Son of Stone (Stone Barrington Series #21)

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Stone Barrington knows everything there is to know about the city he loves, but he's about to learn something new about himself...

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Son of Stone (Stone Barrington Series #21)

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Stone Barrington knows everything there is to know about the city he loves, but he's about to learn something new about himself...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Not the least new surprise that Stone Barrington confronts in his latest outing is that he is the father, not just of a newborn, but of a fifteen-year-old boy. Arriving with that revelation are a host of problems, including his relationship with lover Arrington Calder and the aggressive prying of a tabloid celebrity sleuth. A suave change of pace for a popular series.

Publishers Weekly
Everything flows so smoothly in Woods's 21st Stone Barrington novel (after Bel-Air Dead) that one knows disaster can't be too far behind for the New York lawyer now a full partner in Woodman & Weld, among his other duties. Arrington Calder, Stone's lover and the mother of Peter, the son Stone unknowingly fathered 15 years before, wants father and son to get to know one another. Stone and Peter, who has plans for a film director career that includes Yale Drama School, form an easy relationship. While Arrington sees to the completion of her Virginia mansion, Stone begins using his connections to ease Peter's path, though the precocious teenager doesn't need much help. Kelli Keane, New York Post reporter, is one fly in the ointment as she probes the relationship of Stone and Arrington. Series fans may enjoy the flagrant uses of wealth, prestige, and influence, but Woods provides little of the mystery or suspense he's delivered so well in the past. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Yup, looks as if Stone Barrington had a son—according to rich-rich former love Arrington Calder. She's got other plans for him, too. Don't know yet where the suspense comes in—though those plans are probably dangerous—but Woods is always popular.
Kirkus Reviews

New York super-lawyer Stone Barrington's teenaged son comes to live with him. Wait, there's less, much less.

Naturally, the kid is a genius: handsome, charming, courteous, already at 15 a precocious filmmaker who graduated from high school early because they'd run out of things to teach him. How could he miss, with parents like Stone (Bel-Air Dead,2011, etc.) and Arrington Calder, the movie actress Stone impregnated shortly before she was swept off her feet and to the nuptial bed by legendary star Vance Calder? Swiftly recovering from his initial jitters about parenthood, Stone buys Peter new clothes, lays some fatherly advice on him and takes him to a board meeting of Centurion Studios, where Peter passes a rough cut of his amateur movie on to CEO Leo Goldman Jr., who's eager to buy it outright. With a little help from his friends, Stone helps Peter change his name to Barrington, backdates his birth certificate two years, helps him get into exclusive Knickerbocker Hall and greases the path to the Yale Drama School. While he's at it, he proposes marriage to Arrington, who's traveled to New York to help Peter get settled, warm Stone's bed and incidentally escape from Prof. Timothy Rutledge, the jealous architect who designed her house in Virginia and warmed her own bed. So many scenes pass without casting a shadow over the new family's happiness, as in a Care Bears story, that you just know something bad must be looming, and finally, in Chapter 50, it arrives. Fortunately, the characters pull themselves together manfully with the help of some philosophical reflections, a convenient .45 and a fresh infusion of cash.

Further proof, if the series needed it, that there's no lifecycle trauma that won't yield to the power of money, contacts and bling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451236357
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Series: Stone Barrington Series, #21
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 101,775
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (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


