Stone, Jonathan 1956-
STONE, Jonathan 1956-
PERSONAL: Born March 15, 1956, in New York, NY; son of Marshall A. (a television commercial director) and Judith Stone; married; wife's name Sue; children: two. Education: Yale University, graduated (Scholar of the House), 1978. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, paddle tennis, skiing.
CAREER: Novelist and advertising executive.
AWARDS, HONORS: Scholar of the House in Fiction Writing, Yale University; John Hubbard Curtis Prize for Best Imaginative Writing, Yale University.
The Cold Truth, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
The Heat of Lies, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Breakthrough, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Jonathan Stone spent years working on literary novels before publishing the thriller The Cold Truth, which he wrote on his laptop during his daily train commute into Manhattan. The advertising executive received a two-book contract, which led to a second novel with characters from the first, The Heat of Lies. Stone previously published a short book with William Morrow and was the Scholar of the House in Fiction Writing while a student at Yale University.
In The Cold Truth, Stone introduces readers to Julian Palmer, an attractive young woman with an unusual first name. It certainly confounds her new employer, the veteran police chief of Canaanville, New York, who accepts her application for an internship having assumed that she was a man. "Bear" Edwards grudgingly accepts her help in untangling the most difficult murder case of his career, the brutal death of a waitress. However, he makes the experience as difficult as he can, creating a tension between the two that takes on a sexual dimension.
Reviewers were pleased with Stone's development of his characters and plot. In the New York Times Book Review, Marilyn Stasio remarked that Stone "plays cruel and cunning mind games" with his protagonist in a story that was "bone-chilling." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the book "a stunning, risk-taking first novel that mystery fans will celebrate." A Kirkus Reviews writer credited the author with manipulating his characters with "a magician's skill and lion tamer's nerve" and with writing "a chilling little gem with the ferocious logic of a Beethoven quartet." Writing for Under the Covers, Harriet Klausner called the book "a fantastic police procedural" that merited a follow-up from Stone.
That sequel was to be The Heat of Lies, in which Palmer has become the ranking officer in Troy, New York. She is now put in the uncomfortable position of accepting help from Bear, from whom she once fled during a murderous rampage. Bear now appears after serving time in jail and having avoided a murder conviction. Only Julian's determination to solve the murder of a local businessman persuades her to involve him in the case. Writing for Books 'n' Bytes, Harriet Klausner recommended the novel to fans of "psychological suspense and cerebral puzzles," although she was not totally convinced that Julian would rejoin forces with Bear. In a review for the Houston Chronicle, P. G. Koch noted that "a general sleight-of-hand ethos prevails" in the story, but enjoyed it as "a dizzying ride."
A third novel, Breakthrough, follows Stone's protagonist Palmer, who, while taking a break from homicide to help raise a child, signs on to assist in an ordinary insurance scam investigation. The investigation proves anything but ordinary, leading from an eccentric inventor in the New Mexico desert to the canyons of Wall Street, and revolving around a mysterious and ambitious female investment broker.
A Booklist reviewer called Breakthrough "the best yet in this too-little-known series." A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that "the delicious twists are satisfying in the end." And a New Mystery Reader contributor proclaimed, "Don't miss this one, it's the most luminous and breathtaking read of the year."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of Breakthrough, p. 71.
Houston Chronicle, March 4, 2001, P. G. Koch, review of The Heat of Lies, p. 11.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1999, review of The ColdTruth, p. 492; August 15, 2003, review of Breakthrough, p. 1049.
New York Times Book Review, August 8, 1999, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Cold Truth, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly June 21, 1999, review of The ColdTruth, p. 59; September 8, 2003, review of Breakthrough, p. 59.
Books 'n' Bytes,http://booksnbytes.com/ (July 31, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of The Heat of Lies.
Jonathan Stone Home Page,http://jonathanstonebooks.com/ (March 16, 2003).
New Mystery Reader,http://newmysteryreader.com/ (March 16, 2004), review of Breakthrough.