L. A. Dead (Stone Barrington Series #6)

( 55 )


Cop-turned-lawyer-and-investigator Stone Barrington ventures out to the west coast-and out on a limb-in this "stylish whodunit" (Detroit News) filled with romance and murder from the bestselling author of The Run and Worst Fears Realized.

Stone's trip to Venice-with a fiery Mafia princess-is cut short by a frantic phone call from half a world away. A celebrity murder has Los Angeles in an uproar and has a former flame pining for Stone's help-in...

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Cop-turned-lawyer-and-investigator Stone Barrington ventures out to the west coast-and out on a limb-in this "stylish whodunit" (Detroit News) filled with romance and murder from the bestselling author of The Run and Worst Fears Realized.

Stone's trip to Venice-with a fiery Mafia princess-is cut short by a frantic phone call from half a world away. A celebrity murder has Los Angeles in an uproar and has a former flame pining for Stone's help-in more ways than one...

With his former NYPD partner, Dino Bacchetti, at his side, Stone plumbs the depths of Hollywood society, and dredges up enough dirt to end the careers of some and send others to prison. The novel climaxes in a court trial that will either condemn or set free an old love, with the hounds of the tabloid press baying at the courthouse doors.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Our Review
So, is Arrington Calder really a murderer? While we don't know the answer to that question until much later in the new Stuart Woods novel, L.A. Dead, we soon learn that Stone Barrington has never quite gotten over his infatuation with the gorgeous Arrington. And trying to prove her innocent is not exactly making lawyer Barrington's life any easier -- especially considering that he's soon to get married to another woman.

Once again Woods gives us some engaging peeks at Los Angeles film society that are over the top but still a lot of fun. You know, people born with silver spoons in their noses. The name of his hero, Stone Barrington, sort of sets the tone. He might well be a relative of John Forsythe of the Dynasty era. A Gucci tough-guy.

There is mystery. There are suspects. There are scenes of violence. There are scenes of love. There is dialogue. There is narrative. The pages are numbered.

What redeems it all from the routine is Woods's mastery of storytelling. The guy is a master. A true one. You just can't stop reading the damned thing. Has he written better novels? Sure. Is this worth the $24.95? Yes. Because it delivers just what a Stone Barrington novel promises to deliver -- sexy, quick-read fun rendered with sleek, sure skill.

As a beach book, I'd give it a B+. But I hope you forgive me for missing the Stuart Woods of Chiefs, Under the Lake, and L.A. Times.

Maybe next time.

--Ed Gorman

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This latest installment in Woods's Stone Barrington thriller series finds the lawyer/sleuth from New York back in Los Angeles on a murder case in which everyone, even the accused, lazes along, enjoying life in sunny Southern California. In his sixth outing (following 1999's Worst Fears Realized), Barrington is surrounded by his usual cast of friends, acquaintances and casual sex partners. The biggest change here is that his ex-lover, Arrington Calder, stands accused of murdering her husband, movie star and renowned man-about-town Vance Calder, found dead of a gunshot wound in the couple's Bel Air mansion. Upon hearing the news, Barrington, in Italy for his imminent wedding to the lovely but unpredictable Dolce Bianchi, rushes to L.A. to take over Arrington's defense. Not much of substance happens next; there's plenty of rambunctious sex, lots of light banter, a few tiffs and a minimal bit of sleuthing. Barrington checks out who left the size-12 shoe imprint near the murder scene and does his best to avoid Dolce, who took exception to her fianc 's sudden departure from the nuptials and is now stalking him. The whole case ends abruptly and with little suspense, and everyone goes along his or her merry way. Woods's desultory plotting--it is never made entirely clear who really killed Vance Calder--and chatty dialogue may not suit hardcore thriller or mystery readers, but Barrington's fans will likely welcome the detective's newest California-chic adventure. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Just when you thought his romantic problems had been resolved for good (Worst Fears Realized), Stone Barrington is snatched from the brink of holy matrimony by still another well-timed homicide.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451204110
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: Stone Barrington Series , #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 87,464
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods is the author of fifty novels, including the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series. He is a native of Georgia and began his writing career in the advertising industry. Chiefs, his debut in 1981, won the Edgar Award. An avid sailor and pilot, Woods lives in New York City, Florida, and Maine.


