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The Shape of Dread Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0445409169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0445409163
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,473,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this extraordinarily complex, gripping novel, Muller surpasses the previous stories of Sharon McCone, San Francisco-based private eye. Sharon relates details in the case that takes her to meet Bobby Fisher in San Quentin where he's doomed to the gas chamber for the murder of Tracy Kostakos, a popular comic. Hoping to save Bobby, the investigator questions the owners of the Club Comedie, Jay Larkey and his partner, Rob Soriano, Soriano's wife and everyone else who had known Tracy, including her parents, fiance and roommate. The consensus is that the witty monologuist paradoxically lacked a sense of humor but had created hilarious routines by cruelly parodying people close to her. Digging deeper into the said already, ok? entertainer's past, Sharon unearths evidence that she may pay for with her own life. Evoking the atmosphere of San Francisco's special places, Muller makes one feel particularly the "shape of dread" on death row and provokes thought on the finality of capital punishment.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Marcia Muller is the author of more than thirty–five novels, including the critically–acclaimed Sharon McCone series. She's been recognized with the 2005 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Private Eye Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, a Ridley Award, an American Mystery Award, and the Anthony Award.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AntiochAndy on August 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many of Ms. Muller's Sharon McCone mysteries. While there is, in my opinion, no danger that she will threaten the position of Arthur Conan Doyal and Agatha Christie at the top of the heap among mystery writers, I am clearly enjoying these stories or I wouldn't have read so many of them. Partly, I suppose, this comes from my familiarity with, and enjoyment of, her characters. McCone and the other denizens of the All Souls Legal Cooperative are, by now, all like old friends. Also, partly, it comes from San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area as the principal setting for the stories. The scenes she descibes are often familiar and, thus, easy to visualize. This applies especially to this book, parts of which are set in the area immediately south of Market Street in an area near where I once worked for several years.
Largely, though, I keep coming back because Muller writes entertaining stories. This one is no exception. In fact, I found this one to be somewhat better than her average story. Some, while still fun to read, aren't too difficult when it comes to putting your finger on the murderer. But in this one there were plenty of twists and turns before the story came to its final conclusion. At times, there was even some doubt about the crime. We have a convicted felon on death row but is catually Tracy dead? Or had she simply chosen to disappear? Or is somebody dead, but not Tracy?
My general rating for Sharon McCone mysteries is four stars in Amazon's system. This one I rate 4+.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on February 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marcia Muller has developed a formulaic approach in presenting the tales of her famous private eye, Sharon McCone. It seems to fit the bill - no deep psychological dramas (Elizabeth George) or alphabet soup (A is for ....), no coroners or little old ladies - just the unflappable McCone going about her business, solving crimes and getting involved in things she never planned.
This is a short read, a good whodunit where past sins have now stepped forward to claim their retribution. Interesting insight into the world of standup comedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on August 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A criminal lawyer at All Souls Legal Cooperative is troubled by a convicted criminal who is on Death Row and has confessed to a murder. The confession is full of holes and the lawyer does not believe that Bobby Foster is really guilty. When he shares his concerns with PI Sharon McCone, she agrees to do some investigating into the situation. She decides that the only way to get Bobby off the hook is to find the person who did commit the murder. The case is two years old and Sharon fears that the trail has grown cold, but she perseveres in her investigation and interviews anyone who had any connection to the victim, Tracy Kostakos. She turns up some disturbing information about Tracy and begins to understand why she was the target for murder. This is a good addition to this series, and continues to develop the characters that Muller's fans have read about in previous books.
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By pettig on May 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been rereading the Mccone series from the beginning. I love to watch the development of the characters, and their histories.
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By A. richardson on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was book nine in the McCone mystery series and the best yet. Muller laid out bread crumbs leading to the murderer, only to snatch away the prize at the last moment. She did this numerous times. When she finally did reveal the murderer it was a total surprise (at least to me). I thought he was way too stupid to have done the deed. The reasoning behind it made sense though.

Muller also spent time in the book delving into the personal dramas of the All Souls employees. It was interesting getting a fuller view of the characters.
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