Stone Boy: A Nate Rosen Mystery

Ronald Levitsky, Author
Ronald Levitsky, Author Scribner Book Company $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19554-4
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By dispatching his crusading lawyer Nate Rosen deep into Dakota Indian country to defend elderly Saul True Sky, accused of killing a rich businessman, the author all but begs for comparison with master crime writer Tony Hillerman. Unfortunately for Levitsky, Hillerman comes out on top by a mile. Rosen, a representative of the Committee to Defend the Constitution, harbors latent guilt over a teenage daughter forsaken after his divorce--and about his Judaism, which he seems unable either to accept or fully jettison. His client is considered by members of the local Lakota tribe to be a holy man. True Sky also owns a thin strip of land highly valued by the few wealthy locals, who would dearly like to get gambling up and running in lowly Bear Coat, S.D. The murder of which the Indian is accused involves elements of sacred land and artifacts, but the author is unable to sustain the literary higher ground. He soon has Nate surrounded by numerous greedy landgrabbers and equally numerous interchangeable (and inevitably flirtatious) women. Ultimately Levitsky only manages to make us more aware of how long it's been since Hillerman's last novel. (June)
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