Point Deception

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Thirteen years ago, fictional Soledad County, California, experienced a mass murder that killed two counterculture families, including two children. Deputy Sheriff Rhoda Swift, then a rookie on the force, was first on the crime scene. Overwhelmed by the drama of a bullet-riddled boy who was to die in her arms, she failed to ask him questions that could have revealed his murderer. Compounding her shame, she also took the blame for losing evidence crucial to the solving of the case.

With the murders remaining unsolved, the populace harbors the feeling that a killer may still walk among them. There is a strange reluctance to talk about the experience and people shy away from Cascada Canyon, where it happened. On the brink of the thirteenth anniversary of the massacre, with the body of a young woman surfacing near Point Deception and two other women reported missing, Rhoda Swift worries that there may be another killing spree on her turf.

Complicating matters is the arrival of Guy Newberry, a New York writer known for exposing small town secrets in best-selling novels. The townspeople build a wall of silence and conspiracy against him, but Rhoda finds Guy’s desire to solve the murders matches her own obsession. They also discover they have a lot in common as each is pursued by dark thoughts from the past.

The complex characters and vivid descriptions of Marcia Muller’s beloved California coast, coupled with a tightly woven suspense-filled plot, make Point Deception a novel not to be missed.