Ziskin’s Ellie Stone investigative reporter series just keeps getting better and better with each book. The third title, Stone Cold Dead, once again showcases Ziskin’s mastery of language. Ellie is my kind of gal—she’s witty, relentless, and doesn’t apologize for throwing back a whiskey after a rough day. But underneath that tough exterior is a young lady who’s haunted by her past and still aches for her late father’s acceptance. This shared vulnerability and sense of loss is what connects Ellie to Darleen Hicks, a local fifteen-year-old girl who turns up missing. Ellie’s investigation takes her on an emotional rollercoaster ride of her own as she peels back the layers of a young teenage girl’s tragic journey. This smart eloquent thriller with its nostalgic 1960s upstate New York setting will make every reader an Ellie Stone fan if they’re not already.
— From Sarah Chen
December 21, 1960, the shortest day of the year: Fifteen-year-old Darleen Hicks slips away from her school bus as it idles in the junior-high parking lot, waiting to depart. Moments later the bus rumbles away without her, and she is never seen again.
New Year's Eve, 1960: The small upstate town of New Holland, New York, is in the grips of a severe cold snap, when Ellie Stone receives a late-night caller--Irene Metzger, the grieving mother of Darleen Hicks. She tells Ellie that the local police won't help her, that they believe Darleen has run off with some older boy and will return when she is ready. Irene has read Ellie's stories in the paper on an earlier murder case and believes Ellie is her last hope.
Ellie Stone is on a chilling journey to a place of uncertainty, loss, teenage passion, and vulnerability--where Ellie's questions are unwanted and her life is in danger.