I don't think I've read a book by someone I've known, however meager the acquaintance, excepting academic books. But here's one. I have to say, I expect the worst from genre mystery books these days, and Brooklyn Bones is solid. It avoids a lot of traps.
Erica is our main character, and she has her head on strait. The relationship between Erica and her daughter is really sweet, even if it fraught with teenage angst, and Erica always acts for her daughter first. Really the only criticism I have is that the mystery seems to coalesce around Erica and then resolve itself without much action by Erica herself. I'm not even sure that's a criticism. It's just different from other mysteries. But that's how I think Brooklyn Bones stays true - a lot of books veer off course because the hero/heroine has to take nonsensical or contrived actions to move the plot forward, and here Stein finds other ways to get to the end.
This is definitely not hard-boiled, or even much of a thriller, per se. But it is a nice, quick read of the cozy variety.