The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Series #8) by Stuart Woods, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Series #8)

The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Series #8)

3.9 47
by Stuart Woods

View All Available Formats & Editions

Stone Barrington uncovers the puzzling — and deadly — rivalry between two American spies.


Stone Barrington uncovers the puzzling — and deadly — rivalry between two American spies.

Editorial Reviews
Stuart Woods’s suave, globetrotting cop-turned-lawyer, Stone Barrington, is back in this topsy-turvy caper involving false identity, a suspicious boating accident, a couple of ex-girlfriends, and plenty of red herrings.
People Magazine
Woods's effortless,crisp writing and nimbly staged action make this a breezy read.
Publishers Weekly
In recent Woods bestsellers like Cold Paradise, N.Y.P.D. detective-turned-PI Stone Barrington has gone upscale in lifestyle, international in expertise. This time, mogul John Bartholomew hires Stone to fly to London and persuade his niece, Erica, to leave her cocaine-smuggling boyfriend, Lance Cabot, and to make sure Lance winds up in jail. Dapper Stone charms Erica, who offers to set him up with her sister, Monica, and then introduces him to Lance. With help from two British investigators, Stone learns John Bartholomew is not who he seems: not only is he not Erica's uncle, he's really CIA biggie Stan Hedger. Confronted, Stan owns up, revealing that Lance is an ex-CIA agent who blew ops, ran with cash and nearly killed him. Meanwhile, Monica asks Stone to a country weekend with Lance and Erica at what turns out to be the manse of his old flame, Sarah Buckminster, who previously dodged a New York bombing and is now engaged to a megatycoon. The fog thickens when Stone's N.Y.P.D. pal Dino Bacchetti flies over to smooth out the beating death of one of Stone's investigators and Scotland Yard brings in MI6, who suspect Lance is after a top-secret military device for a Mideast client. Woods may have left behind the police action of L.A. Dead, but he churns up plenty of conflict and twisted plotting in this speedy tale. Several bombshell revelations and multiple resolutions combine with the cinematic plot for a perfect flight or beach read. Agents, Morton Janklow and Anne Sibbald. (Apr.) Forecast: Though some fans miss the more rugged Stone of earlier novels, Woods is eternally in bestseller mode and this title should be no exception. Major ad/promo; author tour; Putnam Berkley audio. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Woods's recurring hero, former NYPD detective and now private investigator/lawyer Stone Barrington, has been hired by the mysterious John Bartholomew to go to London to find his niece. Apparently the beautiful twentysomething Erica is in a relationship with alleged cocaine smuggler Lance Cabot. Not only does Stone find the girl, he discovers that she is not John's niece. With the aid of a couple of local London P.I.s and a contact back in the states, Stone finds that John is really a former CIA bigwig and that Lance, too, is a former agent who went astray, fleeing with money that wasn't his in an operation in which both men were involved. Woods's plots and subplots are well developed into a good story that holds the listener's interest. Robert Lawrence's narration and well-done British accents add to the entertainment; a good addition to mystery collections.-Steven J. Mayover, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hours after his latest lover dumps him, that paragon of lawyer/adventurers Stone Barrington (Cold Paradise, 2001, etc.) is en route to London for a round of intrigue that does indeed seem to go on forever. Stone's charge is simple: to rescue John Bartholomew's niece, Erica Burroughs, from the clutches of drug mule Lance Cabot and get Cabot arrested for something or other before Stone returns to the US with Erica. But the job is complicated by the fact that John Bartholomew doesn't exist and Erica Burroughs (who's soon fixed Stone up with her eligible sister Monica) doesn't have an uncle. Even murkier waters open when the sisters take Stone to a house party at the home of painter Sarah Buckminster, another of his inexhaustible supply of ex-lovers, and he's on hand to see Sarah's fiance, wine trader James Cutler, fall to his death from her yacht. Or did Sarah, overenthusiastic at Stone's return, really arrange his demise? Just when you think the story's settled into a mystery mold, Woods changes course again, like a kindergartner with a short attention span, and drops Stone into the middle of the mutual recriminations of Bartholomew and Cabot, each of whom insists the other is a ruthless criminal spy (and there's evidence they both may be right). To the smorgasbord of plotlines already on display - Bring Home the Lady, Did She or Didn't She, and Who Do You Trust-Woods eventually adds a fourth when Cabot inveigles Stone into a fast-money scheme to smuggle an unnamed McGuffin out of its closely guarded industrial home and into the hands of international provocateurs. Seasoned fans will know better than to take the spy stuff any more seriously than the rest of this potluck supper. Woods notes inclosing that his editor requested no changes in his manuscript, since nothing needed fixing. Readers may well come up with other explanations.
From the Publisher
“A tight mystery right up to the end…good-guy charm.”—The Palm Beach Post