Elaine’s, late.
Stone Barrington and Dino Bacchetti sat, sipping what each of them usually sipped, gazing desultorily at the menu. Elaine came and sat down.
“Having problems deciding?” she asked.
“Always,” Dino said.
“Are you being a smart-ass?” she asked.
“I’m torn between the pasta special and the osso buco,” Dino said.
“Yeah,” Stone said, “Dino is always torn.”
“Are you being a smart-ass?” Dino asked.
“I’m just backing you up, pal,” Stone said.
“Have the pasta,” Elaine said. “It’s terrific.”
“How can I pass that up?” Dino asked, closing his menu.
“Dino,” Stone said, “you’re veering toward the ironic again. Watch yourself.”
Elaine looked at Dino. “You’re lucky there isn’t a steak knife on the table.” She flagged down a passing waiter. “Two pasta specials,” she said, her finger wagging between Stone and Dino.
“I’ll have the osso buco,” Stone said.
“I just sold the last one,” the waiter replied.
“Tell you what,” Stone said, “I’ll have the pasta special, with a chopped spinach salad to start.”
“Me, too, on the salad,” Dino said.
“And a bottle of the Mondavi Napa Cabernet,” Stone added.
“Good,” Elaine said, then she got up and wandered a couple of tables away and sat down there.
“That was close,” Stone said. “You could have gotten a fork in the chest.”
“I didn’t want the pasta,” Dino replied.
“Then why didn’t you order the osso buco to begin with?”
“They were out.”
“You didn’t know that.”
“Does it matter? They wouldn’t have had it anyway.”
They sat in silence for a moment, Stone sipping his Knob Creek, Dino sipping his Johnnie Walker Black.
“When does Ben get home for the holidays?” Stone asked. Benito was Dino’s teenaged son.
“Tomorrow,” Dino replied. “I get him first. Mary Ann will have him for Christmas dinner at her father’s.”
“Could you bring him to dinner tomorrow night?”
Dino looked at him oddly. “Since when did you especially want to have dinner with Benito?”
“Since Arrington decided to come to New York for Christmas and bring Peter.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“I didn’t know until tonight. I was just leaving the house when she called. They’re due in early tomorrow afternoon.” Stone showed Dino the photo of the boy that Arrington had given him. “This was over a year ago,” he said. “I guess he’s bigger now.”
Dino gazed at the photograph. “Amazingly like your father,” he said.
“How would you know? You never met my father.”
“I’ve met the photograph of him in your study about a thousand times,” Dino replied.
“Oh, yeah.”
“Does he know?”
“Don’t start that again,” Stone said.
“I didn’t start it, you did; some years back.”
Stone’s shoulders sagged. “All right, all right.”
“When exactly was it? I know you know.”
Stone cast his thoughts back. “Right before we were going to the islands for the holidays, to St. Marks. The night before, actually. I had bought her a ring.”
“You never told me that. You were really going to ask her?”
“Yes, I was. That morning it started snowing. I got to the airport and got a call from her saying that she was stuck in a meeting at the New Yorker. She had written a piece for them, and she was working with the editor. She said she’d get the same flight the next day. I was pissed off, but my bags were already on the airplane, and I didn’t want to go through that a day later, so I left. As it turned out, while she was at the New Yorker they assigned her to write a profile of Vance Calder.”
“Exactly. Turns out I got the last flight out of the airport before they closed it because of the snowstorm. She was stuck in the city for another day. Then Vance arrived in town and they had dinner. I met the flight the following day, and she wasn’t on it, and I couldn’t get her on the phone. Finally, a few days later, I got a fax at my hotel.”
“A Dear Stone letter?”
“Right. She was marrying Vance.”
“And when did she find out she was pregnant?”
“I’m not sure. I was out in L.A. four or five months later, and . . .”
“I was there, too, remember?”
“Yes, I remember. And when I saw her there she was obviously pregnant.”
“Did she say whose it was?”
“No, because she didn’t know.”
“The two . . . events were too close together, huh?”
“When did she know?”
“Not until after Vance’s death, I think.”
They were quiet again. “Had she seen the photograph of your father?”
“Sure, she was in the house a lot when we first met.”
“So she knew sooner than Vance’s death?”
“I don’t know; she may have been in denial.”
“Did Vance know?”
Stone shook his head. “She told me the subject never came up.”
“When did she finally admit it to you?”
“When we were in Maine a few years back, remember? Then, when you and I were staying at her house in Bel-Air last year, we had a frank talk about it. She said she had had a brush with ovarian cancer and had surgery, and that seemed to get her thinking about Peter’s future. She wanted me to spend some time with Peter, but it hasn’t happened until now. He’s been in boarding school in Virginia for more than a year.”
“So, we’re looking at a family reunion, huh?”
Stone grinned ruefully. “I never thought of it that way. Arrington and I have spent so little time together over the years.”
“So, how are you feeling about this?” Dino asked.
“Scared stiff,” Stone said.


