Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BURN OUT by Marcia Muller


by Marcia Muller

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-446-58107-3
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Sharon McCone fights depression.

Nine months after escaping death by a mere five seconds (The Ever-Running Man, 2007, etc.), San Francisco private eye Sharon McCone retreats to the ranch her husband Hy Ripinsky owns in the high Sierras and contemplates closing her agency. A glimmer of her usual peskiness shows through when she spies Boz Sheppard tossing Amy Perez, the ranch manager’s niece, out of his pickup shortly before Amy disappears. Offering to help look for her, McCone wanders into a series of Perez tragedies. Amy’s older sister Hayley, who decamped for Vegas years ago and became a hooker, secretly returns, makes a will leaving major money to Amy and is shot dead in a trailer park. Amy’s mom Miri, a bellicose drunk/slut who’d been shunned by her family after a rape when she was a teen, also disappears and dies violently. An old beau of Hayley’s is shot in the back and left to rot in the desert. Bud Smith, a registered sex offender who may have taken the rap for a relative, is also killed. Tracking down people and alibis via the “moccasin telegraph,” McCone sorts through the family’s Paiute heritage, but it will take some serious piloting to get her out of a jam and bounce her back to normalcy.

A bit more self-deprecating humor than usual from McCone and a crisply woven plot. For those readers tired of the McCone-Ripinsky romance, there’s much ado about a burgeoning relationship between McCone and a snickering horse.