Lucid Intervals (Stone Barrington Series #18)

Lucid Intervals (Stone Barrington Series #18)

3.6 188
by Stuart Woods

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It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine's. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner, Dino, are enjoying some pasta when in walks former client-and all around sad sack-Herbie Fisher...with a briefcase containing $14 million in cash.

Herbie claims to have won the money on a lucky lotto ticket, but he also says he needs a lawyer-and after a single

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It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine's. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner, Dino, are enjoying some pasta when in walks former client-and all around sad sack-Herbie Fisher...with a briefcase containing $14 million in cash.

Herbie claims to have won the money on a lucky lotto ticket, but he also says he needs a lawyer-and after a single gunshot breaks the window above his head and send diners scrambling, Stone and Dino suspect Herbie might need a bodyguard and a private investigator, too.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stone Barrington continues to enjoy good food, good drink, and good sex provided by an eager succession of beautiful women in bestseller Woods's smooth 18th novel to feature the New York City attorney (after Kisser). Unstable ex-wife Dolce Bianci once again menaces Stone; “walking catastrophe” Herbie Fisher pays Stone a $1 million retainer to keep him, Herbie, out of trouble; and attractive British intelligence officer Felicity Devonshire hires Stone to find Stanley Whitestone, an ex-agent still wanted by her superiors after 12 years and recently spotted in New York. Stone walks a tricky ethical line by agreeing to work for Jim Hackett, who owns a large private security firm, and who may in fact be Whitestone. Stone's powerful cop friend, Dino Bacchetti, is ready to do favors or share a Knob Creek bourbon at Elaine's. Woods mixes danger and humor into a racy concoction that will leave readers thirsty for more. Author tour.(Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Jet-setting New York attorney Stone Barrington's old acquaintances present him with a fistful of new problems. Herbie Fisher, the most clueless member of the New York bar (Fresh Disasters, 2007), turns up in Elaine's announcing that he's won a $30 million lottery prize, shoving a handbag full of hundreds in Stone's face and insisting that he needs a lawyer of his own because somebody wants to kill him. Moments later, he's followed by Dame Felicity Devonshire of MI6 (Capital Crimes, 2003), who offers Stone the relatively piddling sum of £100,000 to find Stanley Whitestone, who since retiring from Her Majesty's Secret Service a dozen years ago has been selling classified information on the open market. Since Felicity offers a sweetener Herbie can't hope to match, Stone agrees to her terms as quickly as he declined Herbie's. Next morning, he awakens to find that he's inadvertently accepted both clients. If Herbie's constant demands for help and Felicity's for sex aren't draining enough, Stone also learns that Dolce Bianchi, the homicidal Mafia princess to whom he was once married for a heartbeat (L.A. Dead, 2000), has stabbed her minder and gone off the rez, presumably gunning for Stone and his ladylove. Things get even more complicated when Jim Hackett, the security expert Felicity is convinced is really Stanley Whitestone, takes to Stone so warmly that he offers him a job at his firm, Strategic Services, creating what passes for moral conflict in Woods's world of frothy wish-fulfillment. Will Stone ace his first assignment for Security Services by qualifying to fly Hackett's private jet? Will he, and should he, convince Felicity that Hackett isn't Whitestone? Will Herbie get killed? If heisn't, will Stone be able to spring him from a jail cell? And what will become of Dolce, armed, dangerous and demented?Some of these riddles are handily resolved, others fade away, and then this weightless tale is done, setting the stage for the inevitable next installment.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Stone Barrington Series, #18
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Elaine’s, late.
Stone Barrington and Dino Bacchetti were sitting at their usual table, eating penne with shrimp and vodka sauce, when a young man named Herbert Fisher walked in with a tall young woman.
Stone ignored him. Herbie Fisher was the nephew of Bob Cantor, a retired cop with whom Stone had worked many times. Bob Cantor was Herbie’s only connection with reality. Herbie Fisher, in Stone’s experience, was a walking catastrophe.
Herbie seated his girl at a table to the rear, then walked back and took a chair at Stone’s table. “Hi, Stone,” he said. “Hi, Dino.”
“Dino,” Stone said, “you are a police officer, are you not?”
“I am,” said Dino, spearing a shrimp.
“I wish to make a complaint.”