Stuart Woods was born in 1938 in Manchester, Georgia. After graduating from college and enlisting in the Air National Guard, he moved to New York, where he worked in advertising for the better part of the 1960s. He spent three years in London working for various ad agencies, then moved to Ireland in 1973 to begin his writing career in earnest.

However, despite his best intentions, Woods got sidetracked in Ireland. He was nearly 100 pages into a novel when he discovered the seductive pleasures of sailing. "Everything went to hell," he quips on his web site "All I did was sail." He bought a boat, learned everything he could about celestial navigation, and competed in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, finishing respectably in the middle of the fleet. (Later, he took part in the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, a yachting competition that ended tragically when a huge storm claimed the lives of 15 sailors and 4 observers. Woods and his crew emerged unharmed.)

Returning to the U.S., Woods wrote two nonfiction books: an account of his transatlantic sailing adventures (Blue Water, Green Skipper) and a travel guide he claims to have written on a whim. But the book that jump-started his career was the opus interruptus begun in Ireland. An absorbing multigenerational mystery set in a small southern town, Chiefs was published in 1981, went on to win an Edgar Award, and was subsequently turned into a television miniseries starring Charlton Heston.

An amazingly prolific author, Woods has gone on to pen dozens of compelling thrillers, juggling stand-alone novels with installments in four successful series. (His most popular protagonists are New York cop-turned-attorney Stone Barrington, introduced in 1991's New York Dead, and plucky Florida police chief Holly Barker, who debuted in 1998's Orchid Beach.) His pleasing mix of high-octane action, likable characters, and sly, subversive humor has made him a hit with readers -- who have returned the favor by propelling his books to the top of the bestseller lists.

Good To Know

Some fascinating facts about Stuart Woods:

His first job was in advertising at BBDO in New York, and his first assignment was to write ads for CBS-TV shows. He recalls: "They consisted of a drawing of the star and one line of exactly 127 characters, including spaces, and I had to write to that length. It taught me to be concise."

He flies his own airplane, a single-engine turboprop called a Jetprop, and tours the country every year in it, including book tours.

He's a partner in a 1929 motor yacht called Belle and spends two or three weeks a year aboard her.

In 1961-62, Woods spent 10 months in Germany with the National Guard at the height of the Berlin Wall Crisis.

In October and November of 1979, he skippered a friend's yacht back across the Atlantic, with a crew of six, calling at the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands and finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

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    1. Hometown:
      Key West, Florida; Mt. Desert, Maine; New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 9, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Manchester, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Georgia, 1959
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Elaine's, late. Stone Barrington and Dino Bacchetti sat at table number four, looking grim. Elaine joined them.

"So, what's happening here? You two look like you're going to start shooting any minute."

"I'm getting married," Stone said. "Congratulate me."

"Congratulations," Elaine said. "Anybody you know?"

"Hilarious," Stone said.

"It would be, if it weren't so insane," Dino added.

"You and Dolce are really going to do this?" Elaine asked, incredulous.

"Now don't you start," Stone growled.

"He won't listen to me," Dino said. "I've been telling him for a year to stay away from her."

"What've you got against your sister-in-law?" Elaine asked him.

"First of all, she's my sister-in-law," Dino replied. "Second, she's evil. Her old man is the devil, and Dolce is his handmaiden."

"Don't start that again, Dino," Stone said. "I don't want to hear it anymore. We're in love, we're getting married, and that's it. What's wrong with that?"

Elaine shrugged. "You're still in love with Arrington," she said. "Everybody knows that."

"What do you mean, 'everybody'?" Stone demanded.

"Me and Dino," Elaine replied.

"Right," Dino chimed in.

"She's married; she has a child," Stone said.

"So?" Elaine queried. "So, she's married to a movie star; nobody ever took a girl away from a movie star? Happens all the time."

"I'm not breaking up anybody's marriage," Stone said, "and Arrington knows it. I've told her so. Anyway, there's the boy."

"Wouldn't be the first kid raised by a stepfather," Elaine said.

"I think it's Stone's kid, anyway," Dino said.