“[A] speedy tale…Bombshell revelations and multiple resolutions combine with the cinematic plot for a perfect flight or beach read.”—Publishers Weekly

“Will have readers’ hearts racing from beginning to end.”—Press Journal (Vero Beach, FL)

“Action packed and fast-paced.”—BookBrowser

“Twists and turns…Woods keeps the tension high until the last page.”—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Stone Barrington Series, #8
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.32(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Elaine's late.

Stone Barrington sipped his third Wild Turkey and resisted the basket of hot sourdough bread that the waiter had just placed on the table. Callie was to have been there an hour and a half ago, and he was very, very hungry. She'd called from the airport to say that she was on the ground and on her way, but that had been an hour ago. It just didn't take that long to get to Elaine's from Teterboro Airport, where her boss's jet landed. He glanced at his watch: He'd give her another three minutes, and then he was ordering.

He had been looking forward to seeing her. They'd spent some very pleasant time together in Palm Beach a few months before, on the yacht of his client Thad Shames. She was Shames's majordomoassistant, cook, social secretary, whatever he neededand she moved when Shames moved, back and forth between Palm Beach and New York. In New York, she had been living with Stone, and he missed her when she was away.

"Give me a menu," Stone said to Michael, the headwaiter. "Giving up on her?" Michael asked.

"I am. If I drink any more without some food in my stomach, you're going to have to send me home in a wheelbarrow."

Michael laughed and placed a menu before him. "Dino's not coming?" "He should be here in a while; he said he had to work late." He opened the menu, and Michael stood ready, pad in hand. When Stone was this hungry, everything looked good. He'd meant to have fish; he'd gained three pounds, and he need to get it off, but now he was too hungry."I'll have a Caesar salad and the osso buco," he said, "and a bottle of the Amerone."

Michael jotted down the order, and as he reached for the menu, Stone looked up to see Callie breezing through the front door. He rose to meet her. She looked wonderful, as usual, in an Armani pantsuit. She gave him a short, dry kiss and sat down.

"I'd given up on you," Stone said. "I just ordered." Michael handed her a menu, but she handed it back. "I'm sorry, I can't stay for dinner," she said.

Stone looked at her, stupefied. She had kept him waiting for an hour and a half, and now she wasn't going to have dinner?

"Would you like a drink, Callie?" Michael asked. She shook her head. "No time, Michael."

"You still want dinner, Stone?" "Yes, please," Stone replied. Michael retreated.

"So?" Stone asked. "So what?" Callie replied. "Is there something you want to tell me?" He wanted an apology and an explanation, but he got neither.

"Stone," Callie said, looking at the tablecloth and playing with a matchbook. She didn't continue.

"I'm right here," he replied. "Have been, for an hour and a half." "God, this is hard," she said.

"Maybe a drink would help." "No, I don't have the time." "Where do you have to be at this hour?" he asked. "Back in Palm Beach."

Stone wasn't terribly surprised. Thad Shames, a computer software billionaire, had a peripatetic lifestyle, and Callie was, after all, at his beck and call.

"First of all, I'm sorry I'm late," she said. "I had to go by the house and pick up some things."

Stone looked around; she wasn't carrying anything. "They're in the car," she said.

"What did you have to pick up?" he asked. "Some things. My things."

Stone blinked. "Are you going somewhere?" "Back to Palm Beach. I told you."

Stone was baffled. "Callie ..." She took a deep breath and interrupted him. "Thad and I are getting married this weekend."

Stone was drinking his bourbon, and he choked on it. "I know you didn't expect this," she said. "For that matter, neither did I. It's just happened the past couple of weeks." She had been gone for two weeks on this last trip.