“Go right ahead,” Dino said.
“What’s going on, Stone?” Herbie asked.
Stone ignored him. “There is an intruder at my table; I wish to have him removed.”
“Remove him yourself,” Dino said. “I’m eating penne with shrimp and vodka sauce.”
“You are a duly constituted officer of the law, are you not?” Stone asked.
“Once again, I am.”
“Then it is your duty to respond to the complaint of an upstanding citizen.”
“What kind of citizen?”
“I’m not at all sure that the word describes you, Stone.”
Herbie, whose head was following the conversation as if he were seated in the first row at Wimbledon, said, “No kidding, Stone, what’s going on?”
Stone continued to ignore him. “Dino, am I to understand that you are ignoring a citizen’s complaint?”
“You are to understand that,” Dino said, mopping up some vodka sauce with a slice of bread. “Do your own dirty work.”
“Stone,” Herbie said, “I’m rich.”
“That’s rich,” Dino replied.
“No kidding, I’m rich. I won the lottery.”
“How much?” Dino asked.
“Don’t encourage him,” Stone said.
“Thirty million dollars,” Herbie replied.
“How much you got left after taxes and paying off your bookie and your loan shark?” Dino asked.
“I’m warning you,” Stone said. “Don’t encourage him, he’s dangerous.”
“Approximately fourteen million, two,” Herbie replied. “I want to hire you as my lawyer, Stone,” he continued.
“Why do you need a lawyer?” Dino asked.
“All rich people need lawyers,” Herbie said.
“Could you be more specific?” Dino asked.
“Dino,” Stone said, “stop this, stop it right now. He’s sucking you in.”
“Prove you’re rich, Herbie,” Dino said.
“I’ll be right back,” Herbie said. He got up, walked back to where the girl sat, picked up her large handbag, came back to Stone’s table and sat down. He lifted up the handbag and opened it wide, displaying the contents to Stone and Dino. “What do you think that is?” he asked.
“Well,” Dino said, gazing into the purse, “that would appear to be approximately twenty bundles of one-hundred-dollar bills each, or two million dollars.”
“Absolutely correct,” Herbie said.
“Do you always walk around with that much money, Herbie?” Dino asked.
“Only since I got rich.”
“Stone, I want to retain you as my lawyer. I’ll pay you a one-million-dollar retainer in cash, right now.”
Stone stopped eating. “Dino, have you had any recent training at recognizing counterfeit bills?”
“Funny you should mention that,” Dino said. “We had a guy in from Treasury the day before yesterday who gave us a slide-show presentation on that very subject.”
“Would you examine the bills in the bag, please?”
Dino dipped into the bag and came out with a hundred-dollar bill. He held it up to the light, snapped it a couple of times and laid it on the table. “Entirely genuine,” Dino said, then he turned to Herbie. “They don’t hand out millions in cash at the lottery office, you know. Where did you get it?”
“I cashed a check,” Herbie replied.
Stone flagged down a passing waiter. “David,” he said, “would you please go and find me a good-sized paper bag?”
“Sure,” David replied. He went into the kitchen and came back with a plastic shopping bag. “No paper bags. Will this do?”
“Yes,” Stone said, accepting the bag and handing it to Dino. “Will you please put one million dollars of Herbie’s money into this bag, Dino?”
“That okay with you, Herbie?”
“Sure, go ahead,” Herbie replied.
Dino held the plastic bag close to the purse and counted out ten of the bundles. He handed the bag to Stone. “There you go.”
“Just put it on the floor beside me,” Stone said, and Dino did so. Stone looked at Herbie for the first time. “All right, you’ve got my attention; I’ll listen for one minute.”
“They’re trying to kill me,” Herbie said.
“Who is trying to kill you?”
“People who want my money.”
“Are these people aware that you walk around with two million dollars of it in a woman’s handbag?”
Herbie shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Herbie, you’ve been flashing this money around, haven’t you?”
“Well, sort of.”
“The hooker must know about the money, since it’s in her handbag.”
“What hooker?”
“The one you walked in here with.”
“She’s not a hooker.”
“Herbie, she’s with you; she is, ipso facto, a hooker.”
“Part-time, maybe,” Herbie admitted.
“Who do hookers work for, Herbie?”
“Besides you?”
“Madams? Pimps?”
“And who do madams and pimps work for, Herbie?”
“They’re self-employed, aren’t they?”
“They work for or associate with bad people, Herbie. If a hooker knows you’ve got two million dollars in her handbag, then her madam and her pimp know it too, and if they’ve had a moment, they’ve already sold that information to someone who wants to take it from you.”
“Sheila wouldn’t do that,” Herbie said. “She loves me.”
At that moment, as if for punctuation at the end of Herbie’s sentence, a fist-sized hole appeared in the front window of Elaine’s, and a loud report rent the air. This was quickly followed by two more shots.
Everybody hit the floor.
Stone raised his head an inch. “Are you sure Sheila loves you, Herbie?”