"Dino, I told you, the blood test was done; I saw the lab report. The boy is Vance Calder's, and that's all there is to it. I'm not taking a kid away from his father. Besides, I like Vance."

"What's not to like?" Elaine asked. "He's handsome; he's the biggest star in Hollywood; he's the most charming man I ever met." She sipped her drink. "Present company included," she added.

"Thanks," Stone said. "I needed that."

"So, when's the happy day?" Elaine asked. "You going to be a June bride?"

"Monday," Stone replied. "In Venice."

"This is Thursday," Elaine pointed out. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"We're leaving tonight," Stone said.

"I got news for you, it's after midnight; all the flights have departed."

"We're taking a private jet; belongs to some friend of Eduardo."

"Not bad," Elaine said, looking impressed. "That way, you get to your hotel late enough tomorrow, so you don't have to wait for the people in your room to check out."

"Eduardo has a palazzo," Dino said. "We're being forced to stay there."

"You're going, too?" Elaine asked, incredulous again.

"He's my best man," Stone said glumly.

"If I don't go, my wife will divorce me," Dino said.

"She's Italian," Elaine pointed out. "She won't divorce you."

"The Bianchi family has found a way around that," Dino said. "Remember how Dolce got divorced?"

"I didn't know she was married," Elaine said.

"A youthful indiscretion. She married a capo in the Bonnano family when she was nineteen. It lasted less than three weeks, until she caught him in her bed with her maid of honor."

"So she got a divorce?"

"Not for some years. When it was inconvenient for her to still be married, the guy turned up New York dead. Took two in the back of the head, a classic hit."

"Let me get this straight," Elaine said, turning toward Stone. "The girl you're marrying on Monday in Venice had her ex popped?"

"Of course not," Stone said hotly. "That's Dino's theory. In the guy's line of work, it was an occupational hazard. Anybody could have had it done."

"Yeah, sure," Dino said. "Funny, it didn't get done until Dolce decided to throw a bag over Stone's head and lead him to the altar."

Stone glanced at his watch. "Dolce and Mary Ann are going to be here any minute. I want you to decide what you're going to do, Dino; are you going to stand up for me, or not? And if you are, I don't want to hear another word about Eduardo and his connections. You married into the family, too, remember?"

"Yeah, with a bun in the oven and a gun to my head. If I hadn't married her, I'd be at the bottom of Sheepshead Bay right now, with a concrete block up my ass."

"You love that girl, Dino," Elaine said, "and the boy, too. You know goddamned well you do."

Dino looked into his drink and said nothing.

"Make up your mind, Dino," Stone said. He looked up to see Dolce and Mary Ann walk into the restaurant. "They're here." He stood up to greet them.

"All right, all right," Dino said. "I guess I can't let you go over there by yourself."

Stone kissed the gorgeous Dolce. She was wearing a cashmere track suit and a huge smile.

"Everybody ready?" she asked. "The car's at the curb, all the bags are in the trunk."

"Everybody's ready," Stone said, shooting a warning glance at Dino.

Elaine stood up and kissed everybody. "Mazeltov," she said. "Send me a postcard."

"Come with us," Stone said. "There's room."

"And who'd mind the store?" she asked.

"You've got plenty of help here."

"They'd steal me blind. Go on, get going; send me a postcard from Venice."

"You bet," Stone said, hugging her.

The foursome left the restaurant. At the curb a spectacular car was waiting.

"What is this?" Stone asked, running a finger along the glossy paintwork.

"It's a Mercedes Maybach," Dolce replied. "The first one in the country. Papa knows somebody in Stuttgart."

"Papa knows somebody everywhere," Dino muttered, collecting a sharp elbow in the ribs from Mary Ann.

They piled into the spacious rear seats, facing each other, Pullman style.

"Not bad," Dino admitted, looking around. "I don't suppose there's a phone? I've gotta check in with the cop shop." Dino ran the detective squad at the nineteenth precinct.

"Oh, leave it, Dino," Stone said. "They can get along without you for a week."

Dolce handed Dino a phone, and he began dialing. "Did you pack all my stuff?" Dino asked Mary Ann.

"Everything's in the trunk," she replied. "I ironed your boxer shorts, too." She winked at Dolce. "They love it when you iron their underwear."

