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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable.
Right off the bat, I will tell you what cost this book a star: the protagonist is a forensic anthropologist (my major), but I didn't see her conduct any actual osteologic investigations during this story. It was her profession that caused me to pick up this book; I like well-written forensic anthro fiction.

So, there's that. All the same, this is a tightly...
Published on 27 Feb. 2013 by finalguy

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History of the 'Stone Maidens' is the best part of the book.
Stone Maidens is OK. Can't say I particularly enjoyed reading the novel. Some parts were good and some parts I disliked.

I think my dislike stems from two areas. Firstly; if you're a veteran of Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs, and their forensic heroines Scarpetta and Brennan, you'll find Christine Prusik a poor immitation. Secondly; the plot's written to the...
Published on 10 Feb. 2013 by JK


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History of the 'Stone Maidens' is the best part of the book., 10 Feb. 2013
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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Stone Maidens is OK. Can't say I particularly enjoyed reading the novel. Some parts were good and some parts I disliked.

I think my dislike stems from two areas. Firstly; if you're a veteran of Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs, and their forensic heroines Scarpetta and Brennan, you'll find Christine Prusik a poor immitation. Secondly; the plot's written to the same formula both Cornwell and Reichs have been using for many years. OK; Lloyd Devereux Richards has added his own unique twists and turns but; if you're a seasoned crime thriller reader I doubt you won't see through the plot and guess exactly 'who dunnit' before the closing chapters. That's why I'm not going to go into too much detail.

What did I like? The historical elements of the novel. The history/mystery of the Stone Maidens was well thought out and intriguing. Should have been much more of that.

The main selling point for this author is his experience within the American legal system "...he clerked for an Indiana court of appeals judge, researching and writing drafts for dozens of published opinions, including a serial killer's death-row appeal..". He does add an air of authenticity to the police/forensic detail unforunately; it's written without any pace and is more like reading a factual/journalistic report than a fictional work. We need some tension, darkness and definitely some 'scary/creepy' elements in our crime fiction. They're few and far between in Stone Maidens.

I'd also add that the hugely strong American bias, especially the dialogue, doesn't always work for the UK market. I'm surprised the book hasn't had an edit. Phrases/descriptions such as "purdy girl" or "tatooed carny" don't necessarily work for us in a written format.

Not without promise but needs to escape the crime/thriller 'formula' and find his own style.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable., 27 Feb. 2013
By 
finalguy (Newport (Wales)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stone Maidens (Kindle Edition)
Right off the bat, I will tell you what cost this book a star: the protagonist is a forensic anthropologist (my major), but I didn't see her conduct any actual osteologic investigations during this story. It was her profession that caused me to pick up this book; I like well-written forensic anthro fiction.

So, there's that. All the same, this is a tightly conducted murder mystery. FBI Special Agent Christine Prusik is the SAC (special agent in charge) of an investigation into a series of murders in southern Indiana. Her antagonist is not so much the murderer as it is a subordinate member of her staff: a man for whom reporting to a woman rankles so much that he tries to subvert her at every turn. As more and more young women go missing, each of them turning up with a significant clue upon autopsy, we see both the anti-Prusik attitude and Prusik's anxiety about the case ratchet up.

It's a good whodunnit, although I began to suspect how it would come out about halfway into the book. I blame this on having read many mysteries over the course of my life; it's pretty difficult to get one past me. That said, I really think that the author made his protagonist a forensic anthropologist to try to take advantage of what people in the field have referred to for years as the "CSI effect." He could just as easily have given her a different discipline and would have made no difference to the story given the lack of forensic anthro contained therein.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seen it all before, 9 April 2013
By 
Maria "maria2222" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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... just better executed

The story of a troubled female that battles a chauvinist boss to solve mysterious murders has been done before and the parallel story seen from the killer's point of view is not new either - the fact that she is a forensic anthropologist should be good, but has been done much better as well.

Normally I would like a story that combined all of the above if only there was something new and interesting in there and if only the writing was a bit more exciting and the main character a bit more likeable and less prone to blushing when her neanderthal boss was in the vicinity.

Not for me.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Swims like a stone., 28 May 2013
By 
A. Chell "Avid reader" (Staffordshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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The blurb for this book shamelessly mentions famous crime characters Kay Scarpetta and Harry Bosch, attempting to place this novel's heroine, FBI Special Agent (and forensic anthropologist) Christine Prusik, in their illustrious company. That claim is as big a work of fiction as the rest of this novel.

