RogerBW's Blog

The Broken Promise Land, Marcia Muller 16 January 2020

1996 mystery, sixteenth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's brother-in-law, country music star Ricky Savage, has a stalker who may be turning nasty, just as his personal life is falling apart.

Which seems as though it's going to be more thriller than mystery, though the obvious easy assumption about who's responsible is (since we know we're reading a mystery) rather too obvious and taken too readily as true. But there are many other things going on here too, including various personal fights that are basically resolved when the parties involved stop indulging themselves by screaming at each other and start acting like grown-ups instead – which is good, but without the detail that comes from real people it feels facile.

The research on the music industry and on concert security sometimes shows through a little obviously, but it's plausibly convincing, which is what one wants in a book like this. The personal side of things probably wouldn't work unless one had read at least some of the prior books to build up emotional capital; it relies on one caring about these people and wanting the best for them.

After the previous book's international shenanigans, this feels closer to home in spite of the glamorous background. There are appropriately bad people, and more important appropriately mixed people, even if the revelation of the primary villain feels as though it lacks foreshadowing. Most significantly in terms of the plot, I couldn't help noticing that va fcvgr bs gur orfg rssbegf bs gur tbbq thlf, gur ivyynva npuvrirf rknpgyl jung gurl frg bhg gb npuvrir, juvpu znxrf bhe urebrf ybbx varssrpghny va fcvgr bs fbzr irel vaibyivat qrgrpgvir jbex.

Still, I'm continuing to enjoy this series, six years after I started reading them (and nearly twenty years later in publication history).

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Previous in series: A Wild and Lonely Place | Series: Sharon McCone | Next in series: Both Ends of the Night

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