Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Stones Cry Out ~ Sibella Giorello

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Revell (January 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800731603

Book Description:

" Moments after FBI agent Raleigh Harmon arrives at a large rally on Richmond, Virginia's Southside neighborhood, two men plummet from a factory rooftop and lie dead on the sidewalk below. Though over 500 people are at the rally, no one saw what happened. Or are they just not talking? Between pressure from her boss to close the case quickly to avoid racial unrest and her own sense of duty to discover the truth, Raleigh finds herself digging deep into clues that are right underneath her feet. With possible witnesses reluctant to talk and the discovery of chummy connections between supposed enemies, Raleigh knows that this isn't just an ordinary case. Will she find the truth in time? Or will her choices ultimately bring down everyone involved--including Raleigh herself? This first novel from an accomplished journalist and forensic geologist is sure to leave readers guessing until the very end."

Reviewed by Gina Holmes

I was anxious to review Ms. Giorello's work knowing she was a Pulitzer nominee. For a first novel, she does a great job. It's obvious this author knows her subject well. The detail in the investigation rings with authenticity that comes only from a previous knowledge of a subject or intense research.

Sibella Giorello is a journalist and I would have guessed as much by her minimalistic writing style that made for an easy and quick read as the book filled its pages with plenty of white space. There seemed to me to be a lack in conveyed feelings which also may be residual style from her journalistic roots. This aspect of her writing had me originally assuming the main character was a male. Later in the book, the protagonist goes through an experience that would emotionally cripple most, but she shows almost no emotion. I'd imagine she'd keep reliving the horrible experience but that doesn't happen, and I found that difficult to buy.

Still, I enjoyed this novelist's style, her creative descriptions, and authentic dialogue. The story itself could have pulled me in from the beginning a bit more with giving the reader more of a reason to care whether or not this particular case was solved either by making us care about the victim and/or his family-- or giving the investigating main character a compelling reason and personal interest in solving the case.

I absolutely look forward to Sibella's next novel because she has that certain X factor that is undescribable but indicates she's fully capable of producing a classic worthy novel.

This author is most definitely one to watch.

1 comment:

Erin Valentine said...

I agree; she certainly does have something extra special.

I just finished this book last night. It was the title that got me when I read Gina's review. Then the first line got me in the bookstore: "The dead man's mother lives on Castlewood Street, in a battered gray house guarded by a mean echo of "No Trespassing" signs."

I loved every bit of this book - perfect balance of dialogue and setting, a tightly controlled tone that evokes the protagonist's own depression and battered-down emotions, just enough southern eccentrics to make me feel at home, and a great mystery with well-paced clues. It's not a 'light' story, but it's a real one.