cover image Orchids and Stone

Orchids and Stone

Lisa Preston. Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-503-95232-4

Early in Preston’s mediocre first novel, roofer Daphne Mayfield, who has earned the respect of her colleagues, is sitting on a bench in a Seattle park when elderly Minerva Watts asks for her help. Minerva keeps insisting that the well-dressed woman who’s trying to maneuver her into a car isn’t her daughter and that she’s being kidnapped. Is Minerva suffering from Alzheimer’s, or is Daphne witnessing a crime? With scant information to tell the police, Daphne starts her own investigation. But her devoted boyfriend, her friends, and even the police don’t understand Daphne’s obsession with finding Minerva, nor will the reader. The suggestion that Daphne’s fixation stems from the emotions brought on by the 20th anniversary of the murder of her sister, Suzanne, and the 10th anniversary of her father’s suicide feels false. In addition, some may wonder why Daphne acts irrationally at each turn of her quest. Few surprises and the uninspired characters further mar the listless plot. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)