Stone recovered his voice. "Are you perfectly serious about this?" "Perfectly, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to talk me out of it." That was exactly what he wanted to try. "I wouldn't dream of it," he said. "If that's what you want."

"It's good, Stone. It isn't like with you and me, but that could never last."

"Why not?" Stone demanded, stung. "Oh, it's been great. I arrive in town, move in with you; we go to Elaine's and the theater, and around. We fuck our brains out for a week or two, then I go back."

That was exactly what they did, he reflected, but he wasn't going to admit it. "I thought we had more than that going," he said.

"Oh, men always think that," she said, exasperated. "There are things Thad can give me, things I need, things you can't . . ." She left it hanging.

"Can't afford?" he asked. "I live pretty well. Of course, I'm not worth five billion dollars, but I didn't think Thad was, anymore, not after his new stock offering collapsed, and with the way the market has been."

"It's true," she said. "Thad was hurt badly. Now he's only worth three billion."

"What a blow," Stone said. "It's not the money," she said. "All right, maybe that's part of it. God knows, I'll never have to draw another anxious breath."

"Not about money, anyway." "Won't you try and understand?" "What is there to understand? I'm out, Thad's in. It's your life; I can't tell you how to live it."

"If only you'd . . ." She stopped. Stone didn't want to hear the rest, anyway. "I think it's a little late for 'if only,' " he said. "Clearly, you've thought this out, I'm not going to try to talk you out of it."

"Thank God for that," she muttered, half to herself. They sat silently for a moment, then, without another word, Callie got up and headed for the door, nearly knocking down Dino, who had chosen that moment to walk in.

Dino turned and watched her rush out the door, then he walked over to Stone's table and sat down. Dino Bacchetti had been Stone's partner when he was still on the NYPD; now he ran the detective squad at the Nineteenth Precinct. "So," he said, "I see you managed to fuck up another relationship."

"Jesus, Dino, I didn't do anything," Stone said. Dino motioned to Michael for a drink. "That's usually the problem," he said. The drink was placed before him, and he sipped it.

"You want some dinner, Dino?" Michael asked. "Whatever he's having," Dino replied. "Caesar salad and the osso buco?"

"Good." He turned to Stone. "After a while, women expect you to do something."

"She's marrying Thad Shames." Dino's eyebrows shot up. "No shit? Well, I'll admit, I didn't see that one coming. I guess Thad isn't broke yet."

"Not yet, but he's only worth three billion now." "Poor guy; couple months, he'll be living on the street. Still, he got the girl."

"Don't rub it in." "It's what I do," Dino explained. Stone's cellphone, clipped to his belt, began to vibrate. "Now what?" he said to nobody in particular. "Hello?"

"Stone, it's Bill Eggers." Bill was the managing partner of Wood-man & Weld, the prestigious law firm for which Stone did unprestigious jobs.

"Yeah, Bill." "You sound down." "Just tired; what's up?" "You got anything heavy on your plate right now?" "Nothing much."

"Good; there's a guy coming to see you tomorrow morning at nine, with some work. Do whatever he says."

"Suppose he wants me to kill somebody." "If this guy wanted somebody killed, he'd do it himself. His name is John Bartholomew, and he's major, in his way."

"I'll be glad to see him." "You got a passport?" "Yes." Not that he'd used it for a long time. "Good. You're going to need it." Eggers hung up. Elaine came over and pulled up a chair. "Callie left in a hurry," she said. "I guess you fucked it up again."

"Don't you start," Stone said.

Excerpted from The Short Forever by Stuart Woods. Copyright © 2002 by Stuart Woods. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A tight mystery right up to the end…good-guy charm.”—The Palm Beach Post
“[A] speedy tale…Bombshell revelations and multiple resolutions combine with the cinematic plot for a perfect flight or beach read.”—Publishers Weekly
“Will have readers’ hearts racing from beginning to end.”—Press Journal (Vero Beach, FL)
“Action packed and fast-paced.”—BookBrowser
“Twists and turns…Woods keeps the tension high until the last page.”—Kirkus Reviews


Meet the Author

Stuart Woods is the author of more than sixty novels. 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 Florida, Maine, and New Mexico.

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >