cover image The Broken Promise Land: A Sharon McCone Mystery

The Broken Promise Land: A Sharon McCone Mystery

Marcia Muller, Marica Muller. Mysterious Press, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-621-9

Muller surpasses herself with this vigorous and trenchant mystery thriller, exploring stardom and family life, ambition and revenge, loneliness and conflicting loyalties. In her 17th appearance (after A Wild and Lonely Place and Wolf in the Shadows), the continuously evolving San Francisco PI Sharon McCone, now the head of her own small firm, learns from her brother-in-law, country music megastar Ricky Savage, of increasingly incoherent anonymous notes being sent to his unlisted address, all asking the same question: ""Whatever happened to my song?"" Agreeing to investigate, Sharon is propelled into both the twisted, oversized world of celebrity and the more intimate devastation occurring within her sister Charlene's family. At the Savage mansion in San Diego hills, Sharon and her lover, security specialist Hy Ripinsky, find the family in turmoil, with Ricky and Charlene, who has found someone new, on the verge of divorce. As the threats escalate to include the six Savage children, safeguards are breached and Ricky's manager is injured in a shooting. With Ricky's major tour approaching, Sharon links the notes to an aspiring singer with whom Ricky had a one-night stand in Texas years before, a woman who pursued him so relentlessly he sent two of his band members, now deceased, to rough her up. While Sharon's associate and friend Rae Kelleher is increasingly involved in tracking down the Texas singer-and with Ricky-Sharon wonders if she and Hy might also be drifting apart. Leading Sharon into the rocky psychological terrain of families, Muller gives her meticulously plotted story, with its absorbing picture of the music industry, a commanding emotional authenticity. Mystery Guild selection. (June)