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The first two books of this series were great mysteries and a great introduction to a lifestyle--that of an orthodox or Torah Jewish community--that many of us are unfamiliar with. Those two ("Ritual Bath" and "Sacred and Profane") portray a community of gentleness and peace (although not necessarily acceptance) broken only when outsiders invade.
With the marriage of orthodox Rina to L.A. Police Detective Peter Decker (a non-observant Jew who embraces the orthodox life along with Rina), the couple and the series moved outside the closed community but maintained their observant identity. In "Justice," one of the later books of the series (and one of the best), Kellerman downplayed the Jewish milieu and introduced a fascinating new character, the amoral killer Chris Whitman Donati.
"Stone Kiss" takes a new direction in the series' portrayal of orthodox life and brings Chris Donati and his world of organized crime into improbable but fascinating juxtaposition. Peter and Rina are called on to intervene in a crisis within the New York City branch of their orthodox family, one of whom has been murdered under shocking and scandalous circumstances. The orthodox community depicted here is neither peaceful nor gentle, but it is certainly closed and definitely unaccepting--and some of its members are not exactly toeing the line of the Torah. Religious observance can hide a dark side.
"Stone Kiss" was written shortly post 9-11, and those events are both spoken of and seem like unspoken players in Kellerman's worldview here. Of all the books in this long-running series, I recommend this one along with the three mentioned earlier as by far the best. Each is engrossing in itself, and taken together they display a healthy evolution of both author and characters.
"Stone Kiss" is narrated by the eminent George Guidall, who is absolutely perfect for it.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Having heard other Faye Kellerman books narrated by Mitchell Greenberg, I find this narration a bit irritating. This narrator obviously didn't know the history of Chris Donati. He made him sound as if he were close to 60, instead of in his early 30s and gave him the wrong accent; too cliche gangster. If I hadn't known the character and his history, it might've been ok. Great story though!!