Arrington Calder awoke in her rented house in Virginia and immediately smelled the man lying next to her. It was odd how he had this consistent personal odor—not unpleasant, but certainly distinctive. He even had it immediately after showering. It was strange.
She carefully lifted his arm from across her body, because she didn’t want to wake him yet. Today, she had to have a conversation with him that she didn’t want to have and that he wouldn’t want to hear, and she was putting it off until the last minute. He was extraordinarily jealous, something she had found a little attractive when she had first started seeing, then sleeping with, him, after she had hired him to design her new house. He was prominent among Virginia architects and was a professor of architecture at the University of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville. His name was Timothy Rutledge.
She managed to slip out of bed without waking him and tiptoed across the bedroom, through the dressing room, where her packed bags, still open, awaited her departure, then into the bathroom, where she closed the door to shut out the sound of the shower. She washed her face, having not had time to do that the night before, because of his persistence.
She got into the shower and began to feel better. In a couple of hours she would be away from here for a while, and that would give him time for his ardor to cool.
She was washing her hair, her eyes closed against the shampoo, when he let himself into the shower. She tried to drive her elbow into his belly, but his arms were around her from behind, pinning hers to her body. He fumbled around, trying to enter her from behind, but she struggled free. “Get out!” she said, pushing him out the swinging glass door.
He stood on the bath mat, fuming. “What’s the matter with you?” he demanded.
“Go down and start breakfast,” she said. “I’ll be there in half an hour.”
“Why are your bags packed?” he asked.
“I’ll talk to you downstairs. Now go!”
Reluctantly, he went.
She rinsed her hair thoroughly, then shut off the water and felt for the bath sheet on the hook outside the door. She dried herself, then picked up the hair dryer and dried her blond hair, helping it into place with a brush. That done, she applied her makeup, then got into her traveling clothes, a pants suit. She picked up the phone in her dressing room and pressed a button for her son’s room. “Peter,” she said, “time to get up.”
He picked up the phone. “I’m way ahead of you,” he said. “I’m packing.”
“Good boy.” She hung up and went downstairs. Tim had prepared eggs, bacon, and toast, and she sat down and began to eat.
“Where are you going?” Tim asked. He seemed calmer now.
“To New York.”
“Family business.”
“You don’t want to tell me?”
“Not really. It’s none of your business. Eat your breakfast; I want you gone before Peter comes down.”
He made a stab at the food. “How long will you be gone?”
“Through Christmas,” she said.
“We’ll have to talk about the finishing touches on the house.”
“You can reach me on my cell phone,” she said.
“I had hoped we could spend Christmas together,” he said. “The three of us.”
“Tim, there isn’t going to be any three of us. Peter is visiting his father in New York.”
“I thought his father was dead.”
“That was his stepfather.”
He looked puzzled. “Vance Calder wasn’t Peter’s father?”
“He was not.”
“Then who is?”
“Please don’t concern yourself with my private life,” Arrington said. She stood up and put her dishes in the sink. “I have to finish packing now. We’ll be leaving soon.” She heard Peter coming down the stairs.
“Please leave quickly by the back door,” she said, taking his halfeaten breakfast and scraping it into the garbage disposal.
“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he said, getting into his coat.
“Not unless it’s something about the house,” she replied.
He gave her an angry look, then he walked out the kitchen door.
Peter came into the kitchen. “What’s for breakfast?” he asked. He was fifteen now, big and mature for his age.
“What would you like?”
“Oh, I’ll just toast myself a muffin,” he said, opening the fridge.
“Will you be ready to go in half an hour?” she asked.
“I’m ready to go now, but my muffin isn’t.”
“The crew has the airplane ready. Thirty minutes.”
“I’m with you,” he said.
“Peter, I’m sending you ahead alone,” she said. “I have an appointment in Charlottesville, and it’s going to take the whole day. The airplane will come back for me.”
Peter shrugged. “Okay, I guess.”
Arrington went back upstairs to close her cases. Everything was so good right now, except for this thing with Tim Rutledge. She would put an end to that over Christmas.


