Heart of Stone (Blackeye #1)

Review by Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews


Beverly Hills is famous for the movie stars living there and Rodeo Drive, full of the most expensive stores you can think of. As a consequence of so many rich people living there it is a target for property crime, the police force is super-quick to respond, and murder is rare. So the panic that ensues when a dead woman is found in the trash is understandable and with everyone’s job on the line, from the mayor down, solving the case as fast as possible (or faster) is a priority.  Athen is a successful detective who transferred in from New York seven weeks earlier, and while he is appointed lead investigator, he does not have an easy time of it. In addition to an intriguing murder mystery and lots of weird goings-on, there is a wealth of little tidbits about Beverly Hills, providing a lively, rich background for this hunt for a perpetrator who turns out to be very hard to catch.

Athen is a homicide detective of Greek descent, and his last name (Mavromatis) means Blackeye – hence the series name. He has a high closure rate, but this latest case has him stumped. Trying to juggle his personal and professional life is not easy, but I found watching him deal with it all quite entertaining. Grady is a director of photography between assignments and is kept busy by watching Athen’s mischievous niece, the dog, and cooking wonderful food for when Athen does make it home. He is a character in his own right and I hope to see more of him in the next volume.

Clues and observations around the crime scene, the neighbors, and potential suspects are revealed like in any TV crime show, but the addition of a great sense of humor and the many personal mishaps Athen encounters had me much more entertained than when watching TV. The other detail that makes this a great read is the personal dimension – Athen and Grady’s relationship, the reason they moved to LA in the first place, Athen’s sulky twelve-year-old niece, Despina, and their dog, Bella. Then there are all the secondary characters, from Athen’s colleagues and the mayor to the many people involved in the investigation. They all add a human dimension to a clever murder mystery that had me very involved and wanting to find out more about Athen, Grady, and their intriguing family and friends.

If you prefer your murder mysteries with a healthy dose of humor mixed in, if you’d rather read about other people’s chaotic life than deal with your own, and if you’re looking for a read that is entertaining, suspenseful, and funny, then you will probably like this novella.