No Stone Unturned
Review: Twenty-something rookie reporter Ellie Stone is determined to take the lead in writing the story surrounding the death of the daughter of Judge Harrison Shaw in No Stone Unturned, the second mystery in this series by James W. Ziskin.
Jordan Shaw's naked body was found in the woods, far from the nearest road. Hearing the police report on her car scanner, she's on the scene quickly … and the only one with a camera. The police enlist her to take photographs of the body and surrounding area, and insist she turn over all copies to them when developed. She agrees, and even walks the likely route the killer must have taken when he — and certainly it must be a "he" — moved the body to its present location. Two clues intrigue her: a gash in Jordan's body, apparently done post-mortem, where something was sliced off; and an oil stain she later finds outside the motel where Jordan apparently spent the night, an isosceles triangle of spots, something she believes is as unique to a car as a fingerprint is to a human.
No Stone Unturned is set in upstate New York in the mid-1960s. There is a strong sense of time and place in the narrative, but mostly in support of Ellie Stone, who is out to prove she's just as good as — and probably better than — any man in getting the story. And that's basically how the plot unfolds. She's relentless in asking questions of anyone who will speak to her, with some taking offense that she isn't respecting the social status of the dead woman, who clearly wasn't "that kind of girl". And yet she was, and Ellie knows it. Structurally, there isn't anything surprising with the plot — Ellie pokes around stirring up trouble, puts herself in danger, then solves the crime by piecing together the clues and confronting the killer — and it's a little disappointing how ineffective the police seem to be in investigating this crime, relying it seems almost entirely on evidence that Ellie gathers for them, but the pace is nearly perfect, there are plenty of credibly developed suspects, and there are enough twists and turns in the path Ellie takes to keep it all interesting for the reader.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided a copy of No Stone Unturned for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Heart of Stone
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), June 2016
ISBN-13: 9781633881839; ISBN-10: 1633881830
Location(s) referenced in No Stone Unturned: Upstate New York
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No Stone Unturned by James W. Ziskin — An Ellie Stone Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 2014
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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