Sharon McCone, who has never lacked for relatives in a jam, now finds out they may not be her relatives after all. When her dad dies, his last wish is that Sharon sort through his mountain of junk. In one box she finds adoption papers for Baby Girl Smith, with the petition that she be named Sharon! To track down her birth parents, McCone has to revisit a reservation her great-aunt Fenella stopped at 40 years before. The trail leads to laconic Elwood Farmer, who gives McCone a picture of Fenella with three young girls and a young man Elwood declines to identify. McCone, zinging around in the snazzy plane she and lover Hy Ripinsky own, is soon interviewing most of the Shoshones in Montana and winding up in Idaho’s Fort Hall, where Saskia Blackhawk, a Native American activist lawyer who may or may not be her mom, lies comatose in a hospital after a hit-and-run. McCone herself soon runs afoul of the aging DeCarlos, father and son, whose ties to Saskia stretch back years. There’ll be more confrontations, more violence, and, of course, more relatives before the tearful fadeout.
Though Muller's usual shticks—he interior monologue; the lean prose that ends up wobbling; Ripinsky’s inability to address his lover by her first name—are all in place, she does manage to create a native background for her heroine without rehashing Tony Hillerman. But if her family gets any more extended, McCone (While Other People Sleep, 1999, etc.) may soon be earning all her fees from her relatives.