Stone Cold Dead: An Ellie Stone Mystery By James W. Ziskin

May 16, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of this book, along with a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL and indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.

On New Year’s Eve 1960, budding reporter Ellie Stone’s “date” is interrupted by the impulsive plea from a desperate Irene Metzger. Her fourteen year-old daughter, Darlene Hicks, has been missing for two weeks and police have written her off as a runaway. Irene is adamant that Darlene did not run off with an older boy, and after reading about Ellie’s successful endeavors in The Republic, Irene believes that the young reporter is her last hope in finding her daughter.

As much as Ellie tries to portray herself as a hardened and modern woman, she can’t resist the disheartened mother. Irene’s husband, Darlene’s stepfather, is frighteningly intimidating and possibly abusive, while the school officials seem to have already written off the girl for her bad reputation. Ellie’s interactions with Darlene’s rumored boyfriends, who include a promising basketball player, a young soldier, and a juvenile delinquent, are alternately touching and

Despite Ellie’s declarations of being an independent and professional journalist, the personal connections she makes with her subjects are what drives her. In Darleen, Ellie sees a fate that could easily have been her own, compelling her need for justice. It can be painful to observe Ellie’s treatment by a sexist society, and as a reporter she is given very little respect by those who either relegate her to “lady” stories or steal credit altogether. What can’t be overlooked is Ellie’s often very funny narrative as she fights for respect, and retaliates in creative and ingenious methods.

Ultimately, the author succeeds in realistically conveying the impulsive antics of a determined heroine who fights for recognition as well as for justice. Humor blends with tragedy as the story unfolds, but without overwhelming one another with the two tones meshing into one compelling conclusion. In this third of the Ellie Stone mysteries, readers see a woman who has grown confident in her skills as a reporter even as she continues to fight against a society that has yet to fully accept her.

To enter to win a copy of Stone Cold Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Stone,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 23, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL and Mysterious Galaxy:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Ellie sounds like a complex yet determined woman – would like to read.

  2. Former reporter – but never famous as Ellie – and not as adventurous. This sounds like a wonderful book.

  3. Thanks for entering!
    We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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