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STONE BOY

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STONE BOY Ronald Levitsky (Scribner’s, $20) The hero of an American detective novel is usually an odd man out-divorced or widowed, lonely, ill-housed, underfunded. These days he, or she, is frequently minority-Navajo, lesbian, Orthodox Jew. Ronald Levitsky’s likable invention, Jewish civil rights lawyer Nate Rosen (The Love That Kills, The Wisdom of Serpents), has all the negative qualifications, plus a social conscience and a Talmudic gift for controversy. This time he defends a Native American accused of murder in the Black Hills. The collision of two cultures, Lakota and Jewish, produces a few sparks as the fast-paced mystery, pitting real estate developers against conservators of sacred land, unravels to a surprise conclusion that is both entertaining and politically correct. B+ -Suzanne Ruta