"I'll remember that," Dolce laughed.

"Gladys," Dino said into the phone, "I'm off. You've got the number in Venice if anything really important comes up, otherwise I don't want to know, got that? Good. Take care." He hung up. "Okay, I'm cut loose," he said to the others. "What kind of jet we going in, Dolce? I hate those little ones; this better be a G-Four or better."

"Wait and see," Dolce said smugly.

* * *

They drove onto the tarmac at Atlantic Aviation at Teterboro Airport, across the Hudson in New Jersey, and up to an airplane that dwarfed everything on the ramp.

"Holy shit!" Dino said as they got out of the limousine. "What the fuck is this?"

"It's a BBJ," Dolce replied, grabbing her jewelry box and cosmetics case from the back seat. The others took their hand luggage from the trunk.

"Sounds like a sandwich."

"A Boeing Business Jet, the biggest thing in the corporate skies."

Hank Esposito, who ran Atlantic Aviation, was at the airplane's stair door to greet them. "You're fueled for maximum range," he said. "You could make it to Tokyo, if you wanted."

"Not a bad idea," Dino said, boarding the airplane.

"Dino..." Stone warned.

Esposito helped the chauffeur stow the luggage into a forward area of the interior.

The party stepped into a cabin that looked like the living room of a New York City town house.

Stone was flabbergasted. "Where's the fireplace and the grand piano?" he asked.

An Armani-clad stewardess took their hand luggage and showed them through the airplane. Besides the big cabin, there was a conference room and, behind that, two sleeping cabins, each with its own bathroom.

Dino shook his head. "The wages of sin," he said under his breath, avoiding Stone's glance.

As if from a great distance, there was the sound of jet engines revving, and almost imperceptiby, the big airplane began to move.

Copyright © 2000 by Stuart Woods. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 55 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Stuart Woods -- another hit!!!

    Stuart Woods was a new author to me and again I am hooked. The character of Stone Barrington is terrific. Stone begins his career as a policeman but becomes a New York State lawyer. Clients draw him into one breathless mystery after another. The twists and turns keeps the reader turning page after page. His partner on the force, Dino, appears as his constant sidekick and reminder to stay inside the law when solving cases. Some clients appear in a second book but don't let that stop you from reading. Each book is a completed case filled with murder, intrigue, sex and excitement. The following is the list of how the Stone Barrington books were released: New York Dead: Dirt, Dead In The Water, Swimming On Catalina, Worst Fears Realized, LA Dead, Cold Paradise, The Short Forever and Dirty Work. Be sure and search out the other books written by Stuart Wood and his other stars of fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2001

    Poor Story Line

    I have read many of Mr. Woods' books and this has to be the worst. He lacks any type of closure of the story. His sex scenes and partners are not only highly improbable but extremely in poor taste. I like sex like any other guy, but let's get real.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2001

    A lame Stone Barrington outing

    Stone Barrington used to be a great character, but no more. He has been turned into some kind of cartoon character ... super sleuth, super stud, superman. It's silly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable Barirngton tale

    Former NYPD homicide detective turned attorney Stone Barrington travels to Italy to marry his fiancée Dolce Bianci. Her father happens to be a rich and powerful capo with ties to both sides of the law as well as to the Vatican. In Italy, for Roman Catholics to be considered married they must have civil and church weddings. <P>The civil ceremony occurs, but before they tie the knot in church, Stone receives a phone call concerning Arrington, the woman he loves, who is married to famous movie star Vince Calder. In their home an unknown intruder killed Vince while Arrington was taking a bath. Arrington is placed in a psychiatric hospital demanding that Stone come to help her. Stone immediately leaves Italy to be at Arrington's side. He also agrees to represent her with the police and the probate court. Arrington cooperates with the police, but they arrest her on a charge of second-degree murder. Stone goes out of his way to protect the woman he still loves. <P>The sixth Barrington mystery is the best novel in the series. Stone is an honest, intelligent, but beleaguered individual, who goes the extra mile and a half for those he cherishes. As Stone muddles through his relationships with females, the climax to L.A. Dead remains outstanding even as many questions about the hero's personal life remain unanswered. With an exclamation point, Stuart Woods makes it evident that he is a force in the mystery genre. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Poisonivy bio

