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Burn Out    by Marcia Muller order for
Burn Out
by Marcia Muller
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Private investigator Sharon McCone is suffering a midlife crisis. She almost died during her last investigation. Burned out and depressed, she leaves her investigative agency to run without her and goes to her ranch in the high desert of California. In the quiet serenity of the ranch she hopes she can shake her despondency and find answers to her uncertainty concerning her future.

She isn't any closer to an answer when she drives to the little town of Vernon for supplies and notices a frightened teenager in the parking lot. The next time she sees the girl, she is being ejected from a truck along the highway to Sharon's ranch.

Sharon doesn't want to become involved in a case. She intended to leave all of that behind while she figures out what to do with her life, but the teenager - and her own reluctance to offer her help when she first sees the girl - worries her. She learns that the girl is Amy Perez and her uncle is the caretaker of Sharon's ranch. When she tries to find Amy, she discovers the body of her older sister. Amy is missing.

Muller's complicated plot mixes past and present with complex characters, whose lives are intertwined. A missing teenager and her dead sister lead Sharon to a rape and pregnancy that happened long ago. Burn Out is a most intriguing read for mystery lovers.

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