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Cyanide Wells    by Marcia Muller order for
Cyanide Wells
by Marcia Muller
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Marcia Muller has long been one of my favorite authors. I enjoy her series with PI Sharon McCone very much. Though I was looking forward to more McCone, I guess the author's entitled to write a stand-alone story. I was not disappointed in Cyanide Wells, which is just as engrossing as any one of the author's series episodes.

Matt Linstrom leaves British Columbia, where he fled after his wife disappeared and friends and townspeople alike accused him of her murder. An anonymous tip takes him to the small California town of Cyanide Wells - four hours north of San Francisco. It turns out that his wife's name is now Ardis Coleman and she has carved a new life for herself, one which includes a lesbian lover and a child. The novel delves into that delicate issue of thinking we know someone, who then does something completely out of what we believe to be their character. Matt discovers that the woman he thought he knew never really existed.

Murder, suicide, kidnapping, burglary, dirty land deals, and downright treachery now face Matt. And he was under the impression he was just tracking down an errant wife! Cyanide Wells is told through two viewpoints - Matt's and that of Ardis' lover Carly. The two minds struggle to cover every base and the author carries it off quite well. The book is tightly written, just what the reader would expect from Muller. There are surprises and suspense and the story concludes all too soon. I wanted more, which is just the way a book should end.
Note: This novel will be available in August 2003.

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