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James W. Ziskin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Ellie Stone Mysteries Books

Styx & Stone (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Stone Unturned (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stone Cold Dead (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heart of Stone (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cast the First Stone (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Stone’s Throw (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Turn to Stone (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Bombay Monsoon (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Twenty-Five Year Engagement (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

In League with Sherlock Holmes(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

James W. Ziskin is an American Author born in 1960. James writes detective novels and is primarily known for the Ellie Stone Series. The author has garnered a lot of recognition since his first novel hit the shelves in 2013.


James W. Ziskin has enjoyed a rich career in the arena of entertainment. The author studied languages in college, eventually graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.

Looking at the author’s resume, one will notice his certification in Romance languages and Literature. James’ educational goals have always manifested his interest in literature and languages, especially taking into account the years he spent working and even studying in France and Italy.

James also spent a notable amount of time in India. Along with being fluent in Italian and French, the American author has some experience with journalism, having worked as a photo-news producer and writer in New York for a few years.

The author can also boast rather proudly of the fifteen years he injected into Hollywood, working in the post-production arena. James’ experience includes a number of significantly sized operations in the visual effects arena that he had the pleasure of running and managing.

An Edgar Award, Anthony Award and Lefty Award finalist, James’ rich career is clearly visible in his Ellie Stone series, especially the detail he injects into the unique characters that Ellie encounters.

James has admitted in interviews that writing the Ellie Stone series is a challenge, primarily because James W. Ziskin is a man attempting to write a female protagonist. According to James, he is able to succeed because he makes an effort to empathize and sympathize with the female perspective.

However, he admits that even that isn’t enough to make his portrayal of the character of Ellie Stone accurate. As a man, there are limits to what he can infer about the female point of view.

However, James has suggested that his failures in this arena are an advantage. The fact that he cannot accurately envision the female point of view means that he is able to bring a little something extra to the table.

Because he is an outsider looking in, James believes that he is able to make Ellie a little more interesting than the average female protagonist. James has admitted that Ellie shares a lot of his own attributes and characters, especially her love of scotch.

James W. Ziskin is married. He also owns two cats.

+Styx and Stone

The 1960s are not nearly as kind to Ellie Stone as she would like. She would like nothing more than to do her job as a competent reporter without continuously fighting off harassing hands or perverted comments.

She also has little interest in blazing any trails for women. Ellie’s worries about her life and, especially, her adrift career, take a back seat when she receives some distressing news about her estranged father.

A Dante Scholar, the distinguished professors received a savage beating that left him near death. Because the bludgeoning happened in his home, the police attribute the assault to a burglary, though Ellie isn’t convinced.

The second attempt on her father’s life only deepens Ellie’s suspicions. It doesn’t take her long to turn her attention to her father’s colleagues at the university, especially when another professor is killed.

Ellie tries to sift through the ambitions and jealousies at the university, not to mention the secret lives. Along the way, she encounters opportunities for self-discovery and reconciliation.

James W. Ziskin’s first novel in the Ellie Stone series follows a woman in her twenties struggling to survive and thrive in the world of journalism. The fact that she is pursuing her career in the 1960s doesn’t make things any easier.

Her sassy attitude and strong tolerance for liquor complement her investigative skills rather perfectly, James paving the way for the manifestation of a truly competent detective. James W. Ziskin is a scholar and this book shows that starkly. The fact that he can take some of the philosophical and intellectual elements of that time period and bring them down to the point where a layman can understand them is impressive. It is worth noting all the varied opinions that Ellie attracts as the protagonist of this book. While she is the very definition of a strong female protagonist, some readers have complained that she felt a little too detached.

Any emotion she manifested felt a little too clinical; and in a lot of cases, that emotion was missing. This might explain why Ellie didn’t leave much of a mark on some people.

+No Stone Unturned

The 1960s find Ellie stone at a crossroads of sorts, not only in her life but her career. Ellie is alone in the world, and it seems like she has no one to turn to as she battles her losses and demons.

With her failures in toe, Ellie is preparing to head back to New York when a dispatch over the police scanner piques her interest. The body of a 21-year-old girl was found in the muddy woods near the small town of New Holland.

With her camera in hand, Ellie is the first reporter on the scene, keenly aware of the opportunity presented her to put things right with her career. However, there aren’t nearly as many leads as Ellie might have hoped to find, this besides three small oil spots and a Dr. Pepper bottle cap.

That doesn’t stop Ellie, though, her daring eventually cascading into all manner of unintended chaos. Ellie finds that there are enemies who will see her dead rather than allow her investigation to come to fruition.

It isn’t until one reads this book that they can begin to truly appreciate James W. Ziskin’s ability to transport his audience to the 1960s, and he does it so organically and accurately. From the atmosphere to the phrasing of some words, James does commendable work here.

Ellie continues to prove why she is such a strong protagonist. She is also very sensitive to the times, manifesting an ability to turn on her wiles and charms whenever the need arises.

James’ story moves at a rapid pace. However, he doesn’t sacrifice depth for excitement and thrills. His analytical eye comes through keenly and elevates Ellie Stone as the story’s protagonist.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James W. Ziskin

One Response to “James W. Ziskin”

  1. milt levitt: 3 years ago

    Please write more ellie stone books.


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