Stone spent the morning actually working. Since his elevation to full partnership at Woodman & Weld, and since his appointment to the boards of Strategic Services and Centurion Studios, he had been required to read—and even understand—every bit of financial paper sent to him by the law firm and by both companies, so that he could intelligently discuss them at meetings. Today, he and Mike Freeman, chairman and CEO of Strategic Services, who also served on the Centurion board, would be meeting Leo Goldman, Jr., the CEO of the studio appointed a year before, when Rick Barron, longtime head of the studio, retired and became merely chairman.
Stone had taken only one accounting course in college, and he thanked God that he had not slept through it. Soon he could read a balance sheet with the best of them.
He had a sandwich at his desk, anticipating the arrival of Arrington Calder and her son, Peter. He buzzed his secretary, Joan Robertson.
“Yes, master?”
“I’m going to have this little boy on my hands for the better part of two weeks,” Stone said. “What the hell am I going to do with him? Children’s theater? Museum of Natural History? Boats on the pond in Central Park?”
“How old is the boy?” she asked.
“Twelve, I think.”
“Well, that lets out girls; he’ll still hate them. How about South Street Seaport? Boys love sailing vessels.”
“Good one,” Stone said, making a note. “More.”
“Ummm . . . Central Park Zoo?”
“Another good one. More.”
“The Lion King?”
“Oh, God, I’ve been avoiding that for years.”
“You’ll love it, believe me. And that’s enough for three or four days. I’ll do some research. What are you doing for dinner tonight? Not Elaine’s, I hope.”
“Why not Elaine’s? He might see a movie star, or something. Anyway, Dino is bringing Ben, who’s just home from school for Christmas.”
“Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about what to do with him. After all, Arrington will be here, too, and she, at least, is accustomed to acting as a parent.”
“Don’t say ‘parent,’ ” he said. “Hearing it gives me the willies. I’ll be his host.”
“You’ll survive,” she said, then hung up.
Stone finished his sandwich, frequently checking his watch. Arrington’s Gulfstream III was due into Teterboro at noon, or so, and he had hired a driver and sent his car to meet them. So, he reckoned, they should be here about ... the upstairs doorbell rang . . . now. He took a deep breath, got into his jacket, and ran up the stairs to the front hall. One more deep breath, a big smile slapped on his face, and he opened the door.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 160 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 160 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2011

    Good easy read with little fun

    I think Stuart Woods is starting to phone it in instead of committing to true story development. This one is just too simple to be a mystery everything just falls into place unlike real life. His wife to be jumps out of bed with her lover, tells him to hit the bricks and within a short time is married to Stone. He has the perfect son who writes, stars and directs the perfect movie, meets the perfect girl who write the perfect score for the movie and sell it all for twenty million dollars. Give me a break! I think Woods feels he has the perfect fan base, just throw it out there and they'll buy it, unfortunately I did. I'm a big fan but not of this kind of tripe.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    SNOOZE FEST.Skip this one.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Woods is history!

    Woods is wearing out! This was his worst to date and will probably be his last for me. Very amateurish and a waste of my time.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2011

    What a disapointment!

    The characters lack any emotional depth. Characters are one dimentional and uninteresting. I think this is an end to my reading Stuart Woods. I only gave it one star, but when I posted it, they added a star. I guess that way they try to make a book look better than it is. Not sure it is even worth one star.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Son of Stone is more of a family drama than the usual Barrington suspense thriller

    Lawyer Stone Barrington has made full partner at Manhattan's Woodman & Weld. After his latest escapades (see Bel Air Dead), Stone plans to stay low key in New York and get closer with his teenage son Peter who he only recently learned he sired. Stone's former lover and Peter's mother Arrington Calder wants that for both males.

