Date: August 2003
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1, Review 2
Kristin Johnson will release
her second book, Christmas Cookies Are For Giving,
co-written with Mimi Cummins, in September 2003. Her third
book, Ordinary Miracles: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic
and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L.
Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.
Marcia Muller is the author of Point
Deception and the series starring PI Sharon McCone.
is a remarkable novel in which greed, corruption, hate and murder
take a back seat to the true lives and the complexities of people
who enter into troubled relationships.
fourteen years, Matthew Lindstrom, accused in the beginning of the
book in the disappearance and possible murder of his wife Gwen,
receives an anonymous phone call in British Columbia, where he's
been running a fishing business and ignoring the photography career
he once loved.
trail in Soledad County, California, he takes up the camera once
again as a photographer under an assumed name for the SOLEDAD SPECTRUM,
a Pulitzer-Prize-winning newspaper run by hard-nosed former "lesbian
prom queen" and former social outcast Carly McGuire, in the
city of Cyanide Wells, an apt metaphor for the poison that infects
Matt and Carly's lives. That poison takes shape in Carly's life-mate
Ardis Coleman, or more accurately, Gwen Lindstrom, whose lesbian
nature presumably led her to run from Matt after he pressured her
to have children. The irony: Ardis has supposedly given birth to
a daughter, Natalie, after an affair that betrayed Carly, who, interestingly,
chooses in Ardis a partner not unlike her own insane, power-hungry,
typical of the film noir-ish femme fatale Ardis/Gwen, even Natalie's
existence is not what it seems. Neither are the murders of Carly
and Ardis' gay friends, Ronnie Talbot and Deke Rutherford, whose
deaths, on the surface, seem like hate crimes mixed with extortion.
and eventually respecting each other, Matt and Carly track down
and confront Ardis, who has absconded with Natalie. They come to
face the truth about Ardis' betrayal in the novel's astonishing
conclusion, which we arrive at as Muller peels away the layers of
the onion to give us a tale of complexity, subtlety and depth.
ending does make us feel as if Carly has taken over. Matthew deserves
a final section, coming home to British Columbia and letting go
of his past. One wonders if he might, after all, return to Cyanide
Wells to visit Carly, now that the cyanide has been cleansed from
his own life.