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An Isolated Incident


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When a 15-year-old girl is murdered on a quiet island off the Washington coast, her friends and neighbors look around for the first newcomer to blame. Stone's recent Guilt by Association sold over 540,000 copies in paperback, so expect demand.

Sloan (Guilt by Association) attempts to show the dangers of vigilante justice in this suspenseful and provocative thriller. Although bucolic Seward Island is only a short ferry ride from Seattle, it seems worlds away from the big city. When the body of 15-year-old Tara Breckenridge‘the sweet, quiet daughter of the local bank president‘is found tossed in a dumpster, the community is devastated. The girl's death is the first homicide in the island's recorded history; and the local authorities‘police chief Ruben Martinez, who's made his way to the island from the Los Angeles barrio, and bright, tomboyish detective Ginger Earley‘have no leads. The only thing Seward Islanders agree on is that the murderer is probably still among them. When a reporter uncovers questionable evidence about high-school history teacher Jerry Frankel, Ginger declares him a suspect in order to save the career of Ruben, with whom she's fallen in love. To her surprise, some of the townspeople are ready to blame Frankel because he is Jewish‘and to take matters into their own hands, with violent results. An able storyteller, Sloan brings this tale to an unflinching conclusion. Nevertheless, her narrative relies far too heavily on coincidence, and her use of stock characters‘from the hard-nosed lady-journalist who'll do anything for a story to the work-obsessed investment banker who puts her firm before her family‘is an ironic flaw in a novel that so convincingly portrays the worst consequences of stereotyping. Author tour. (Feb.)

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