Take one cup historical fiction, mix with two cups murder mystery, throw in a healthy portion of a talented writer like Ziskin, and you wind up with a hearty portion of suspense led by well-drawn characters.
Heart of Stone is the kind of book that grabbed my attention from the first page simply by the way this author strung his words together in an imaginative and inspired manner. It’s set in the 1960s at a Jewish retreat in the Adirondacks where Ellie Stone is asked by the chief of police to photograph the bodies of two men who, seemingly accidentally, plummeted to their deaths off of a cliff named Baxter Rock. However, as the story progresses, it’s clear to Ellie that these deaths are anything but accidental. Ellie follows the clues and uses her sharp intellect to determine the truth.
Ellie’s character is further revealed with the addition of childhood friends making appearances throughout the book as well as introducing her Aunt Lena and Cousin Max. Ellie also develops a love interest with Isaac that explores her feelings surrounded by so much of the Cold War era influencing her strengths as an urbane, contemporary female. The warmth and depth of the author’s writing made this a top read for me.
This book is fourth in the Ellie Stone Mysteries series. I hadn’t read the previous books and found that while reading the first three books may give some background on the characters, it is excellent as a standalone copy. I’ll definitely be reading the previous books and any future Ellie Stone books.
Thanks to Seventh Story Press for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 stars
Title: Heart of Stone
Author: James W. Ziskin
Release Date: June 7, 2016