I enjoyed reading this book and found the subject matter interesting. I like Marcia Muller books and have been reading her a long time and will continue to do so.
I used to enjoy Marcia Muller books but this last one was so badly written and the main character, McCone, so unlikeable and unsympathetic that I will not read another of this series. Her early work was full of interesting plots, characters, and structure – now it is all about wealth. I thought the plot device of ‘racism’ was cynical and self-serving.
I am not usually a downer when I do reviews, but with this book I am. I saw this featured on an ALD page and decided to try it out as a new author to me. The story line looked really compelling. It still is compelling as it deals with racism, white supremacists, and hate groups. That said, the telling of the story was weak. It was a slog for me to even finish it (but I did). The major problem as I see it was that it starts with a racist, hate crime, then very slowly develops the core story while spending lots of time in distracting side bars - such as several pages on a Christmas shopping spree with details about who got what and why. Too many bunny trails where the real story could have used that space for beefing up the actual plot. There were way too many instances where a chase for clues started with the hand off of a task to a colleague and then ended with a very short telephone call with results only and no information conveyed about how that information was actually unearthed - that would have strengthened the plot greatly. Perhaps this was a one off of poor writing but I doubt I will try another of Muller's books. Sorry about that.
I'm always happy to see a new Marcia Muller mystery and this one does not disappoint, in fact, it's a very timely look at racism and bigotry. Sharon McCone spends the Christmas holidays looking for the group of young men who severely injured her father as he walked down a quiet street one evening.
(Book 33 in the Sharon McCone series)
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