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    Review of HEART OF STONE by C. E. Murphy (see her blog)


    Luna Books, November 2007

    Lawyer Margrit Knight knows running in New York's Central Park after nightfall isn't exactly the safest way to spend her time, but she works late and needs the exercise. Still, the beautiful man who approaches her seems simultaneously fascinating and dangerous. She escapes him only to find that he's been implicated in a Central Park murder that occured only minutes after they parted.

    Margrit's sometime-boyfriend, homicide cop Tony, desperately wants to talk to her mystery man, Alban. But Margrit can't believe Alban killed a woman--no matter how strong the evidence against him. When Tony uses Margrit as a tool to track Alban down, she wonders about their relationship, and about her feelings for Alban. As she probes, though, Margrit discovers a whole world she had no idea existed--a world of dragons, vampires, selkies, and gargoyles.

    Author C. E. Murphy (see more reviews of novels by Murphy) introduces us to a world of super-masculine but not quite human males. Daisani, the vampire, Janx, the dragon, and Alban the gargoyle all seem fascinated by Margrit, admiring her spunk and fearlessness (old races females, in contrast, seem to come in cowardly and crazy--maybe that's why the old races males are so fascinated by Margrit). Margrit flys from dangerous male to dangerous male, attempting to discover the true killer's identity and, by the way, head off a housing condemnation and help the police arrest a copycat killer.

    Murphy's writing kept me involved in the story, but I had a hard time identifying with the energetic but not very thoughtful Margrit. I would have thought a lawyer would think things through a bit before acting, but Margrit seemed more into acting first and thinking never. Margrit's fascination with Alban seemed more based on physical attraction than on any real shared interest (and his fixation on her came from his continued feelings for his long-lost wife). I would also have expected a bit more of an emotional resolution when Margrit finally confronted the real Central Park killer.

    HEART OF STONE holds promise, but ultimately it only partially delivered on these promises.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 3/13/08

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