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Cape Perdido    by Marcia Muller order for
Cape Perdido
by Marcia Muller
Order:  USA  Can
Mysterious Press, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

New Yorker Jessie Domingo is a recently hired community liaison specialist at Environmental Consultants Clearinghouse (ECC), headed by Eldon Whitesides. She's sent with water rights attorney Fitch Collier (whom she considers 'an ostentatious, inconsiderate jerk') to a remote part of the northern California coast, where a corporate plan to tow River Perdido water to southern California in giant rubber bags has aroused the community to action. Maine transplant Bernina Tobin leads Friends of the Perdido River in a battle against the water grab by Aqueduct Systems, Inc. (led by CEO Gregory Erickson). She's in an uneasy alliance with Joe Openshaw, a well known environmental activist and author who grew up in Cape Perdido.

Joe was romantically involved with Steph Pace, now owner of the Blue Moon café, but fled the area long since. Town patriarch Timothy McNear owned and ran a lumber mill which was the area's main source of employment. Locals were angry when he closed it down and are even more so now that he's agreed to let the waterbaggers lay pipe across his property. Miss Stephanie was once his grandsons' young nanny till an unsolved murder led to the current conflicts. After sabotage and arson, McNear decides that it's time for the worm to turn, and works to uncover the truth of past events. This leads to even more violence, embroiling past and present players, until a surprising truth is revealed.

An old secret, an environmental disaster in the offing, modern sabotage, kidnapping and murder add up to an exciting read in Marcia Muller's Cape Perdido.

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