Reviews

Stone and Snow

“I have been a fan of the Raleigh Harmon series since it started in 2007 with The Stones Cry Out. The wonderful old south feel combined with memorable characters and engaging mysteries has kept me coming back to this series….While the story is interesting and the science fascinating, the characters are ever the highlight of this series. I adore Raleigh and would love just to give her a huge hug. However, the supporting cast is equally strong.” (read the full review)
—Melissa Willis, Straight off the Page


The Stars Shine Bright

“It isn’t often that I cry at the end of a thriller. This time, part of me was overflowing with affection for the characters; the other part was filled with disappointment because the story was over.”
—Karen Dahood, Bookpleasures.com (read the full review)

“Christy Award-winner Giorello arrives with the fifth in the Raleigh Harmon series, (after The Mountains Bow Down) which brings some closure to angst the protagonist feels about her mentally ill mother and overbearing fiance. FBI agent Harmon, who was disciplined for stealing evidence, tries to redeem herself on assignment, but is forced to live a double life as she goes undercover in a horse race-fixing scandal. When horses die at the race track, she learns that the death of the animals is only a by-product of a more evil plot. Special Agent Jack Stephanson appears to play a lesser role, but the reader finds out he’s with Raleigh in ways she never imagined throughout the story. Giorello’s writing is poignant, concrete, and humorously descriptive yet sincere: ‘Crabby from salt bloat and layers of big fat lies, I grabbed my purse from the Ghost [her car] and stomped toward the track’s private entrance.’ Research on geology, horse racing, and law enforcement, is vividly on display throughout the story, adding to Giorello’s reputation as a pro and a shining star.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A Christy Award winner and a master wordsmith, [Giorello] weaves a tapestry of provocative observations throughout the book: ‘The glass skyscrapers towered over Puget Sound, like crystalline prisons for office slaves.’ ”
—Booklist (read the full review)


The Mountains Bow Down

“Giorello has won the Christy Award and has received two Pulitzer Prize nominations. When you read this book, you’ll see why.”
—Booklist, Starred Review

“Giorello’s stories are always well written and entertaining. This latest includes a little welcome humor in the mix. 4 stars”
—Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Giorello won the Christy Award for this series’ debut (The Stones Cry Out). Each entry has proven better than the one before, and the latest installment is no exception. Crisp writing, fast-paced action, and beautiful descriptions of Alaskan landscapes make this an essential read for fans of Irene Hannon.”
—Library Journal

“I’m not a huge fan of thrillers unless I love the writing and I’m captivated by the characters… In this case, Giorello scored on both counts. A seasoned journalist, she writes like a person with words under her belt… Giorello’s economic use of language and spot-on dialogue make this novel a rapid read, and her characters make it a page-turner…. I hate to admit this, but I do not read ‘Christian fiction’ much. Most of it I find to be formulaic and preachy. That wasn’t the case with Sibella Giorello’s novel. Her portrayal of a woman trying to sort out herself and her circumstances and see through the eyes of her faith compelled me from beginning to end. I will read the next installment in Raleigh’s life when it appears next year.”
—Hoosier Wordsmith (read the full review)

“Read her for her wonderfully descriptive prose, her killer plots or her well-drawn characters, but read her. You’ll come away enriched in deep and plentiful ways.”
—The Richmond Times-Dispatch


The Clouds Roll Away

“Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello’s mystery also features well-developed characters, such as a rapper who plays classical music on a cello to relax. The themes of redemption and faith rediscovered are subtly integrated into the story. This is the third title in journalist Giorello’s excellent Raleigh Harmon series, following The Stones Cry Out (2007) and The Rivers Run Dry (2009). Libraries will want all three.”
—Booklist, Starred Review

“The clever plot twists will have readers riveted from the start. Tough, edgy Raleigh Harmon and the city of Richmond are beauties with endearing qualities that are hard to resist. Fans of Sue Grafton and Tim Downs should add Giorello to their favorites list.”
—Romantic Times, 4.5 stars

“In a gripping story involving, drugs, murder, hate, and violence, The Clouds Roll Away is both mysterious and suspenseful, providing the reader with a perfect combination of evil and grace.”
—The Christian Manifesto

“… Giorello, a former reporter for The Richmond News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, continues to dazzle with her evocative and haunting way with words.”
—The Richmond Times-Dispatch


The Rivers Run Dry

“Author and journalist Giorello, whose Christy award-winning debut novel, The Stones Cry Out, made a splash in the evangelical Christian literary community, offers another crisply written crime story featuring Raleigh Harmon, the female geologist turned FBI agent. Agent Harmon is transferred from Richmond to Seattle, disciplined for not following orders. She arrives in Seattle with no sure footing and must quickly adapt to the unfamiliar as she begins the search for a missing wealthy young woman, with no choice but to trust her instincts. But there are distractions: her mom’s sanity is iffy, her aunt has clairvoyant friends, and a whole host of fellow officers Harmon can’t quite trust yet. As the search intensifies, so does the pressure, and Harmon keenly feels the strain of remaining an unemotional agent while coming into intimate contact with evil personified. With great attention to detail, gritty descriptions and fast-paced action, Giorello’s tale of suspense is a sure bet.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Raleigh Harmon, the Virginia forensic geologist and FBI special agent introduced in The Stones Cry Out (2007), is not having an easy time. Abruptly transferred to the Seattle office, she’s finding that they do things differently here than in her native South and that her new boss seems hell-bent on seeing Raleigh fail. But Raleigh doesn’t have time to worry about personal squabbling: a woman is missing, and only Raleigh, with her unique investigative gifts, can find her before it’s too late. Giorello, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, has made the transition from journalism to fiction writing smoothly: the novel reads as though it were written by a veteran of the genre. Raleigh is a strong, assertive series lead, and, if these first two novels are any indication, she should be around for quite a while.”
—Booklist

