Book Review: The Stones Cry Out

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello features FBI Geologist turned Rookie FBI field Agent Raleigh Harmon. She is assigned to a civil rights case in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia after a police detective and a black gym owner fall to their deaths in the middle of a rally led by the mayor. More than 200 people were present, but no one claims to have seen anything.

Her supervisor wants the case closed quickly and wants Raleigh and her over the hill partner, do the most perfunctory of investigations. Raleigh wants to get to the truth, but to do that she has to deal with a host of uncooperative witnesses and buried secrets.

This book does so much right. It creates a believable and relatable protagonist in Raleigh. She’s smart, dedicated to getting justice, and tenacious. She also has a complicated life. Rookie FBI agents rarely get assigned as close to home as she was but she has an ailing mother who is a bit eccentric and finds peace in regularly attending Pentecostal tent revivals.

Faith plays a role in her life and motivates her in her work, but author Sibella Giorello avoids her being preachy, pushy, or arrogant.

The book also does a very good job with its setting. There’s a clearly a great deal of appreciation and knowledge of Richmond that went into this book, but the description isn’t overwhelming as many books can be.

The investigation itself is well-handled. It shows the challenge the FBI often faces when assigned Civil Rights cases as their job is to get to the truth, yet they’re not trusted by people in the local community and they’re not welcomed by local police.

There’s also a good deal of forensic science in the book, particularly geology, being Raleigh’s specialty.

The book only has one major flaw and that is that the final third of the book really depends on Raleigh making a very stupid mistake and two random men who have nothing to do with the investigation assaulting her out of nowhere. While I suppose random things do happen, even to FBI Agents, it felt like the story slightly derailed even though it did eventually recover.

Overall, this is a well-written book with a great heroine. It’s a solid procedural with many interesting aspects to it, and this is one series I’d like to read more from.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

The digital form of this book is available for free for the Kindle.

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