cover image Locked In

Locked In

Marcia Muller, . . Grand Central, $24.99 (281pp) ISBN 978-0-446-58105-9

Bestseller Muller's harrowing 27th mystery to feature San Francisco PI Sharon McCone (after 2008's Burn Out ) opens with a bang: returning to her office late one night, McCone is shot while interrupting a burglary. When she wakes up in the hospital, McCone is fully conscious but “locked in.” Paralyzed, she can communicate only by blinking her eyes. Muller articulates this chilling conceit with painful realism, even citing the popular French memoir about the locked-in syndrome, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly . Narrative duty falls on McCone's motley crew of co-workers and other series regulars like her husband, Hy Ripinsky. Each chapter, told from a different perspective, provides another clue in a convoluted case that includes multiple murders, a sex scandal in city government and the inevitable coverup. While this approach can be hard to follow at times, it provides Muller ample opportunity to showcase her strength at characterization. (Oct.)