“Raleigh Harmon, a geologist turned FBI agent, has recently relocated from Virginia to Seattle. Though beset by mistrustful colleagues and personal problems, she proves to be key in the search for a missing woman. A journalist who worked at the Richmond Times, Giorello uses her considerable writing skills, in part, to explore Christian themes—but lightly, in a way that will appeal to crime-fiction fans along the religious/spiritual continuum. In other words: You don’t have to be Christian to enjoy her books.”
—Seattle Times Sunday Books

“For a lifelong Richmonder, a move to the West Coast can be a culture shock equal to the eruption of Mount St. Helens.
For FBI forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon, it can be as dangerous, too, as she finds in The Rivers Run Dry, the second in Sibella Giorello’s mystery series.
The first book, The Stones Cry Out, was set in Richmond, where Raleigh cracked a case in spectacular fashion but fell afoul of her control-freak boss, who had her transferred to Seattle. Shortly after arriving in Washington state, Raleigh is faced with the disappearance of a young hiker, whose parents want their daughter found and will pull all their considerable political strings to make it happen.
Raleigh, of course, is no master in the art of office politics, and her investigation is laced with what her superiors and colleagues see as problems. The truth comes out—but not before Raleigh finds herself the target of a cunning and particularly cruel criminal.
Giorello, a former reporter for The Richmond News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch who now lives with her husband and their two sons in Washington state, pulls this all off with measured pacing, plausible characters, and arresting prose (“The [cloud] shapes shifted and bled and twisted with the fluidity of wild horses… ” ). Add themes of faith and family, and The Rivers Run Dry is a fine beach read that transcends the genre to become thought-provoking fiction.”
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Four stars! Fans of CSI-type dramas will enjoy trying to solve this crime right along with Raleigh. This well-written mystery is sure to keep readers stumped until the last page.”
—Romantic Times

“Sibella Giorello’s first book The Stones Cry Out placed her on our radar. It won a Christy award for 1st novel and introduced us to an author whose storytelling ability and knack for description caused me to call the book “one of 2007’s most compelling novels.” Needless to say, Giorello had a lot to live up to in The Rivers Run Dry. Would Raleigh Harmon remain the interesting, three-dimensional character we’d come to love?
Instead of a sophomore slump for Sibella Giorello, The Rivers Run Dry stands head and shoulders above The Stones Cry Out. It’s richer, deeper, funnier. It’s a rare gem in the suspense genre, paying as much attention to character development as to plot twists. Even minor characters are created with Giorello’s trademark attention to detail. Take her description of a park ranger from chapter one: ‘I turned to see a small woman walking toward us, looking like an elf purged from a fairy tale. Her long red hair leaped over her shoulders in ropes of lava and her enormous black boots scuffed across the loose gravel shards on the ground, creating the sound of belligerent applause.’
From the inside of a hot FBI surveillance van to the craggy hiking trails of Cougar mountain, The Rivers Run Dry is character driven suspense at its finest. Layered with prowess, each revelation unfolds in perfect time to keep us guessing all the way to the final pages. Don’t be surprised if you finish the novel one day, then pick it up and read it over again the next.”
—C.J. Darlington, Titletrakk.com

“Gritty and poetic, with an evocative sense of place, a quirky cast of characters, a fast-twisting plot, and a compelling, complicated heroine, this superbly crafted mystery will keep you reading compulsively as hope runs short, the clock runs down, and the rivers run dry.”
—5 Minutes for Books Blog

“In today’s landscape of thrillers that are either indifferent to the evil in the world or glamorize the gore they leave behind, Giorello believes she has carved out an untapped middle ground.”
—IssaquahPRESS.com

“This is classified as Christian fiction, but Raleigh’s faith isn’t an overt thing. No one’s throwing a lot of religious cliches around or acting holier-than-thou, which I appreciated. I got the feeling that the main character’s faith stabilized her often chaotic life, but I never had to read those words, per se. This is apparently the second novel with the same Raleigh Harmon, so hopefully there are more to come. Any of you southern belles get a chance, spend a couple rainy days with this one!”
—Hagermans.blogspot.com

“The Rivers Run Dry is twice as compelling and fascinating as its predecessor.”
—LoriAnn Weldon, Musings-in-a-strange-land.blogspot.com

“I think that Sibella Giorello is a very talented author who has a bright literary career ahead of her. I look forward to reading additional novels written by her.”
—cashcrate-becky.blogspot.com

