May 7, 2016
Stone Cold Dead
Finalist for the 2016 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original
March 7, 2016
Early Praise for HEART OF STONE
“Ellie Stone can hold her own (and her Scotch) against anyone, but what happens to a tough girl reporter on vacation, when her defenses are down? When a lakeside accident doesn’t add up, Ellie takes on the story. Heart of Stone is a big-hearted crush of a novel, brimming with rekindled kinship, forgiveness, love, and characters who will make readers feel true heartbreak.”
—Lori Rader-Day, Anthony Award-winning author of The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books, 2014) and Little Pretty Things (Seventh Street Books, 2015). An Elegant Hand arriving 2017 (Harper Collins William Morrow).
“James Ziskin has written another great read, imbued with a rich cast of characters and a tight plot that bristles with tension. Ellie Stone is the perfect protagonist—extraordinary but with enough girl-next-door charm in her that she instantly becomes a friend. This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, and it belongs on every mystery lover’s to-be-read list.”
—Allen Eskens, USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury
“Heart of Stone, James W. Ziskin’s latest novel in the Ellie Stone mystery series, is everything you hope it would be—gripping, unpredictable, and full of sexual intrigue. In a 1960s retreat for Jewish intellectuals, Ziskin creates a rich community of multifaceted actors—the volatile zealot, the cold beauty with dark secrets, the irresistibly sexy man from Ellie’s past.
A hard drinking, sophisticated, modern girl, Ellie Stone herself is unforgettable. Alternately steely and vulnerable, Ellie sets off to find out what really happened to two young men found dead at the bottom of a cliff on a peaceful lake in the Adirondacks.
Ziskin’s expert plotting, living breathing characters, and beautiful command of the language make Heart of Stone one of the best books I’ve read this year.
You must read Heart of Stone.”
—Jennifer Kincheloe, author of THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC, winner of the Colorado Gold for Mystery, Lefty Award finalist for Best Historical Mystery
“Heart of Stone is the best Ellie Stone mystery yet, and that’s saying something. The plot rockets along, fueled by colorful characters, intriguing clues, and Ellie herself, who is witty, vulnerable, and one of the finest and most fun amateur sleuths in crime fiction. I’ve read every Ellie Stone mystery, and I can’t wait for the next.”
—Mark Pryor, author of The Paris Librarian
“Armed with her camera, wits, and a reporter’s persistence, Ellie Stone navigates through the 1961 Adirondacks and does what she does best: asking questions and digging up the truth whether anyone likes it or not. When two strangers plunge to their deaths, and a prisoner escapes from a nearby prison, time on the lake quickly turns from pleasure to a mystery that demands to be solved. Ellie Stone has quickly become one of my favorite sleuths as she careens into the modern world, demanding her rightful place—and getting it—no matter how hard anyone tries to deter her or how much jeopardy she puts herself into.”
—Larry D. Sweazy, award-winning author of See Also Deception
February 12, 2016
“Gravity unleashed is a risky proposition at best.”
Cover Reveal of HEART OF STONE, out June 7, 2016
In the waning days of a lazy August holiday, Ellie Stone is enjoying a bright Adirondack-lake morning. Nearby, two men plummet to their deaths on the rocks below, just a few feet short of the water of a dangerous diving pool. A tragic accident, it seems. But the state police quickly establish that the two victims–one, a stranger to the lake and, the other, a teenaged boy from a nearby music camp–surely didn’t know each other. That anomaly is strange enough, but what really perplexes Ellie is the out-of-place station wagon parked twenty yards from the edge of the cliff.
Wading into a slippery morass of fellow travelers, free-love intellectuals, rabid John Birchers, and charismatic evangelicals, Ellie must navigate old grudges and Cold War passions, lost ideals and betrayed loves. She sticks her nose where it’s unwanted, rattling nerves and putting herself in jeopardy. But this time, it’s her heart that’s at risk.
Here are the five finalists:
Lou Berney, The Long and Faraway Gone (William Morrow)
Lisa Brackmann, Dragon Day (Soho Crime)
Chris Holm, The Killing Kind (Mulholland Books)
Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast (Minotaur Books)
James W. Ziskin, Stone Cold Dead (Seventh Street Books)
January 5, 2016
THE SEVENTH STREET BOOKS TOUR rolls on.
