Book 2

From the Series The Stone Man Mysteries

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

A demon seeking redemption, Silex has kept vigil over Edinburgh for countless years atop a local church as a gargoyle. With the help of his human assistant Craig, Silex solves the mysteries of the city below. But now a mystery lurks inside the church in the form of a young woman seeking sanctuary.

The panicking girl raises Silex’s suspicions. Craig has a more welcoming spirit—but he lacks his gargoyle mentor’s centuries of experience. When they discover the young woman’s connection to new threats menacing Edinburgh, will any of them be prepared for the danger that comes next?

The story unfolds against the moody backdrop of Scotland in the 1930s, and feature infamous grave robbers Burke and Hare who return in this work of dark fantasy.

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Interest Level Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Number of Pages 88
Publication Date 2018-01-01
Text Type Fiction—Mystery
BISACS YAF010150, YAF010160, YAF024050
Dewey 741.5/973
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 490
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Adam Stemple

Adam Stemple is an author and American folk rock musician based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has co-written many books with his mother, Jane Yolen.

Author: Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen lives in Massachusetts and has written more than 400 books across all genres and age ranges, including the Sydney Taylor Honor book Miriam at the River. In 2022 she was named the The Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Winner. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.

Illustrator: Orion Zangara

Orion Zangara is an illustrator and comic book artist who lives in the Washington, DC, area. He is a graduate of The Kubert School, an art trade school, with a concentration in sequential art.


Sequential Tart

The Stoneman Mysteries Book Two is a fun, engrossing, mystery; a black and white graphic novel about a living gargoyle and his living friend. This boy helps the gargoyle uncover events that are happening within their city of Edenburgh that the demon gargoyle with a good heart cannot uncover himself.

The setting is pretty dark not only literally, but in itself it is kinda grim- early 1900s, you can tell there is not a lot of money around, and a girl who is seeking asylum in the church that Silex the gargoyle lives at. The boy, Craig, explores the city looking for clues at Silex’s prodding. Craig uncovers a lot more than he bargains for: demon dogs who suck people underground, a minion of the devil who is looking for the girl, and the meaning of dust to dust.

This story has super cool art that fits the feel and time of the story quite well. It’s cartoony but not too cartoony, serious but not to serious, and dark, but yeah, you get the picture. It is great! It gives the feeling of something supernatural and evil lurking around every corner.

I think the only thing that I did not like in this book was the occasional use of wording that was, in its best way, trying to remind us that the story occurred in Ireland. Every time I saw it used it felt to me like it was just trying too hard. I understand why some people like it and why it was used, but it just killed me a little inside every time I saw it.

I missed the first volume of series because it came out in 2016 (wow, that was a really really long wait!), but now I am intrigued and want to go find it. I have read some of Jane Yolen’s young adult novels in the past and loved them, I am glad that she, Adam Stemple, and Orion Zangara are exploring this realm of storytelling.
Who is it for?: Lovers of gargoyles, old churches, and dark noir type mysteries. Young adults, older adults, folks who are getting into the mystery genre that is seeming to regain popularity now.


“Hand to fans of spooky mysteries.”—Booklist

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Craig McGowan continues his work investigating crimes in Edinburgh at the behest of Silex, a gargoyle watching over the city from the cathedral roof. Craig looks into strange disappearances and a resurgence in crimes that haven’t been committed in nearly 100 years and is drawn to a girl demanding sanctuary of the church’s new priest, chased by a mysterious cloaked figure and spectral hounds. Evolving from the first volume, the artwork presents the narrative primarily from Craig’s perspective, using framing devices to indicate storytelling and information from other sources. An addition of ink wash gives the visuals depth and atmosphere and provides a better presentation of gloom, weather, and the city than the stark linework of the previous tale. However, the action sequences remain muddled, lacking clear transitions between frames and scenes and failing to establish dynamism when it is required. The novel fails to reveal further depths or details about the characters beyond the purposes of plot. A final expository spread papers over plot points and promises a third tale in a manner designed to be ominous, but which leadenly violates the fair play aspect of readers being able to potentially solve the mystery. VERDICT The gothic atmosphere will entice some, and any previous readers of the series will appreciate the artistic growth of the illustrator, but the weak execution of the storytelling won’t create many loyalists.–-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH

Kirkus Reviews

“[A] dark and introspective thriller . . .”—Kirkus Reviews