Stone Cold Dead

Business at the Rock of Ages is as dead as the fossils cluttering the shop’s dusty shelves. Morgan Iverson, recently widowed and jobless, expects managing the family rock shop for two weeks will be more vacation than work. When she arrives in Colorado, her brother slaps the keys in her hand and announces he’s never coming back.


Her first day in charge, two pet donkeys escape. While rounding them up on a snowy mountain trail, Morgan discovers the body of a Goth teen. After the newspaper splashes the front page with more sensation than truth, Morgan becomes the victim of an escalating series of near misses. She suspects the killer wants to eliminate the only witness to the crime. The problem is, she didn’t see anything.

As Morgan struggles to save the Rock of Ages—and herself—from extinction, a handsome shop owner pursues her. He seems more eager to get his hands on her property than on her middle-aged body. Selling the rock shop would toss a homeless old cowboy out into the winter cold, and send the escape-artist donkeys to the glue factory.

New friends convince Morgan to join a running club, but racing on remote trails exposes her to more danger. Unless she can dig up the identity of the murderer, Morgan’s life won’t be worth a pile of fossilized dinosaur dung.

Stone Cold Dead is an amateur sleuth mystery set in a mountain tourist town populated with lively Western characters and two determined donkeys.

Based on 21 Reviews
September 14, 2017

4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this first in a series

I really enjoyed this first in a series. Morgan comes to help with the family rock shop only to find that is supposed to be permanent, escaping donkeys to which she finds the dead body of a girl in the woods, and this same body that disappears. The characters are very likable, I would love to hang around with these people. Morgan is a strong woman who jumps in a does what needs to be done. Del who is help around the shop, is a strong, steady character and Bernie who ends up being Morgan’s friend, is just as strong as Morgan. The mystery was good, and kept me guessing. My only drawback was Morgan seemed to put herself in dangerous places that could have been avoided, however she did handle herself well. I definitely will continue on with this series. I loved the characters and the setting which made it very easy to become immersed in the story.

October 17, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars With a fascinating setting and lots of fun and compelling characters

I’d been looking forward to reading this book after hearing other mystery readers talk about it, and they were right: it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read! With a fascinating setting and lots of fun and compelling characters, the book opened a door for me to an interesting new world of small mountain towns, stubborn donkeys, expensive fossils and–of course–murder and mayhem. Can’t wait for the next installment in the rock shop series!

Judy Bartlett
June 23, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!

Read this book in a day and 1/2. Really enjoyed the twists and turns and liked the main characters spunkiness. I really liked that I could picture all the characters so vividly and attach to them so easily. I look forward to any future books by Catherine.

J D Ragle
March 16, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars Good first mystery!

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Catherine Dilt’s first mystery novel. It was a delight! I liked the characters and their interaction with each other. Dialogue was natural and kept the story moving along. The plot followed an interesting path with enough twists and turns and unexpected characters to keep you guessing all the way to the end. I have read Catherine Dilt’s short stories and am looking for her to just get better and better as an author and as a storyteller. I look forward to any future novels she may publish.

Frank Hemphill
March 3, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars Stone Cold Dead (A Rock Shop Mystery)

This was an impressive first novel. Well written, and with a quick enough pace to keep my interest from the first page to the last. There was excellent character development, and a believable conclusion. I look forward to the next book in the series so I can learn more about the people-and donkeys-of Golden Springs.

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