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Hands Through Stone
Hands Through Stone

Hands Through Stone

How Clarence Ray Allen Masterminded Murder from Behind Folsom's Prison Walls


350 Pages, 6 x 9

Cloth, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $27.95)

Publication Date: November 2012

ISBN 9781610351294

Rights: WOR

Linden Publishing (Nov 2012)
Craven Street Books

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A firsthand account of the investigation of a ruthless killer

This fascinating and gripping portrayal is the only book-length account ever written about the illicit career of Clarence Ray Allen, one of the most sinister criminal masterminds and mass murderers in American history. Even hardened detectives were shaken by the scene at Fran’s Market in rural Fresno County that night in 1980: four young people lay on the market’s concrete floor, bloodily murdered by a killer without mercy or remorse. Then a grim investigation became even grimmer when the evidence led to the prime suspect—a convicted murderer already behind the stone walls of Folsom. A true crime story that reads like an intricately woven mystery, the book depicts the chilling scenes of murder, a dogged investigation, and the true story behind the Fran’s Market murders and their psychopathic mastermind. Written by former prosecutor James Ardaiz, who was one of the first investigators on the scene at Fran’s Market, Hands Through Stone provides an insider’s view of the tortuous, multiyear investigation that brought a killer to justice.


"In this true-crime investigation, written in narrative style, [Ardaiz, the prosecutor in the case against Allen] brings general readers along as he builds his case piece by piece from the investigation to the eventual trial." —Reference and Research Book News (December 2012)

"A terrifying look at the mind of evil and the lengths it can go. Hands Through Stone is a fine addition to any true crime collection focusing on California." —California Bookwatch (December 2012)

"Hands Through Stone tells a frightening story with all the tension and color of a first-class mystery novel. . . . A revealing insider's view of the investigation." —

"A fascinating and engrossing book. Ardaiz handles the story sensitively and with a gentleness one doesn't expect from a 'hard-nosed' prosecutor. I highly recommend reading it." —

"Goes inside the room at Fran's Market and gives not only the events on the infamous night but the feelings of the horror of the seasoned investigators. A must read for readers and writers of mystery books. Highly recommended!" —The Poison Pen (February 2013)

"A recommendation for general-interest, biography and true crime collections alike, but of special interest to any California history holding. A riveting true crime account any California library will find engrossing!" —Midwest Book Review (February 2013)

"Ardaiz's writing about police work is in depth ... The final chapter was thought provoking and put a different perspective on the death penalty for me ... had me thinking about the book long after I had finished it." —Rachel EC,

Author Biography

James A. Ardaiz is the former presiding justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeals in California. Before that he served as a deputy district attorney in Fresno County, California. He was a key figure in both the investigation and prosecution of the notorious Clarence Ray Allen, the last man to be executed in the state of California. He lives in Fresno, California.