Cynthia J. Stone

"…riveting mystery …dynamic character …memorable and well-sketched …host of exciting events …elements of mystery and emotion. An exciting read that shines a light on the secret layers that can exist between two people who think they know each other. Stone's debut novel takes readers down South, where a broken family tries to made peace with their recent losses."

Kirkus Reviews


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1938749247
Page count: 340pp

In Stone’s compelling follow-up to Mason’s Daughter (2012), a brave young man flees home and embarks on a journey to adulthood.

Nate Wallace has had to grow up too fast. Forced to watch his father, Roy, drink away their savings and stumble home drunk and violent, he’s the protector of not only his younger sisters but his mother, too. Nate’s anger at Roy escalates one night and comes to a fatal conclusion moments after Roy blurts out that Nate is not actually his son. After attacking Roy, Nate runs back home and learns that Roy has died; Nate must escape to South Carolina before the law catches up with him. While Nate’s temper lands him in trouble soon after fleeing home, his quick thinking and sharp reflexes land him a job that seems too good to be true. Told to merely survey the loading and unloading of goods at a warehouse, Nate is shocked when this mindless task leads to yet another violent encounter—another death by his own hand. On the run once more, Nate finds himself among shady characters as he learns to gamble and deceive to get by. But his luck changes when he finds shelter and kindness with the Cobb family, who not only take care of Nate but also teach him to read and write. As Nate tries to track down his family, his journey away and finally back to them helps him become a more civilized and savvy man who will not only save his family but meet the woman with whom he can start his own family. In the grand tradition of bildungsromans, this coming-of-age tale is captivating. Nate is a classic underdog whose naïveté and determination make him an endearing and relatable hero. His story is not only one of endurance and triumph but growth and development. Told in clear, accessible language, this is a story both adults and teenagers will appreciate for its enjoyable characters and exciting plot.

An inspiring tale of a young man’s efforts to save his family, and himself.

Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1938749025
Page count: 324pp

This riveting mystery unlocks the secrets of a husband and father’s supposed suicide.

Stone’s debut novel takes readers down South, where a broken family tries to make peace with their recent loss. Sally Mason and her troubled 13-year-old son, Colton, have been reeling since Sally’s husband, Jack, died. The coroner declares Jack’s death a suicide, creating a sharper, more personal pain. Sally becomes determined to find the truth behind her husband's mysterious death, hoping that a changed verdict will ease her son’s mind and put a stop to his acting out. She begins with Jack’s appointment book and is surprised to discover little secrets hidden there, such as several references to Sally’s father, whom she hasn’t spoken to in 15 years. Her curiosity piqued, Sally enlists the help of her father-in-law but is met with his fury and a fiery insistence that she leave things alone. Determined to see what secrets Jack kept hidden from her but seemed to share with others, Sally looks into the meetings Jack jotted down involving her father, centered, she suspects, on a covert business deal. Sally is reluctant to be back in contact with her estranged father, but soon the clues point to an underhanded scheme set up among him, Jack and Jack’s father and involving a property acquisition that should have belonged to Jack. As Sally unearths tales of staggering debts, familial betrayal and lies, she discovers what the cost of truth and how deeply her mother’s love runs. With candor, sensitivity and suspense, this novel weaves together elements of mystery and emotion. Sally’s quest and determination to help her son serve as the catalysts for a host of exciting events. Her dynamic character and the many people she encounters while piecing together her husband’s death—and life—prove to be memorable and well-sketched.

An exciting read that shines a light on the secret layers that can exist between two people who think they know each other.