Upcoming book signings. See dates and locales below.
January 12th, 7:00 PM
695 E. Colorado Blvd
January 13th, 7:00 PM
The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA
January 14th, 7:30
5943 Balboa Ave #100
San Diego, CA
January 16th, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Ventura
4820 Telephone Rd
January 16th, 5:00 PM
Bank of Books
748 E Main St
January 23rd, 3:00 PM
348 S. Tustin
November 24, 2015
Heart of Stone, the fourth Ellie Stone Mystery, will be released June 7, 2016. The cover is not available yet, but here is a synopsis.
In the waning days of a lazy August holiday, Ellie Stone is enjoying a bright Adirondack-lake morning. Nearby, two men plummet to their deaths on the rocks, just a few feet short of the water of a dangerous diving pool. A tragic accident, it seems. But the police quickly establish that the two victims–one, a stranger to the lake and, the other, a teenaged boy from a nearby band camp–surely didn’t know each other. That anomaly is strange enough, but what really perplexes Ellie is her elderly cousin’s station wagon parked twenty yards from the edge of the cliff.
Wading into a slippery morass of left-wing, Jewish intellectuals, rabid John Birchers, and charismatic evangelicals, Ellie must navigate old grudges and Cold War passions, lost ideals and betrayed loves. She sticks her nose where it’s unwanted, rattling nerves and putting herself in jeopardy. But this time, it’s her heart that’s at risk.
November 1, 2015
Stone Cold Dead, winner of Amsterdam Reads 2016
October 14, 2015
NO STONE UNTURNED didn’t win the Anthony Award for best paperback original. The prize went to THE DAY SHE DIED by the wonderfully talented Catriona McPherson. Congratulations!
March 28, 2015
Little Leon’s Ellie Stone Appearances. It has been noticed that a little pug named Leon appears in each Ellie Stone mystery. Below are the odd sightings.
STYX & STONE
The car whooshed up to the twenty-second floor, stopping only at the twelfth floor where a confused woman with a Chinese pug had pushed the UP button instead of the DOWN.
“Can’t you let us go down first?” she asked. “Little Leon, here, has to do his business.”
I explained that the elevator wouldn’t change directions just for little Leon, even if I relinquished my right of way. She seemed distrustful, and I shrugged my shoulders apologetically as the doors closed once more.
NO STONE UNTURNED
She took the snapshot between her bony fingers and held it at arm’s length to focus on the faces. “Oh, yes,” she said. “He was here all right. I saw him a week ago yesterday. I remember exactly because it was the day poor little Leon was keeping poorly.” The dog. “It was raining terribly, but little Leon still has to do his business, you know. I ran into that young man in the elevator and asked him if he would be so kind as to walk Leon to the curb and back. And he refused! Imagine!” She shook her head in woe. “He said his glasses would fog up again! Poor Leon,” and she kissed the dog on the head.
STONE COLD DEAD
“Most likely,” said Vinnie. “Consider yourself lucky, though. We had the car in the shop for at least a month after Fred Blaylock drove it into the lake, trying to make it right again. When we dried her out, the horn used to blow when you made a left turn. People on the street would look. Every time I took her for a test drive, I waved and smiled back at them so I wouldn’t look like an idiot.”
I noticed Mrs. Pindaro shuffling along on the icy sidewalk with her pug, Leon, on a leash doing his business, and I reached past Vinnie and blasted the horn. The dog yelped and leapt into a snow bank.
“What’d you do that for, Ellie?” he asked as if I’d doused him with cold water.
“Wave, Vinnie,” I said sullenly, crossing my arms and turning away. “You look like an idiot.”
