The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Series #8)

( 45 )

Overview

The unflappable Stone Barrington comes face to face with two men whose lives are wrapped in shadows and lies—and who both still feel the sting of betrayal they can never forget.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hired by an odd client previously unknown to him, Stone arrives in London, on a mission he thinks he understands, but doesn’t. Soon he finds himself not only out of his territory, but out of his depth as well. Baffled as he is by the ...

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Overview

The unflappable Stone Barrington comes face to face with two men whose lives are wrapped in shadows and lies—and who both still feel the sting of betrayal they can never forget.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hired by an odd client previously unknown to him, Stone arrives in London, on a mission he thinks he understands, but doesn’t. Soon he finds himself not only out of his territory, but out of his depth as well. Baffled as he is by the behavior of both his quarry and his client, Stone’s life is further complicated by two, possibly three, murders and the affectionate attentions of two former lovers. When the intelligence services of three countries become involved, he can only hang on for a wild ride and hope for a not-too-bumpy landing.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451208088
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Series: Stone Barrington Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 112,546
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods
Stuart Woods is the author of twenty-seven novels. He lives in Maine, Florida, and New York City.

Biography

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 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.


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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2014

    Meanderings of a Madpony

    Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snort. Snot. Snot. Snot. Snot. Snot. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O. O.
    <p>
    SQUIDS!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Very exciting must read

    As usual Stuart Woods books are very interesting and exciting. Always a surprise twist that holds your attention. Both my husband and I read Stuart Woods books and enjoy sharing our comments with each other as we read. I recommend this book as well as his other writings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Five stars - a must read book!!!!

    Lots of twists and turns until the very end!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    recomend

    This is a great seriesw.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Good one!

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2005

    Stuart Woods keeps Barrington fresh

    It must be so difficult to keep a series going. Stuart Woods some how has the formula and keeps it going. What makes it even better is that the protagonist grows as the novels keep coming. It really feels like Woods is his biographer. The Short Forever shows Barrington's vulnerability for companionship as he investigates a thrilling mystery putting his life in jeopardy. A must read for all Barrington fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2005

    The 24 hour book!

    I am an avid reader and get bored easily. Stuart Woods is the best. I read this book in 24 hours and could not put it down. Boy! have I found a new author. Thanks Stuart Woods.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2005

    A good book

    Woods'main character becomes very addictive. I really liked this book and enjoyed the relationship he developed with Lance. I think this is the sixth Stone Barrington book I have read and I have enjoy them all.

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  • 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2003

    Too Short

    This was the best book I ever read. I was sorry to have to finish the last page, and now I have to wait a whole week for another one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2002

    A GREAT READ!

    this was my favorite sturat woods book. he knows how to keep the reader hooked. i cant wait for his next book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2002

    AN EXCITING READING OF A SUSPENSEFUL RIDE

    Stage and screen actor Tony Roberts gives vital, exciting voice to the eighth Stone Barrington adventure by topnotch mystery writer Stuart Woods ('Orchid Blues,' 'Cold Paradise' et al). Veteran voice performer Roberts may be remembered by many for 'The CBS Radio Mystery Theater' and a stint on TV's daytime 'The Edge Of Night,' as well as his previous readings of Stone Barrington adventures. As is his wont author Woods tops himself with each new tale. No one will be disappointed in his latest which finds Barrington discovering the animus between two Americans now overseas. After being hired by a rather enigmatic client Barrington goes to London. Arriving on unknown turf the usually cool/calm detective finds himself mired in the mysterious - not at all what he believed he had been sent to accomplish. Toss in a couple of murders plus a pair of once lovers and you really have tension. Woods carries us along on a suspenseful ride propelled by fast breaking dialogue and non-stop action. Hang on!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    The Stone Barrington saga continues

    Stuart Woods never disappoints, and it has been great following the development of this character who would make for a great television series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted March 7, 2011

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    Posted March 5, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2011

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    Posted June 8, 2010

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    Posted May 13, 2009

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