Dino was up and running at the door, clawing at the gun on his belt. He disappeared into the street.
People began cautiously to pick themselves up, look around and brush themselves off. Elaine sat two tables down, unmoving, looking unperturbed. The door opened, and a tall woman of Stone’s acquaintance, though not recent, walked in carrying a very feminine attaché case.
Her name was Felicity Devonshire, though she was not called that by anyone who worked with her. She was, in fact, a high official of British intelligence who had formerly been called Carpenter but more recently, after a big promotion, had been dubbed Architect. A man had preceded her into the restaurant, and another followed her. They stationed themselves at the end of the bar, near the door, and watched the room.
Stone got up from the floor, dusted himself off, spotted Felicity and waved her over. They embraced casually. He could feel her ample breasts through her coat and his.
“Stone,” she said, “what is going on? Dino is out in the street waving a gun around and shouting into a cell phone, and this place is a mess.”
“Just a little after-dinner entertainment,” Stone said, taking her coat and holding a chair for her, not missing the sight of her cleavage as she sat down. He took his seat, picked up the plastic bag with the million dollars in it and stuffed it into the hooker’s handbag. Shoving the bag at Herbie, he said, “Go away.”
Herbie began to protest, but Stone held up a hand like a traffic cop and then waved him back to his own table and the clutches of the perfidious Sheila.
Felicity watched him go. “Isn’t that the awful little twit who gave you so much trouble a couple of years ago?”
“I’m afraid so.”

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Meet the Author

Stuart Woods was born in the small town of Manchester, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in sociology and moved to Atlanta, where he enlisted in the Air National Guard. In the fall of 1960, Woods moved to New York in search of a career in writing, and remained there for a decade working in advertising, with the exception of ten months spent in Mannheim, Germany with the National Guard during the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961-62.

An attack of wanderlust drew Woods to London, where he worked in advertising agencies until the idea of writing a novel called him to a small flat in the stableyard of a castle in County Galway, Ireland. There, Woods completed one hundred pages of a novel before he discovered sailing, after which, “everything went to hell. All I did was sail.”

Woods took his sailing to a higher level, competing in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, and the catastrophic Fastnet Race in 1979 in which fifteen competitors died. In October and November of that year, Woods sailed his friend’s yacht across the Atlantic, calling at the ports of Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, before finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

The next couple of years were spent in Georgia, where Woods wrote two non-fiction books: Blue Water, Green Skipper, an account of his Irish experience and the subsequent transatlantic race; and a travel guide entitled A Romantic Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland, which Woods says he wrote “on a whim.” W.W. Norton in New York bought the rights to Blue Water, Green Skipper, and published Woods’ first novel, Chiefs, in 1981. Chiefs won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America that year, was nominated for Palindrome, and was made into a six-hour television drama starring Charlton Heston for CBS. In 2006, Woods had two New York Times national bestsellers with Dark Harbor and Short Straw, and repeated the feat in 2007 with Fresh Disasters and Shoot Him If He Runs.

Woods, who has written thirty-three novels, currently resides in Florida, New York City and Maine.






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Brief Biography

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

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Lucid Intervals (Stone Barrington Series #18) 3.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 188 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I enjoyed the fast read; this latest Stuart Woods novel was not as riviting as his usual. It was almost disjointed at times. I have read everthing Woods writes and was disappointed in the development of this one. Not his usual can't wait until the end of the book. His ex-wife Dolcie was included; but, not as involved or developed as I would have liked. I did enjoy Herbie and of course the usual dining at Elaines. Dino is his usual helpful self. I enjoyed the British intelligence officers plot and as always the love scenes were detailed. I probably would have read this book anyway as I like Stuart Woods. But, most readers will be disappointed in this latest book. I would recommend his earlier books to anyone that has not previously read them.
Buklover More than 1 year ago
There was so little imagination used to create this story it could only have been published by a Known author. Stuart should be ashamed for forsaking his craft just to make a buck.
lv2readCD More than 1 year ago
I Truly enjoy the style of Stuart Woods writing. His characters are entertaining and simple in their complexity. The Stone Barrington character is one of my favorites.
Sweetbabyj58 More than 1 year ago
I used to enjoy this series but it has been going downhill. Tired of his women and this plot was just too boring for me; luckily Stuart Woods books are fast reading so finished it fast.
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ebcEC More than 1 year ago
waste of money. this was an old book and should have said so.
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jdavidlister More than 1 year ago
not read the book as of today
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