St. Martin's Press - June 2001
ISBN: 1312206127 - Hardcover

Reviewed by Susan McBride, MyShelf.com
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Since Eliot Pattison authored THE SKULL MANTRA, past winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, my expectations for his second, WATER TOUCHING STONE, were extremely high.  The premise is this:  Shan Tao Yun, a fallen Chinese government official who spent four years in prison, is called upon by a higher power to investigate the murders of a woman named Lau and the orphaned boys she once cared for.  Shan is aided by a clanswoman, Jakli, who has connections that take them on journeys through a sandstorm that nearly kills them, to a detention camp, to the mountains and secret Tibetan hideaways. 

The book is long at nearly 600 pages and the pace is hardly quick, often slowed by lengthy descriptions of surroundings, people or history and repetition of plot points again and again.  Mr. Pattison obviously constructed his novel after thorough research, using painstaking detail, but the mystery itself--however intriguing--was not enough to engage me.  WATER TOUCHING STONE was not my cup of tea though it may appeal to readers with a taste for Tibetan/Chinese history who like a challenge.

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