What we have is an unevenly paced novel, with a lead character who is, by turns, in the throes of an anxiety attack, or short-tempered and surly with her colleagues - if she's not off swimming backstroke somewhere. The first quarter of the book is heavy on exposition as we are told about the cast of characters and their lives. This speeds up somewhat as the chase begins in earnest and the book is at its best here, until just past half-way when the foreshadowing of a later plot twist is so conspicuous that you can stop reading and have a pretty good idea how the rest of the book will pan out.

As someone who has enjoyed stories about the forensic investigation of crime as far back as watching Quincy M.E. I had hoped this novel would follow the tradition of Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell, but unfortunately the whole thing veers towards paranormal theories to explain the plot. I'm sad to say the hoary old chestnut of coincidence appears, alongside its stable-mates 'unnecessary risk-taking' and 'disobeying superiors'. Throw in a grating romantic sub-plot and the end result is a sub-par novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky or What?, 13 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
This is a first novel for Richards and is, I hope, a forerunner of many to come. He writes in a sharp and interesting manner and his heroine is believable and feisty. The subject matter, murders of young girls, has been done many times before but the build-up to the solving on the crimes is done in such a way as to appear fresh to the reader. If you like well-written crime books then Stone Maidens is for you!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 21 Mar. 2013
By 
rhosymynydd "liz" (west wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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The concept of the book caught my eye, I am a mug for "forensic psychologist" criminologists in any descriptive title, and hopefully always seeking a new (old style) Patricia Cornwell. However, I could tell almost immediately this was not for me - the lead detective pops pills and seems to need to get over a past romance with her boss while dealing with hostile colleagues (yes this may sound a little Cornwell, but you would be wrong. Christine Prusik is in need of getting her act together - that combined with a wierd supernatural twist is not enough to draw people in.

The location set, moving to canabalistic New Guinea is a good choice but it is not enough to spearhead this book to the necessary detective level of crime solving. Characters are weak and although the plot twists and turns appropriately, it was not enough to keep my interest. It was a hard read and her xanax addiction unnecessary. Sorry not for me. Stone Maidens
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4.0 out of 5 stars been here before but still a helleva ride, 4 Jun. 2013
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David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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In the groove etched by Scarpetta, Brennan and others here comes Christine Prusik, forensic anthropologist traumatised by an incident that occurred in Papua New Guinea and finding herself coincidentally embroiled in a case that will reawaken that barely healed scar.

She is helping in the investigation of a series of creepy killings that involve artefacts stolen from a museum and coincidentally recognised by Ms Prusik from her previous nasty incident in the jungle.

Overlooking this slightly lame connection this is is a whopper of a read for those who are fans of the above genre where tough girls who rarely wear skirts or jewellery and dont faint over an autopsy table and can age bones at a glance. I
am certain there are a lot of such fans out there.

Richards' first novel based on his own personal experience working in a court of appeals he shares his insider information to make this extremely readable novel
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New author to me, 12 Dec. 2012
By 
Owl "Ollie" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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I loved this book and the characters. It was an excciting book from start to finish and it kept you wondering what was going to happen next. I had never read anything from this author but would do so again. If you like a thriller or a mystery then this is a book you should consider. Loved every part of it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but nothing special, 18 Jun. 2013
By 
ratscat13 "ratscat13" (North East Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stone Maidens (Paperback)
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Stone Maidens is a novel about a series of killings in which the women are found with small stone figures in their throats. Prusik, an anthropologist, understands the carvings all to well having had her own brush with death and the carvings with a tribe in Papua New Guinea.
Is there a serial killer on the loose or is someone sending a message to Prusik herself?
The novel is fairly predictable but a good read. I enjoyed the pace and whilst it's not a page turner it does hold a reader's interest. The writing is good and character development ok. Nothing jars about the story but nothing stands out too much either.
I liked the links to PNG, it brought some interesting twists to the story, though maybe more could have been made of this angle. The story was a little uneven and the coincidences forced but overall an interesting read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, 29 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Stone Maidens (Kindle Edition)
This book was ok, half way through I really felt like giving up but the end salvaged it a little. The story is not really believable at all, there are too many ridiculous coincidences and convenient discoveries.

The story focuses around the main character and of course she is flawed. Unfortunately rather than giving an edge of adversity to be overcome actually she you just wonder why she's not been fired from the FBI yet. Equally her boss is overly obnoxious and chauvinistic, maybe that's how things are in America but as a British reader it didn't feel right.

By the end the characters have developed a bit and it felt like the writing had grown up so if there was a sequel ill give it a go but I did struggle with the early parts of this book
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Stone Maidens
Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards
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