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Point Deception

(Cape Perdido #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  742 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The body of an woman washes up near Point Deception, California--a day after she was spotted near her broken-down car on the highway. Deputy Sheriff Rhoda Swift worries the woman's brutal rape and murder will resurrect fears from the unsolved massacre of two families 13 years before. When Rhoda investigates with journalist Guy Newberry, a shocking truth will test how far ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Grand Central Publishing (first published July 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  742 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Thirteen years ago this dreary little town on the coast of northern California was home to a mass murder where two families with their children, and friends died. The town has never recovered and a dark cloud has settled. Rho Swift was a rookie Sheriff's Deputy at the time of the murder, she was first on the scene and can't leave it behind.

The whole town is on edge as the anniversary nears. Then a new murder shatters the uneasy peace and gets things get explosive as more people die. Rho is now a
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Turns out this one is a standalone. Will address later.
Kat Walter
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
First in new series. Like this better than the Sharon McCone mysteries by this author.
Bob Harris
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Not my favorite book by Muller and probably the last I'll read by her.
aPriL does feral sometimes
An emotionally complex character-driven mystery. Sheriff's deputy Rhoda Swift's territory is Northern California along the coast and the communities she patrols are spread out and thinly populated. Summer tourists and rich people who own summer homes are all that is keeping the few open businesses going. A massacre of two families that took place near Point Deception thirteen years previously has seriously poisoned the spirit of the year-around locals as well, so they have nothing to fight the ...more
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: one-night-stands
This one was fun. In the front of the book is a map of "Soledad County" which sits on the Northern California coast between Humboldt and Mendocino. At the north end of the County there is Oilville, obviously Petrolia, at the south end is Westhaven, the coast road is 1 and over on the inland side winds Highway 101, through the redwoods. A few familiar names like Castle Rock and Eel River, and there you have the setting.