    Name: Poisonivy<p>Gender: &female<p>Age: 28 moons<p>Appearance: Green long-haired she-cat with patches of black and yellow eyes.<p>History: see res 7<p>Style of Attack: As<_>sassination and tooth-and-claw.<p>Other: prettiest cat of the Deadly Six.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013


    Walks in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013


    Srry no wifi at home.... :( but im here now! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Highly recommend

    As usual, Stone Barrington is something to behold. He manages to take control of situations that are involved and always come up with the answer. My husband and I read his books and we enjoy them. He holds your attention to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    I love stone

    Not my favorite Stone Barrington novel ... but I am a die hard stone fan and love all the books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Would recommend - typical Stuart Woods

    I've read many Woods books with the character Stone Barrington. This one does not disappoint. It starts with a touch of Mafia & ends in Hollyweird with a compelling murder mystery. The humor between Barrington & his friend Dino is always my favorite part.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012


    Great book, recommend, love this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Fun read

    Stuart Woods continues to write his Stone Barrington novels with humorous,fast-moving plots. Always interesting secondary characters. I like that many of the secondary characters show up in different books in this series.

    These books are fast reads. The characters are well-defined, the storylines flow well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

    Great Books

    I like to read and this is a very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    I was able to put it down, and did so.

    I am perplexed by the popularity of the 'Stone Barrington' series. These books aren't mysteries. They are so ridiculously unbelievable as to be labeled romantic fantasies. The characters, including Stone Barrington, are superficial, narcissistic, and morally bankrupt (I mean, he wears the hand-me-down Armani clothes of a man who was murdered? This is sick!). Stone Barrington solves these crimes simply by making phone calls to excessively wealthy people, who the author, Mr. Woods, would have us believe are the most cooperative, amiable, and generous people who ever existed. If he needs transportation, he is provided a private jet. Needs a place to stay? Stays on a luxurious yacht. Wants lunch? A four star chef is provided. This is luxury taken to decadence and sold as hospitality. Women offer themselves sexually to Barrington with enough lust to make James Bond blush. These excesses just can't pass the 'Oh, brother!' rule. I first made it through 'Santa Fe Rules', one of two Stuart Woods books that were given to me. As I started 'L.A. Dead', I was having difficulty reading because I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. I finally thought, 'Enough!' and put it away. Stone Barrington doesn't investigate crime as much as the solutions are catered for him. I began to believe that the guilty person would send in the confession wrapped in a Tiffany's gift box. I like escapism as much as anyone, but these books are ridiculous. This isn't escapism. It's hallucination.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    who did it

    loved this book. I just wanted to know who killed the main character and who killed the woman? I have my own ideas, but it would be nice if all of this came together.I have a need to tie all of the loose ends. I don't think I would read any of his other books as I have to know who did all of the murders. I want closure on my stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    Stuart Woods is Absolutely Amazing

    I am a recent fan of Stuart Woods and so far I am addicted. I am a particular fan of the Stone Barrington novels. They are full of suspense and keep you on the edge of your seat. He also adds estranged love mixed in with the suspense and murder. It is a great combination for keeping your attention. I have read the whole serious of Stone Barrington and I am anxious for the next book. Keep them Coming Stuart. Your writing is unbelievable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2002

    keeps you on the tip of your toes

    Being a newcomer to Stuart Woods books, I've definitely found a writer I like. His characters are true to life, or what I think they probably are like in the movie industry. This book is a definite must read and I will be reading the rest of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2001

    one of the best books ever written

    this book has everything you need in a book, from suspense to the glamorous high life of the movie industry. Extremely hard to put down, you will find yourself up all night trying to finish this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2001


    This was another great hit in the life of Stone Barrington. Hard to put down and easy to finish in a couple of sittings. Would definately recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2000

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place

    Between a rock and a hard place is where cop-turned lawyer Barrington Stone finds himself as he flees Italy--and his volatile Mafia princess girlfriend--for Los Angeles in the latest thriller from Stuart Woods. Stone winds up dealing with a targeted murder case that implicates the long-lost love of his wife. Not Woods best, but a good, quick read.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews

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