March 9, 2015
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW OF STONE COLD DEAD
Set in late 1960 and early 1961, Ziskin’s intriguing third Ellie Stone mystery (after 2014’s No Stone Unturned) finds the feisty “girl reporter” still trying to make her bones in the all-male newspaper world. A late-night visit from a desperate mother lures Ellie into a missing person’s case in New Holland, N.Y. Since 15-year-old Darleen Hicks disappeared shortly before Christmas, the police have made little effort to locate her, figuring that she’s run off with some hood. But Ellie’s questions begin to rattle a few cages, and she soon has to contend with Darleen’s bully of a stepfather, the girl’s juvenile delinquent boyfriend, an ominous farmer, an amorous teacher, and another reporter desperate to steal the story. After Ellie is attacked, the police take the case much more seriously. Ellie is a refreshing, riotously funny amateur sleuth. Spot-on language and perceptions of the era are a plus. Agent: William Reiss, John Hawkins & Associates. (May)
January 26, 2015
Praise for Stone Cold Dead:
“It’s winter in an upstate mill town in 1961, and Ellie Stone is at it again: fighting injustice, indifference, and bigotry in this pitch-perfect antidote to nostalgia. The characters are flawed and absorbing, the mystery is clever but convincing, and the pain of grief and loss catch you in the throat along with the wet wool, stale smoke, and whiskey. Tremendous.”
—CATRIONA McPHERSON, Anthony, Agatha, Macavity, and Bruce Award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver series and Come To Harm
“Smart, sassy, and masterful. Ziskin’s Ellie Stone series gets better with each book.”
—BARRY LANCET, award-winning author of Japantown and Tokyo Kill
“Stone Cold Dead draws you in with its rich, seductive prose portraits. Ziskin’s masterful, suspense-driven storytelling keeps you turning pages as fast as you can.”
—JEFFREY SIGER, international bestselling author of Sons of Sparta
“It might seem that she can hold her liquor more easily than she can hold onto a byline, but, in her third outing, whip-smart, dogged reporter Ellie Stone confirms she can certainly hold her own when it comes to the men who run every institution she encounters. In this dark, well-paced drama, the engaging Stone excavates disturbing facts about the life of a missing teenaged girl. The challenging theme is well served by its noir style and crackling dialogue. Revel in the early ’60s nostalgia, but throw away the rose-tinted specs.”
—CATHY ACE, author of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries
“James W. Ziskin’s whodunit Stone Cold Dead has more twists and turns than an upstate New York back-county road. Ellie Stone is the kind of gal you’d want to share a malt with . . . or a fifth of Scotch.”
—MATT COYLE, Anthony Award-winning author of Yesterday’s Echo and Night Tremors
September 2, 2014
Cover reveal of Stone Cold Dead, the third Ellie Stone Mystery. Coming May 12, 2015, from Seventh Street Books.
December 21, 1960, the shortest day of the year: Fifteen-year-old Darleen Hicks slips away from her school bus as it idles in the junior high parking lot, waiting to depart. Moments later the bus rumbles away without her, and she is never seen again.
Stone Cold Dead takes Ellie Stone on a chilling journey to a place of uncertainty, loss, teenage passion, and vulnerability—a place where Ellie’s questions are unwanted and her life is in danger.
August 21, 2014
Review of No Stone Unturned in MONSTERS & CRITICS
“Second of the Ellie Stone Mystery series, this thoroughly enjoyable whodunit shows how much our society has changed in the last fifty years while delivering a solid story. Ellie’s character is flawed just enough to add credibility without overshadowing the often twisted storyline. It is nice to see that even in the face of determined opposition from all sides, Ellie is committed to discovering the truth behind Jordan’s untimely death. As details about Jordan’s life are revealed, she becomes a more compelling figure. Naturally there are no shortage of suspects and it is a treat watching Ellie follow the breadcrumb trail through to the bitter end.
This is an evenly paced, well thought out tale that is sure to garner Ziskin a strong following.”
“There’s a killer loose at Columbia University, and he’s already targeting Ellie Stone’s father. So naturally Ellie’s on the case, never mind that Sixties girls aren’t supposed to be detectives. “I’m six-two, I weigh 210 pounds, and I write like a girl,” said Ziskin genially. He has his reasons: “I wanted to show a woman making it in man’s world.” Ziskin is a linguist by training currently associated with New York University’s Casa Italiana, so the academic part comes easily. No Stone Unturned appeared in June 2014. “Engrossing and fascinatingly complex” (LJ).”