cover image The Breakers

The Breakers

Marcia Muller. Grand Central, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3893-5

In MWA Grand Master Muller’s underwhelming 35th novel featuring San Francisco PI Sharon McCone (after 2017’s The Color of Fear), McCone is dismayed to learn that 23-year-old Chelle Curley, a daughter of friends who restores old buildings, has disappeared from the Breakers, a former nightclub that Chelle was renovating to turn into a service center for disabled veterans. Interviews with Chelle’s friends lead nowhere, but McCone is intrigued that the nook where Chelle was camping out in the Breakers was next to a wall covered with news clippings about killers such as Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson. The case gets even weirder when Zack Kaplan, one of the building’s tenant’s acquaintances, asks McCone to come over right away; disturbingly, Zack is nowhere to be found, but the PI finds a note in Chelle’s handwriting, stating, “I’ve got a right to disappear.” Developments in McCone’s personal life don’t add much, and the solution will strike some as so improbable as to undercut the notion that her investigative work is realistic. Muller has done better. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary. (Aug.)