“Nicely done. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. When I read the blurb, I thought it would be more of the typical suspense stuff that’s out—which, don’t get me wrong, I love suspense. But Sibella is refreshingly different. Her characters are fresh and quirky. The dialogue snappy.”
—kitwilkinson.com

“Sibella Giorello’s name is as exotic as her writing style. The word-pictures she paints in a reader’s mind are crisp—almost tangible. You can hear, feel, see, smell and taste everything taking place in the life of one very intelligent, very tough-as-nails FBI agent named Raleigh Harmon. Readers who enjoy suspense-filled mysteries…look no further! Sibella Giorello’s Raleigh Harmon series is top of the line entertainment in every way!”
—Kim Ford, berlysue.blogspot.com

“I need books like this for when the weather stinks. Here is a novel that takes you places—first, into the mind of Raleigh, a southerner in the Northwest, into the heart of Seattle, into the FBI, and of course, into a suspenseful and unpredictable mystery. I enjoyed the plot, the characters and the descriptions, but I think my favorite part of this book was all the unique metaphors.”
—Kristi’s Reading Room

“My problem with The Rivers Run Dry was this: It created an internal battle within me. After reading the first chapter, I couldn’t decide whether to stay up all night reading it, or saver it over the next few weeks! After great struggle….I finished it in 24 hours.”
—Cherie Hill

“This book reminded me of reading Nancy Drew books as a kid. I had a great time reading it. Raleigh is a wonderful main character with a complex but relatable personality. The plot moves along quickly, and the action is well written. Unlike many Christian authors, Giorello doesn’t preach, but God still shines through in her writing. Rather than being a Christian Novel it is a novel about a Christian….Overall I found Giorello’s writing refreshing for Religious fiction and would compare her to authors like Ted Dekker and Frank Peritti.”
—Krystal

“Giorello’s prose is like poetry. Her descriptions of the mountainous terrain of Washington State are unforgettable. I could see the places she describes. It made me want to go hiking. The taut suspense, likable characters, and gorgeous scenery make this a novel to curl up with on a rainy day.”
—Nancy Famolari


The Stones Cry Out

* Christy Award for Best First Novel *

“Special agent Raleigh Harmon has just been assigned a civil rights case her supervisor wants closed yesterday. A white male police detective and a black man with a shady past died when they fell off a factory roof during a ‘Parade for the People’ rally two days prior. The city of Richmond has become divided by color before the facts are even known. The police stand by their man, the African American community by theirs. And if there were witnesses, they’re not talking. Especially to the FBI.
What really happened on that factory roof? Why were the men together in the first place? Is it really an open and shut case? Raleigh isn’t sure. Despite the surmounting odds, she’s determined to dig down to the truth, because to a forensic geologist the stones do indeed cry out.
Nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize, Sibella Giorello has already proven she’s a gifted nonfiction writer. But with the publication of The Stones Cry Out, Giorello can now add ‘gifted novelist’ to her resume. Her skillful use of language has created a unique novel that smacks of quality. More than once I found myself awed by her vivid word pictures.
Falling somewhere between plot-driven and character-driven, Stones mixes the sparse writing style of a beat reporter with the attention to detail you’d expect from an artist. Take this description for example: ‘Her sleeveless housedress exposes large black arms, where deltas of stretch marks flow like sandy estuaries to her elbows.’ I could literally ‘see’ this character, and Giorello wields this astute word crafting ability throughout the book.
Set in Richmond, Virginia, the city is accurately portrayed, even down to the murder statistics. Life and death’s gritty realities aren’t glossed over either. Rather than spoil the situation, let’s just say I found one scene startlingly frank. But Giorello is never gratuitous. The Stones Cry Out is about real-life. Her prose reflects that. And since its spiritual message is more subtle than overt, it’s a great crossover candidate.
Every once in awhile a book comes along that you want to share with everyone you know. The Stones Cry Out is one of those. With three-dimensional characters who could be your neighbors, fascinating forensic geology tidbits, and a rich attention to details, The Stones Cry Out is easily one of 2007’s most compelling novels.”
—C.J. Darlington, Titletrakk.com

“With a riveting story line, fascinating forensic science, and a pungent portrayal of the grimy side of Richmond, Virginia, The Stones Cry Out holds the reader in its powerful grip until the very last word. Sibella Giorello writes like a seasoned pro. No mystery lover should pass up this novel.”
—Fred Chappell, author of I Am One of You Forever

“In an exceptionally skillful debut, Sibella Giorello brings to life forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon, a heroine who is surefooted in grisly crime scenes but feeling her way along the intertwining paths of life, love, and faith. Readers will follow her eagerly through this adventure and hope for more to come.”
—Ann McMillan, author of Civil Blood

“Sibella Giorello writes from the heart without leaving her head behind—which is what makes her writing so strong, so memorable. She’s gutsy, funny, and meticulous, with an eye for the real story, the profound connections.”
—Phyllis Theroux

“This novel was such a great pleasure to read. It’s riveting, intelligent, and peopled beautifully with characters I will never forget. Giorello presents a quiet, steady (perhaps even iron-clad!) depiction of people of faith. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read.”
—Augusta Troubaugh