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Listen to the Silence (Sharon McCone Mysteries) Hardcover – July 19, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Sharon McCone (A Walk Through the Fire, McCone & Friends, Both Ends of the Night, etc.) is used to solving problems. She's been doing it for over 20 years in Marcia Muller's pioneering and acclaimed series about the San Francisco PI. And thanks to her extended and occasionally dysfunctional family, she's no stranger to the consequences of revealing the occasional skeleton in the closet. But her latest case is both personal and deeply devastating. After her father dies, Sharon discovers documents that have been hidden for her entire life and they launch her on a voyage of self-discovery. Intent on exploring her own past, Sharon travels from a Shoshone Indian reservation in Montana to a ghost town in northern California, and she becomes involved in a larger story of deceit--and murder.

Writing a series means treading delicately on a high wire between repetition and revelation. Having once created a character who will voyage through two or 10 or 10,000 books, an author must decide what facets of the character's life will reappear as touchstones in each book, what items may be left by the wayside, how the past will inform the present, and how the present will indicate the future. With each new novel, the author reaches out to readers who may be comfortably familiar with the series and to readers who may be discovering it for the first time. There is no shortage of mystery writers whose series are immensely rewarding (think Sara Paretsky or Sue Grafton), but it's a difficult balancing act nonetheless. With Listen to the Silence, Marcia Muller seems to stumble slightly, just enough to leave readers wondering whether a safety net is in order. It's as if the burden of the past becomes too heavy for either character or author to support. Sharon seems a trifle flat, and Muller's integration of family and familiarity seems forced and abrupt. A first-time reader would do well to seek out earlier volumes in the series, but confirmed Muller fans will still relish the intensity with which the novel plunges into deeply unsettling territory. --Kelly Flynn

From Publishers Weekly

Boucher Award-winner Muller is back on form (after last year's somewhat disappointing and atypical A Walk Through Fire) in this latest entry in her deservedly popular series featuring PI Sharon McCone. In a personal twist, McCone has to crack one of her toughest cases yet: the mystery of her own life. Her father's death brings McCone not only sadness but the shocking revelation that she was adopted. The search for her birth parents takes her to a Shoshone reservation in Idaho, where an old man named Elwood Farmer offers cryptic advice. Armed with an old photograph in a buffalo-bone frame, McCone tracks down Saskia Blackhawk, the woman she believes to be her birth mother, only to see her put into a coma by a hit-and-run. Saskia, a lawyer, had been battling with Austin DeCarlo, a developer, over Spirit Lake, an area Modoc Indians consider sacred, but DeCarlo considers ripe for a resort. DeCarlo may be McCone's biological father, which would mean that her father may be trying to kill her mother. Meanwhile, professional troublemaker Jimmy D. Bearpaw seems happy to play on either side of the fence as long as he can make life hard for everybody. McCone must sort out the current legal tangles and ask some tough questions if she's to discover what really happened 40 years agoAand facing some important family truths may be harder than confronting a killer. Although Muller gives a long-ago murder curiously short shrift, she delivers an emotion-packed tale that adds new depth to her heroine. Mystery Guild main selection. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sharon McCone Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (July 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892966890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892966899
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,640,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MARCIA MULLER has written many novels and short stories. Her novel "Wolf in the Shadows" won the Anthony Boucher Award. The recipient of the Private Eye Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award - their highest accolade - she lives in northern California with her husband, mystery writer Bill Pronzini.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kinsey Millhone on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Readers who have been following Sharon McCone for years, as I have, will no doubt love this chance to find out more about her personal background and history. I stayed up 'til 2 AM reading "Listen to the Silence." Not only is it a splendid mystery, but it's so beautifully written -- Muller describes the landscapes of Montana, Idaho and Northern California so well that I truly felt I'd visited those places! McCone fans won't be disappointed, although the book does end with a cliffhanger that will make us VERY impatient for the next installment...
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This distinguished series has been a favorite of mine for many years, but I found this novel to be the most rewarding to me. In other novels, Sharon McCone's character, wit, and action are stronger . . . but the underlying issues are much less fundamental. Here, she has to look squarely at the question of who she is in the broadest sense. To pull that off after so many novels is quite a feat. I heartily commend and thank Marcia Muller for writing this book.
I can't tell you very much about the plot without giving away things that will spoil the story for you. So I apologize for not giving you as much detail as I usually do.
Let me talk instead about how the plot is organized. Sharon McCone is off on a search for identity where one clue connects to another. So there is the usual mystery-unraveling aspect to the plot. The complications are above average in their extent, and provide satisfying revelations right up to the end.
As you may know from other Sharon McCone novels, Marcia Muller likes to work with mental dialogue as well as spoken dialogue. In this case, the internal dialogue is about listening for what people don't say, when they hesitate, or change the subject. From this interesting technique, you will probably become a better listener. Like most of us, Sharon McCone lets most of this information pass her by the first time she hears it. But upon further reflection, she sees missing elements. And then profitably focuses her attention on those. By this method, most of the plot is unraveled.
But the development of what a family is makes this a remarkable mystery.
Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Reese on July 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marcia Muller's writing has been getting better and better, book by book. This, her latest, however, is a giant leap forward. I couldn't put it down! The dynamic plot moves along quickly, almost seamlessly, through some new and intriguing places. Her fearless Private Investigator, Sharon McCone, is more confident and believable than ever as she leads us to a whole new cast of (very attractive) characters. Fans of McCone will love this book. If you've not read Muller before, start with this one!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Edna H on December 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sharon McCone doesn't just look like a Shoshone. She is one. Throughout this highly successful mystery series, Marcia Muller has run this continuing tread of her private detective possessing the appearance of a Shoshone ancestor. In Listen to the Silence, Muller reveals why. Sharon's father dies, and she discovers in his papers a truth that had been hidden from her all of her life. Seeking more of this truth, Sharon travels to the Shoshone reservation. There, she encounters deeply buried secrets and homicides that need to be solved. This book is my favorite McCone novel. I enjoyed the socio-cultural aspects of the mystery and as well as the plot. Muller's dialog is always first-rate. Listen to the Silence is a fine mystery novel by a terrific mystery author.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When Sharon McCone's father dies, he directs her to sort out his personal papers and effects. While doing this, she discovers her own adoption papers. She never knew she was adopted, and after her rage and confusion subsides a bit, she sets out to discover who she is.
I haven't read one of Muller's books in a long time and had forgotten how engrossing they can be. I started this book in the afternoon and didn't put it down until I finished it late the same night. I recommend this book highly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on September 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sharon always knew that she was part Shoshone, growing up. She took a funny pride in realizing how much she looked like her Shoshone great-grandmother rather than the rest of the siblings in the McCone clan. That pride is seen in a whole new light when her father's death raises questions about her birth. Her exploration of the mystery takes her into the past, looking for the secrets of her heritage.
Yet another well-written renewal for the Sharon McCone series. Muller is perhaps better than any other writer at letting her character really evolve. I look forward to the books that will follow the material here.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
M. Muller has done it again! This eagerly awaited chapter in Sharon McCone's life was read in less than 24 hours. If I reviewed this book more than the above, the content would be given away.
I must say I was disappointed to find out that Sharon McCone was born in 1959 - Edwin of the Iron Shoes was out in 1977 which would have made Sharon 18 years old. This distressed me as I view her as an old friend who has matured along with me over the years!!
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