-eyed San Francisco hippy amateur sleuth at the All Souls Legal Cooperative to a high tech, sophisticated detective hot on the trail of dot.com money launderers in her latest adventures in DEAD MIDNIGHT.
We have followed Sharon through many family crises, from a crush on a rock and roll star to the heartrending discovery of her true parentage in LISTEN TO THE SILENCE. She's moved from junker cars to private planes, from hunt and peck typewriters to computers and a cell phone.
Sharon battles yet another family crisis when her 45-year-old brother inexplicably commits suicide. When her mentor and friend, corporate attorney Glen Solomon, asks her to investigate the suicide of a promising young Internet publishing company employee, Sharon balks. Too close to home –-- too close to the bone. Yet circumstances draw her into the hunt, and she and journalist friend J. D. Smith find themselves tracking down a money-laundering scheme deep within the computerized files of an online magazine, Insite. What was going on there to drive Roger Nagasawa to leap from the Golden Gate Bridge? Was it karoshi, a common Japanese form of death from overwork and pressure, or something more sinister?
Muller's strong sense of place guides us through the murky bayside landmarks of San Francisco and Seattle to upscale coffee houses and restaurants, nearly empty of the dot.com venture capitalists fleeing as they watch their empires crumble around their ears. As topical as today's headlines, DEAD MIDNIGHT follows the threads of the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of young millionaires in breakneck pursuit of wealth.
Sharon McCone first appeared in EDWARD OF THE IRON SHOES in 1977, and Muller has averaged almost a book a year, with a back list of 21. Considered by many to be the Queen of women's private eye mysteries, some books stand out where others falter. DEAD MIDNIGHT sets Muller back on track, as McCone continues to do battle with her inner demons while dispatching the bad guys.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on July 1, 2003