Review

Stone Kiss

by Faye Kellerman



STONE KISS, Faye Kellerman's latest Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus
mystery, is one of her most interesting, complex and dark novels.
With requisite tension and plot twists as well as her signature
glimpses into Jewish Orthodox and Chasidic communities, Kellerman
has again produced an entertaining and dramatic tale. STONE KISS
stands out among her novels because of the psychological depth and
complexity of one of its characters, Chris Donatti. Readers who
have followed Rina and Peter since their less than romantic first
meeting years ago can expect more of their wonderful partnership in
this novel, although less attention is paid to the immediate
Lazarus/Decker family than in previous works.

STONE KISS begins with a desperate phone call from Peter's half
brother, Rabbi Jonathan Levine. The rabbi's brother in law has been
murdered and his rebellious 15-year-old niece is missing. Peter and
Rina fly to New York to comfort the family and to conduct an
unofficial investigation. Immediately, Peter's intuition, honed by
years in police work, tells him that the family is not divulging
the whole story and that not everyone's grief is genuine: this case
may be more complicated than it first appears. Soon, Peter hooks up
with Officer Micky Novack, who helps him navigate the New York law
enforcement system. But not everyone is being so helpful,
especially not the grieving family, who resist all of his efforts
and most of his suggestions. Frustrated, Peter turns to Chris
Donatti, a mob assassin, pimp, and pornographer, with whom he has a
professional history and a personal connection. Donatti may or may
not be involved with the death of Ephraim Lieber but he soon
becomes overly involved with both Peter and Rina in a frightening
physical and psychological battle. As is typical, Rina's curiosity,
her concern for her husband, and her desire to be helpful get her
involved in the case as well. In Rina's encounters with Donatti,
Kellerman seems to be leaving open the possibility of further
confrontations between the two. As Peter gets closer to solving the
crime, the risk to his and Rina's safety becomes greater. Sibling
rivalries and the ever-present challenges to Peter's identity as an
observant Jew further complicate this case involving drug
smuggling, prostitution, and murder.

Kellerman's prose and dialogue flow naturally, making this a quick
and easy read despite its grim subject matter. STONE KISS is a
perfect read for a day at the beach or a stormy night spent curled
up by the fire. As always, Kellerman has cleverly contrasted the
sacred and the profane and has presented believable characters.
Although Chris Donatti verges on being a stereotypical evil genius,
he still is the most interesting and least predictable character in
the novel. His story is rich and multilayered. Alternately cruel
and sensitive, Donatti soon becomes the focus of the story and
holds fast the reader's attention. Loving family bonds and
murderous family deceptions come together in this exciting page
turner.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 23, 2011

Stone Kiss
by Faye Kellerman

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446530387
  • ISBN-13: 9780446530385