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Point Deception (2002)

Point Deception (2002)
3.68 of 5 Votes: 3
0446611360 (ISBN13: 9780446611367)
grand central publishing
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Point Deception (2002)
Point Deception (2002)

About book: An emotionally complex character-driven mystery. Sheriff's deputy Rhoda Swift's territory is Northern California along the coast and the communities she patrols are spread out and thinly populated. Summer tourists and rich people who own summer homes are all that is keeping the few open businesses going. A massacre of two families that took place near Point Deception thirteen years previously has seriously poisoned the spirit of the year-around locals as well, so they have nothing to fight the economic downturn. Hard drinking is the main occupation when the residents come home from what work there is, including the cops. Despite the open murder case of the two families, no one wants to talk about it or solve it. Then, a New York journalist, Guy Newberry, comes to town asking questions about the old case. At the same time, the body of a young girl washes up on the beach, a girl everyone had seen standing next to a disabled car with the hood up but all had driven by without stopping, including Swift. As Swift begins her investigation, aware of her dereliction of duty in not stopping to help the girl, she learns many residents drove by without stopping. She becomes aware of the general spiritual rot that has debilitated her county, so she teams up with the handsome Newberry, hoping to finally put closure to the old murder while solving the new one. Could it be they are linked?Swift is not like Muller's other series stars; she has been a benumbed police officer for more than a decade, tainted early in her career by mistakes made at the massacre. She became near alcoholic for years and gave up drinking shortly before Newberry arrives. Her self-confidence and determination are born anew from a decade of somnolence and unacknowledged guilt, but once awakened to her self-imposed numbness, she wants to start being a cure for problems instead of covering it all up. Muller's other heroines become hardened by their exposure to crime through decades of solving mysteries; Swift's progression is quite different by being shell shocked early in her police career.Rhoda Swift seems like an interesting new series character!

This non McCone mystery got off to a bit of a slow start for me. I wondered whether this was because it isn't part of the long running McCone series and therefore possibly different from what I was subconciously expecting but I've also read (ok, devoured) all Muller's other books that I could get my hands on including those featuring Elena Oliverez and Joanna Stark so I am aware that Muller can write other stuff too. I think it's the billing as a "thriller" that had set me thinking down the wrong lines. I'm not quite sure of the technical definition of a thriller but I think of somehting more suspenseful when I think of a thriller. Which is only a complaint about the marketing of this book. I'm finding it to be a very competent mystery full of interesting characters.
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The book was a real page turner, not full of action, but the mystery was well crafted and kept my attention. The characters weren't as well rounded as Sharon and the Gang, but were decent enough for a standalone book.The conclusion was rather anticlimatic and fell flat, especially if you're used to reading Sharon McCone shootouts and I felt the suicide near the end of the book served no purpose except to up the gore factor. Abusive men don't sudden get "conscience" and shoot themselves.
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