Cyanide Wells

Marcia Muller

Book - 2003

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MYSTERY/Muller, Marcia
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New York : Mysterious Press c2003.
Physical Description
292 p.
Main Author
Marcia Muller (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A stand-alone story from the author of the Sharon McCone series. Matt Lindstrom leaves the life he has rebuilt in British Columbia to search for his ex-wife, Gwen. After she vanished from their California home, innuendo that he had murdered her ruined him, forcing his relocation. He discovers that she's in a Soledad County town called Cyanide Wells, living with a lesbian lover and an adopted child. When he goes there--For revenge? for solace?--he discovers she has taken off again, this time with the child. He and Carly McGuire, publisher of the county newspaper and Gwen's partner, perform an uneasy dance as they try to bring her back. Gwen has written a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the local murder of a gay couple, and in tracing the clues from it, from a passel of local secrets, and from Gwen's complicated emotional life, Matt and Carly uncover the depths of Gwen's duplicity to both of them. The relationship between these two prickly characters, male and female, straight and gay, is the most intriguing aspect of this somewhat overplotted but entertaining whodunit. There's also a genuinely cool use of the Web site, Librarians Index to the Internet ( ((Reviewed May 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Matthew discovers that his long-missing wife is alive-and living with her lesbian lover, Carly, and their daughter. But when he goes to confront her, she and the daughter have disappeared, and Matthew and Carly become one very unusual team. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In another auspicious departure from her "Sharon McCone" mystery series, Muller once again explores human nature's dark side (including murder and deception) but counterbalanced by the more humane need for closure, redemption, and salvation. When Matt Lindstrom's estranged wife, Gwen, disappears in 1988, suspicion falls on him. Shattered by his Minnesota hometown's ostracisim and the loss of his job, he starts a new life in Port Regis, B.C. Fourteen years later, he receives an anonymous tip that he can find Gwen living as a journalist in Soledad County, CA (the locale of Point Deception), under the name Ardis Coleman. When he arrives in Cyanide Wells to confront her and clear his name, Ardis disappears, leaving Matt and Ardis's lesbian partner, Carly, to follow her path of deception and solve some murders. The development of Carly's character as she works through her emotions and comes to accept the harsh reality of Ardis's deviousness adds a brooding, introspective depth to the novel. Highly recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/03.]-Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Anthony-winner Muller delivers another stand-alone (after 2001's Point Deception) set in northern California's fictional Soledad County that fails to measure up to her bestselling Sharon McCone series (Dead Midnight, etc.). After being unjustly suspected of murdering his missing ex-wife, Gwen, Matthew Lindstrom moved from Minnesota, where he taught college photography, to British Columbia, where he operates an excursion boat. When 14 years later an anonymous phone caller tells him Gwen is living in Cyanide Wells, Calif., as Ardis Coleman, Matt goes there to find her and clear his name. Hired by the local newspaper, which has won a Pulitzer for a series on the murder of a gay couple penned by the erratic Ardis, Matt discovers that his ex-wife is in a lesbian relationship with hot-headed newspaper editor Carly McGuire, with whom she shares a mixed-race daughter. When Ardis and the child vanish, Matt and Carly join forces to track them down. While Muller vividly paints the rugged northern California coast with its decaying towns and abandoned logging and mining areas now giving way to retirement communities, she leaves out her usual complicated characters and plot twists. Matt too easily gets the newspaper job, elicits confidences and uncovers secrets. The villains are pretty obvious, as is the secret behind the gay murders. Muller fans may prefer to wait for another McCone novel. Mystery Guild Main Selection. (July 16) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Learning that his wife, who has been missing for fourteen years, is alive and letting people believe he is responsible for her disappearance, Matthew journeys to California to clear his name, but when she goes missing again under mysterious circumstances, he teams up with her lesbian lover to find her. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Learning that his wife, who has been missing for fourteen years, is alive and letting people believe he is responsible for her disappearance, Matthew journeys to California to clear his name.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A hard, four-hour drive north of San Francisco leads to sparsely populated Soledad County, a combination of spectacular seashore, inland forests, and small towns steeped in gold-mining history. One of those towns is Cyanide Wells, now an artsy community, whose name comes from the miners' use of cyanide to refine ore and the time the area's water supply was tragically poisoned.To Matthew Lindstrom, that sinister legacy is ironically appropriate for the place he finally expects to find his ex-wife, Gwen. Fourteen years earlier, her baffling disappearance branded him a murderer and destroyed his reputation and career as a photographer. Suddenly, after all this time, an annonymous phone caller tells him that Gwen is alive - and well aware of what she has done. Matt comes to Cyanide Wells looking for answers...and revenge.Here, where the surrounding thick forest conceals twisted paths and old sins, Matt works to uncover the details of Gwen's new life. But before he can confront her, his ex vanishes once more. With his future again threatened by suspicion, Matt must join forces with Carly McGuire - a local woman with secrets of her own - and begin a hunt through Soledad's untamed landscape and an interior geography of betrayal and darkness. There perhaps lies the truth about past crimes and Gwen's well as Matt's own.