Muller does a great job evoking the North Coast folks, including the dope
Barry Martin Vass
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent stand-alone mystery by the award-winning author of the Sharon McCone private-eye novels set in San Francisco. In the remote, Northern California coastal community of Point Deception (so named because in the late 1800's smugglers and bootleggers used to put lanterns on the long spit of land to deceive the local authorities while they unloaded their cargo in a prearranged isolated cove), a young woman, a complete stranger, is found murdered, her body washing up on shore. And ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are several reasons I read Muller's books. First is that she writes intriguing characters and mysteries. Second, most are placed in and around San Francisco, which I'm familiar with. This book isn't part of the Sharon McCone series, and it's too bad that it will get lost in the reviews of Muller's books, because, in someways, I think it's even better. The location is on the California coast north of SF--Muller's fictional place, but being familiar with that area, I have a mental image of ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
This non McCone mystery got off to a bit of a slow start for me. I wondered whether this was because it isn't part of the long running McCone series and therefore possibly different from what I was subconciously expecting but I've also read (ok, devoured) all Muller's other books that I could get my hands on including those featuring Elena Oliverez and Joanna Stark so I am aware that Muller can write other stuff too. I think it's the billing as a "thriller" that had set me thinking down the ...more
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
In a brand new series from Marcia Muller, she told us a cryptic tale in Point Deception, the first book in the Point Deception trilogy series. In this mystery, we were introduced to Rhoda Swift, the local deputy in this fictional Sonoma County town. She was haunted by the thirteen-year-old murders of two families that haven't been solved. On the anniversary, she believed the anniversary had created a new crime spree, when a local woman's dead body turned up on the shores of Point Deception. For ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
The main appeal is largely at the closure. The original murders have been used as a cultivation point and minstrel to one unlikely melody at the brief closure. Bait. Further enmeshed in many unnatural conversations. The upbeat use of slang may try to appeal to a YA audience at a very sickening precedence. Some colloquials are so conventional they do the author some discredit, but the ending was perfect. The book outlines some achievements at the back but my considerations towards the author ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoy Marcia Muller very much. However, this Point Deception #1, Cape Perdido Series is a difficult read. I could have been a distracted reader or it could have been a Community's despair that permeated the entire novel. Either way, the story is a sad one. Thirteen years ago, this Community experienced some horrifying murders. They have never really recovered. Now, this beaten down community has to deal with more death. As the investigation progresses, it appears some community members have ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked this one, not sure I will hunt down the author again though. The interaction between Rhoda and Guy was nice, their l'love potential' was not slammed over your head. I liked the flashbacks to Chrystal's findings. It really helped you learn more. I did not like some of the climax on who did what. But it was interesting to figure out how the current mysteries tied to the massacre 13 years prior.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I honestly didn't give the slightest care about any of the characters until I was over halfway done with this book. I kept reading until that point mostly out of stubbornness and a need to unravel the plot. That being said, I don't regret sticking it out. The plot was intricate, the ending was reasonably satisfying, and the characters turned out to have some depth after all, even if they still weren't exactly interesting.
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought this had a good plot with some twists and turns but the characters seemed so depressing. I actually read the 2nd book out of order years ago but don't really remember it. It might be worth rereading them in order. However I don't think the main characters are prominent (if they are in it at all) but I believe it takes place in the same area.
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Something terrible happend in Cascada Canyon 13 years ago and Deputy Rhoda Swift was there. People in Soledad County don't talk about it much including Rhoda but that is about to change. Plagued by what happened and aided by a journalist Guy Newberry, she sets out to solve that unsolved crime as well as the resent rash of mysterious deaths. What will they find?
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
It's like an episode of CSI-paperback-novel. Solid murder mystery albeit somewhat predictable. It's an easy vacation read and did keep me on the edge of my seat. The best part was how Muller changed perspective between the main characters.
Tom Schulte
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Great, nearly breathless tale of the vertices of a lovers' triangle" Reed, Louise Bryant, and Eugene O'Neill. Then, that triangle and the two key pieces of Louise and Reed land in the Communist Revolution and both die young, painfully and tragically for it.
Jul 28, 2008 rated it liked it
My mom has read lots of books by Marcia Muller and her husband, Bill Pronzini. I have read some of them, and they are always entertaining. This one was about mysterious happenings along the Northern Calilfornia coastline. I liked it!
Julie Carter
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, and felt like it was a good mystery. I liked the way that Chrystina's story was woven in with the investigation. I am about to start "Cyanide Wells", and hope it is as enjoyable as this one was.
Steve Clark
Who knew Northern California was so violent? This book had an exceptionally high body count for a murder mystery. I liked the two main characters, an investigative reporter from New York City and the local woman who is a sheriff's deputy haunted by memories of a case she failed to solve.
Andy Plonka
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: src
It has been a while since I read a book by this author. This book, a new series, I think, is excellent, so I have some catching up to do.
Oct 14, 2007 rated it liked it
This isn't part of any of her other series. Not bad. Not as good as the earlier McCone books, but better than the last 10 years' paint-by-numbers ones.
Paul Littrell
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I registered a book at!
Apr 06, 2014 added it
Love Sharon McCone and her colleagues. This author never disappoints.
California Deputy Sheriff Rhoda Swift and New York author and journalist Guy Newberry work together to solve 3 murders which lead to the answers of a 13 yr old massacre in the same town
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Good mystery using flashbacks to tell the story of a young woman trying to find her past and a town trying to forget some horrific murders of 13 years prior.
Debra Morris
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great mystery; the characters were well developed and the plot was well constructed. I liked the small town atmosphere that the author created.
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved that there were lots of suspects! I rated this very high.
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A native of the Detroit area, Marcia Muller grew up in a house full of books and self-published three copies of her first novel at age twelve, a tale about her dog complete with primitive illustrations. The "reviews" were generally positive.

In the early 1970s, having moved to California, Muller found herself unemployable and began experimenting with mystery novels.

In the ensuing thirty-some years,

Other books in the series

Cape Perdido (3 books)
  • Cyanide Wells (Cape Perdido, #2)
  • Cape Perdido (Cape Perdido, #3)

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