cover image A Wild and Lonely Place

A Wild and Lonely Place

Marcia Muller. Mysterious Press, $19.95 (386pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-526-7

Flying solo, swimming in the dark and losing her heart to a nine-year-old girl, the nearly-40 Sharon McCone tests her strength and her principles in this action-packed, affecting 16th adventure (after Till the Butchers Cut Him Down). A series of bombings at embassies, consulates and U.N. delegation offices in the U.S. over the last five years is the work of someone the feds and the San Francisco police call the Diplo-bomber. A $1-million reward has been offered, and Sharon signs on with the slick security office of RKI, where her boyfriend Hy Ripinski is loosely connected, to investigate. Recently targeted is the local consulate of Azad, a small Arab emirate; during an interview with the woman consul general, Sharon meets her granddaughter Habiba, whose isolated loneliness reminds Sharon of her own childhood. Unmet is Habiba's father, who disappeared years before, apparently after getting in gambling trouble. More bombings, a murder and a kidnapping lead Sharon to a small Caribbean island, a dramatic late-night rescue and then a desperate flight from Miami to California as she tries to stay a step ahead of the kidnappers. The Diplo-bomber case promises more violence and, not incidentally, craters the career of a policewoman friend before its resolution. A mellow, engaging and determined Sharon here heads a diverse and intriguing supporting cast, notably members of the family that once owned the island. Major ad/promo. (Aug.)