Sharon McCone, Marcia Muller's street-smart, San Francisco PI, is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of her brother Joey's suicide when she's hired by Roger Nagasawa's parents to prove that their son died of overwork, and that he was driven to kill himself by the brutal, high-pressure atmosphere at Insite, the hip online magazine that employed him. Enlisting the help of her reporter friend J.D., McCone learns that the magazine is failing, despite the millions in venture capital that's supposedly financing it. The mystery deepens when she retrieves deleted files from Roger's computer suggesting that he knew who was sabotaging the magazine and shared that information, which he characterized as "insurance," with Jody Houston, a close friend, before he jumped off the Bay Bridge. Tracking Houston to an isolated cabin on the Oregon coast, McCone stumbles over the dead body of her friend J.D., and then finds herself framed for his murder. By the time she uncovers the truth about Roger's suicide and unmasks J.D.'s killer, she's confronted her remorse over Joey's death and put a painful part of her own past behind her. As usual, Muller turns in a solidly plotted, well-paced mystery with a heroine who grows in self-awareness and complexity with every new adventure. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Muller and her private eye Sharon McCone have come a long way since Edwin of the Iron Shoes (1977), which introduced McCone and inspired a generation of female mystery writers. Since then Muller's writing has become richer and her novels more complex, with many startling changes in the socially conscious San Francisco detective's life. This is Muller's best yet, with a case that parallels a personal tragedy McCone is trying to understand her brother Joey's recent suicide. Roger Nagasawa, scion of a wealthy Japanese-American family, has killed himself. Roger's heartbroken parents plan to sue his employer, a hip online magazine, for wrongful death because of rumored brutal working conditions. As usual in McCone mysteries, greed and corruption lie beneath the surface. First, Jody Houston, Roger's friend to whom he'd revealed illegal financial activities at the magazine, disappears. Then Max Engstrom, Roger's maniacal boss, tells Sharon that someone is sabotaging his business and one of his backers has vanished. More deaths ensue. After McCone retrieves Roger's computer files detailing his discoveries, she's almost killed. Muller deftly uses familiar devices electronic embezzlement and shady real estate deals in a convoluted but provocative plot. Her love of San Francisco is evident from her vivid descriptions of the city and its history. Although her villains are often obvious, she delves deeply into the human psyche for motivation. Readers will be thoroughly satisfied.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.