Locked In by Marcia Muller

Sharon McCone is a highly sucessful private investigator from humble origins who has managed to cobble together a wonderful family, and several loyal and dedicated employees and colleagues who will do just about anything for her.  Sharon is a vibrant member of the community and an investigative professional at the top of her game.

She is also used to being in the middle of it all – involved in every way- so when she is shot and critically injured one night after returning to her office, it is devastating for her to wake up to discover  that she is literally locked into her body, unable to either move or communicate with either the hospital staff or her loved ones.  Never a quitter, Sharon is determined to find a way to make herself heard, recover fully, and find out who is responsible for the shooting that locked her into her body.

I found this to be such a refreshing way to tell a detective/PI story.  Right away the main character is disabled and taken out of the action.  Most of the story is told through the eyes of the investigators she has working with her at the firm, and her husband Hy, a mysterious man with a quick temper and a shady past.  This is the 27th book in the series, so as you can imagine all of the players in this one have a long and tangled history with one another, that was a bit difficult for me to follow since I just jumped right into the series with this book.  A further complicating factor were the multiple characters narrating the action of the story in addition to Sharon’s perspective from her hospital bed, however, I had enough information from frequent references to the back stories that I was able to enjoy reading this and keep up with the main relationships.

Sharon is adopted and in touch with both her biological and adoptive families, and I loved the interaction that she had with both sides of her family.  I was particularly touched by the exchanges that she had with her biological father.  The suspense was very intense for me and adding to that was the seriousness of Sharon’s “locked-in” condition.  The prognosis for people living with this is usually only a few short months, and Sharon had several close-calls due to other medical emergencies stemming from the shooting. With so many books in the series I had no idea if this was the way that the author planned to finish it up, so I was on pins and needles to see what would happen.

All of the different investigators chased down leads from their cases to see what, if anything, they had to do with Sharon’s shooting, while Sharon doggedly used her eyes to communicate with her team to catch her shooter.  There were quite a few cases involved, so I don’t know if it was possible to guess the ending or figure out what was going on, but I enjoyed the story and characters enough to want to read some of the others in the series.

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