    Peter plans to attend Yale University Drama School as he wants to become a film director. He and his dad develop a nice relationship while Arrington is sleeping with University of Virginia Architecture Professor Timothy Rutledge who oversees the finish to her mansion in Virginia. Stone uses some of connections to help Peter with his career choice. Meanwhile New York Post tabloid reporter Kelli Keane senses a scandal so she investigates the relationship between Stone and Arrington while a threat using Peter as the bait occurs.

    Son of Stone is more of a family drama than the usual Barrington suspense thriller as Stone and Peter get to know each other while the father uses his influence to try to help his son further his career. Well written with a surprising twist, the tension comes late as much of the tale is about father and son getting to know each other.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Is there a Zero Star Rating?

    This is the WORST book I have ever read. Everyone who buys it deserves a refund! I was so excited to see a new Stone barrington book come out and then to waste time in my life that I will never get back reading this trite, boring, ridiculous, emotionless, amatureish book - what a dissapointment. Stuart, you should be embarassed at what you've done to Stone and the gang. Perfect Peter made me want to throw up. I want to believe that you didnt write it, because I know you can do much better.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Doesn't even deserve one star

    Enjoyed every one of the previous books, however this one is really bad.
    Everyone and everything ... just too a poor romance novel.
    Stuart....we're through!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Son of Stone - not that great

    I usually enjoy the Stone Barrington series, but almost could not believe the 'flatness' of #21. The dialog was poor throughout the entire book. What has happened??

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Poorest effort ever!

    I have followed Stone Barrington since his introduction way back when. This is clearly Woods poorest effort in the series, although it has been trending that way for the last few. It seemed that many of the scenes were created simply to fill up the requisite number of pages. It was a lot more fun when Stone was hustling to make a living and not flush with cash! Let us hope that Mr. Woods can recapture the old Stone or he will have one less reader.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012


    I tried to get my money back from B & N. Wish I could give a negative rating. Can't believe he got paid for writing such tripe. Woods should give everyone an apology And their money back.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    Mr. Woods should never have written this book. It is completely

    Mr. Woods should never have written this book. It is completely out of genre, there is NO mystery, and he is preachy throughout. He shouldn't use a light mystery book to soapbox his causes. It's also very apparent that the "reviews" published in the front of the book must either be paid reviews or the reviewers didn't read the book. I'd put this book more in the fantasy genre as NONE of this realm. Come on, a genius boy, meets his father after 16 years and allows him to preach to him on how to behave in public and with his friends? And how realistic is it for ALL the cards to continue to fall into order for Stone. Come on Mr. Woods, your readers are not (or weren't) children.

    I wish there was a minus scale on the ratings, I'd be well into with this book.

    Mr. Woods has lost another reader for good!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012


    So disappointed, not up to your usual writing Mr. Woods.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    Son of Stone Stinker

    Shame on Mr Stuart. I feel insulted. At first I thought it was me, I have been reading more literally challenging books and I was thinking that this book was not up to par, but then I soon realized that this book was just writing at its worst.  I felt like I was reading a not very good first time author. I never looked at the reviews because I have always enjoyed Stuarts books.  I will not make that mistake again. If I could have returned this book I would have.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Yuck! Doesn't deserve the one star!

    If you like infantile dialogue and zero plot then this book is for you. I defy anyone to tell me what was funny about the Rockettes joke. Last Woods book for me.
    I just wanted to add, I think the publisher owes everyone who bought this mess a refund and a sincere apology. How it arrived on any "best" list is a mystery, the only thing about the book that is.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011


    A fan of Woods but this book is not very good

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Not up to par

    Son of Stone is a soap opera story well below what's expected of Stuart Woods. This volume was made to move the Stone Barrington character onto the next level but this could have been done using Woods' skill as a writer in a much better way perhaps as flashbacks in a more interesting story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Stuart Woods

    Nice read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    probably would recommend but haven't read it yet

    Haven't received this pre-ordered book yet. I'm expecting it to be as
    interesting as Stuart Woods many other books.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    love it love it cannot wait for new ones to be released

    love it love it cannot wait for new ones to be released

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    Glad when ended

    What happen to Mr. Wood? He is a much better writer then this. Grade D- feeling generous because other are better.

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