cover image Stone Quarry

Stone Quarry

S. J. Rozan, Rozan. St. Martin's Press, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20912-4

Bill Smith's peaceful, upstate New York cabin retreat in Schoharie is a haven for the New York City PI. But in his sixth adventure, following last year's A Bitter Feast, Schoharie proves as dangerous as any city alley, and Smith needs all his toughness and the help of his partner, Lydia Chin, to handle the violence he confronts. Eve Colgate, a reclusive artist, asks Smith to investigate a theft that included six valuable paintings. At the same time, Smith gets involved in the troubles of Jimmy Antonelli, a kid he'd helped before, and Jimmy's older brother, Tony, who owns Antonelli's bar. When Schoharie's biggest big shot, Mark Sanderson, insists that Smith find his young runaway daughter, the PI has a smorgasbord of crimes on his plate. The pressure intensifies and one or more of Smith's clients may end up dead, so he asks Lydia to join him. Shamus- and Anthony-winner Rozan pushes the action and the plot at an invigorating pace and manages to explore the myriad ways in which violence can warp human relationships. Her sharp descriptions of upstate New York's idyllic scenery and struggling farmers form a striking background for her hard-edged hero and his barely concealed soft spot. This is a first-rate mystery that bolsters Rozan's already solid reputation and should win her new fans. Agent, Steve Axelrod. Author tour. (Sept.)