Being low man (or in this case agent) on the totem pole in her FBI office earns Raleigh Harmon the lousy jobs, like the civil rights investigation of the deaths of a white cop and a black business owner in Pulitzer-Prize nominee Sibella Giorello's first novel, The Stones Cry Out.
Both fell to their deaths from the top of an empty building, with 600 people protesting against absentee landlords who don't pay taxes. Six hundred people were nearby but Raleigh cannot find anyone who saw anything.
The police blame the black man. The citizens in the area blame the cop. Was the cop dirty? Was the businessman dirty? Are the white landlord of the building and the black mayor calling for the investigation involved?
While Raleigh pursues the case that her supervisor wants closed yesterday, she also has to deal with the mystery of her father's murder and with her mother's mental illness. The more her supervisor pushes her to close the case, the more evidence Raleigh finds that not all is as it should be. How could a small-time gym owner drive expensive cars? How could a good cop afford the expensive fertility treatments that produced his son? Why is Raleigh's ex-boyfriend's father so afraid to let her talk about his building where the crime occurred and his dump? Why did the mayor let the boyfriend's father put the dump/landfill in his district? What are the two of them hiding? And what was the connection between the cold case that the dead cop had been working on and the dead gym owner?
Fans of classic who-done-its and police procedurals will enjoy The Stones Cry Out. I hated to put it down once I got past the first three chapters. My problems early on were that I didn't realize that Raleigh was a female until the third chapter, so that required an adjustment of my thinking. People named after places throw me--I'm often unsure of the sex. My other problem was that I don't care for present-tense novels. It's a personal taste which Giorello overcomes after the first few chapters. I would eagerly look for a sequel from her in spite of the tense, but I would probably not have bought this book initially because of it. I hope most readers disagree with me on this so that I have a chance to read her sequel.
Giorello does a good job of developing Raleigh's character. She starts out as the cynical FBI agent, not quite as hardened as her older partner, but on her way. Her tender care of her emotionally disturbed mother actually ministers to Raleigh's heart as she pursues what is right regardless of the obstacles put before her. – Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
When nobody talks...the stones cry out.
During a rally in the searing heat of a Virginia summer, two men plummet from a building into the crowd below. The victims are a white police officer and a young black man with a troubled past. And though hundreds of people stood at the scene, nobody saw what happened. Or are they just not talking?
FBI agent Raleigh Harmon, one of Richmond's own, has to solve the case--fast. The Bureau wants a quick verdict, with or without the truth. But with tight-lipped witnesses, Raleigh must rely on her instincts and her training in forensic geology to uncover the facts. Working her connections with the city's powerful families and its seedy underbelly, Raleigh is determined to see justice prevail. Will she solve the case before the growing racial unrest rages out of control? Or will her choices ultimately bring down everyone involved--including Raleigh herself?