Stone Quarry Hardcover – Large Print, Jun 2003
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It's Bill Smith's turn to take center stage in this sixth entry in S.J. Rozan's memorable Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series of mysteries, and the tough and taciturn private eye really comes into his own. Smith has cloistered himself in his remote cabin in upstate New York, where he escapes from his private devils by fishing, hunting, and practicing Mozart and Bach on his piano, when he is sucked into two local crime cases.
The first involves Tony Antonelli, the brother of a young man whom Smith once helped out of trouble. Tony finds the body of a murdered local hoodlum in the cellar of his roadhouse. His brother Jimmy suspiciously goes missing and becomes the leading suspect. The second case involves a reclusive older woman (who turns out to be a world-famous painter). She asks Bill to track down some of her early works, which had been stolen from her studio. There's also a very nasty sheriff who hates Smith, a moderately tolerant state trooper who grudgingly helps, a corrupt executive of a babyfood company and his sad, dangerous teenage daughter, plus a crew of smalltime crooks who give the lie to the myth of rural safety. Lydia doesn't get called in from the Big Apple until quite late, and when she arrives she attracts stares in the local 7-Eleven "as though she were a black-petalled orchid that had sprung up in the daisy patch. Back in the car, Lydia grinned, said, 'Not many Asians up here, huh?' 'Especially in black leather,'" Bill answers."
The plot might have one or two tangles too many for its own good, but as usual Rozan proves herself to be one of the best descriptive writers in the genre, bringing to indelible life everything from a modern painter's latest work, to a depressed countryside where the last stone quarry is about to close down and grind away a few more dreams.
From Library Journal
While visiting his country retreat, series private investigator Bill Smith (A Bitter Feast) gets involved in another case: he promises to find several unsigned paintings stolen from a reclusive celebrated artist who wishes to remain incognito. Back in New York City, partner Lydia Chin assists as usual, offering her trademark banter along with news of any unexpected appearances on the New York art scene. Smith's investigation, which impinges upon a murder at his friend's barAblamed on his friend's missing sonAultimately leads to a prize local scumbag and beyond. Solid plotting, exceptional characters, and well-crafted prose recommend this to most collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, all of the Bill Smith/ Lydia Chin books are terrific, especially since the point of view for each book switches from Lydia to Bill. Lydia's problems with being female and Chinese in a white man's world are my favorite part of the books. Poor Bill! Carrying a torch for Lydia and trying not to mess up a fine partnership. They have such a strange relationship, but it works. Get the books or tapes, curl up in a chair and enjoy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With the publication of STONE QUARRY, the sixth book in Rozan's Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series, St. Martins Press has proved me right - but then, I knew that about the time that CONCOURSE, won the Shamus Award back in 1995. Rozan has not only developed a continually fascinating series, with fully developed characters, well-described settings (mostly in and around New York City), but she has successfully created a series with two distinct voices. In books one, three and five, Lydia Chin takes the narrative. She is a young, optimistic Chinese-American private eye who tries to balance the needs of her family and her own need to declare her independence and intelligence. The older, far more cynical private eye Bill Smith takes the lead in the other books. STONE QUARRY is, technically a "Bill Smith" book, while Lydia still participates. While Smith seems to fit the mold of he standard white guy p.i., he is anything but typical and is as interesting as his more "exotic" partner.
In this dark mystery, Bill is in upstate New York where he's had a house for years - a place he retreats to. He's in town primarily to assist Eve Colgate, a somewhat reclusive resident who wants him to check out a theft, without reporting that theft to the police. He is as well known as anyone in the area, but still seen as an outsider; even when he helps someone, he's somewhat resented. There is corruption, there's the arrogance of wealth and small-town attitudes for Bill to deal with. He calls Lydia, who is clearly out of her element in this rural setting, but still insistent on helping her friend and some-time partner.
STONE QUARRY continues an excellent series. It tells you more about Smith and Chin, two of the most intelligently drawn private eyes in modern day. Rozan, who won the Anthony for best novel for A COLDER PLACE, writes as effectively about this dark place as she does the bright lights of Chinatown and the upper west side and Brooklyn. The conflicts between Lydia's fairly upbeat attitudes and Bill's world-weariness only serve to highlight the way the two characters care for each other and keep each other balanced, keep each other from going off the deep end in either direction. This is truly one of the best mystery series available today - never a disappointment, cleanly, sharply written with warmth and wit and compassion, but the author never forgets to tell the story.