“A Stone’s Throw” By James W. Ziskin: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it at the end of this post.

In 1962’s male-dominated journalism profession, ambitious New Holland Republic reporter Ellie Stone is always on the lookout for a new story to prove her worth. Listening to a police scanner in the middle of the night makes her the first reporter on the scene of a fire on an abandoned Saratoga horse farm, which fortuitously for Ellie, turns out to be much more than a case of arson. Also in the ashes are two bodies, one a woman and the other a small male with a bullet in his forehead. Considering the world that Ellie has just landed herself in, she is one of the first to suggest that the tiny corpse is not a boy but a horse jockey, one who turns out to have his problems with both women and gamblers.

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Guided by a friend with considerable knowledge with Saratoga’s horse betting world, Ellie finds herself amidst high society horse and stable owners. Their elitism and wealth seems to make them feel to pass judgments and share their prejudices, which gives Ellie more than a little satisfaction as she exposes their guilty secrets. As much as Ellie might pretend to be a hard-bitten, jaded reporter though, the cruel fate of retired horses reveals just how wasteful and ostentatious professional racing can be. This only makes Ellie more intent on delivering a story that features all of Saratoga Springs’ dirty little secrets that may have led to multiple murders.

mystery book cover
Image Source Seventh Street Books

A young woman in an aggressively male profession, Ellie continually struggles against sexism and the condescension of her peers. Now she is being challenged not just because of her gender but because of her faith, as the largely Christian elite of Saratoga Springs see Ellie as a Jewish outsider. While she may not be a strict follower of Judaism, hearing jokes and prejudiced remarks force her to rethink her attitude and identity. As much as we might like to believe that these close-minded viewpoints have disappeared in the last sixty years, recent events would prove otherwise. This timely novel balances these realizations with fascinating details of professional horse racing and gambling, along with a surfeit of Ellie’s acerbic wit and wry observations.

She has proved herself to be adept at navigating her way through a multitude of unfamiliar territories, learning some hard truths about life as she proves her skills as an outstanding reporter. As Ellie becomes a more experienced reporter, we witness her determined investigations and commitment to following a story. The personal revelations Ellie has made about her family, romantic relationships, and religious faith are naturally woven into each novel as she becomes a stronger, more confident woman. This novel immerses readers into not just the nefarious world of horse racing but the transforming era of the 60s, led by a heroine more than ready to push the boundaries into what will soon be a turbulent decade.

To enter to win a copy of A Stone's Throw, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "throw,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 28, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast!

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Another new author to me. Sounds like an interesting read.

  2. Very much enjoyed the first one in the series and I am not one that is into books set in the past. Hope I win this one. Clearly, I have more reading to do either way. :)


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