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Book review: A perfect heist turns dangerous in ‘Fallen Stone’

"Fallen Stone" is by Jana S. Brown
"Fallen Stone" is by Jana S. Brown

Editor's note: This is one of the five novels that are 2017 Whitney Award finalistsin the suspense/mystery category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the list of winners, click here.

"FALLEN STONE," by Jana S. Brown, CreateSpace, $10.99, 230 pages (f)

Despite her name, Misery has been happy in Denver. No longer a Sentinal, the odd jobs she’s picked up pay the rent. But when she finds herself on the radar of a powerful chimera, she must pick a side in “Fallen Stone.”

Caught in the middle of what should have been the perfect heist, Misery is offered a job of dubious sorts. That assignment gives way to another, even more dangerous one, and she realizes she must trust her friends and fight for the helpless fae who have been vanishing.

Despite having all the ingredients for a great novel and being a Whitney Award finalist, “Fallen Stone” reads like the draft of a sequel. Specific instances of Misery’s past are referred to so often it’s easy to wonder if “Fallen Stone” is the second or even third book in a series, rather than a premier novel. While some chapters flow, others are jumpy and rushed, especially important segments dealing with love and conflict.

It’s obvious author Jana S. Brown has talent; she’s great at bringing to life characters like Misery’s roommate. But there are other instances, like plowing through minute library details, that can leave readers wondering why such particulars even have space in this book. Brown also never clarifies exactly what Misery is; she hints at her being a fallen angel, but never actually verifies it. It’s easy to feel disappointed after plowing through the book and all its alluding, only to reach the end and realize that, instead of being shrouded in glamourous mystery, Misery is more confusing than before.

“Fallen Stone” has a handful of profanities and brief mentions of sex. Actual romance doesn’t go beyond kissing and violence is limited to mentions of abuse and a fantasy-magical battle.

"Fallen Stone" is a 2017 Whitney Award finalist in the speculative fiction category. The awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brown, a freelance editor and former student at BYU, lives in Utah with her family.