Swimming to Catalina (Stone Barrington Series #4)

Swimming to Catalina (Stone Barrington Series #4)

3.7 68
by Stuart Woods, (none)

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Sinking Like A Stone

Stone Barrington thought he'd heard the last of former girlfriend Arrington after she'd left him to marry Vance Calder, Hollywood's hottest star. The last thing Stone expected was a desperate call from Calder. Arrington has vanished, and her new fiancé wants Stone to come to LA and find her.

In a town where the sharks

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Sinking Like A Stone

Stone Barrington thought he'd heard the last of former girlfriend Arrington after she'd left him to marry Vance Calder, Hollywood's hottest star. The last thing Stone expected was a desperate call from Calder. Arrington has vanished, and her new fiancé wants Stone to come to LA and find her.

In a town where the sharks drive Bentleys and no one can be trusted, Stone soon discovers he's drowning in a sea of empty clues that take him from Bel Air to Malibu to Rodeo Drive. Running out of time and leads, he needs to keep his head above water and find Arrington fast, or end up swimming with the fishes himself.

Author Biography: Stuart Woods was born in Manchester, Georgia, a small town in the American South. He was educated in the local schools and at the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a BA degree in 1959. He served in the United States Air Force, in which he says he "...flew a truck," as an enlisted man during the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961-62.

He devoted his early adult years to a career in advertising , as an award-winning writer for agencies in New York and London. It was while living in London in 1973 that he decided to pursue an ambition held since childhood, to write fiction. he moved to a flat in the stable yard of a castle in south County Galway, Ireland, and while working two days a week for a Dublin ad agency to support himself, began work on a novel. Shortly after beginning, he discovered sailing and , as he puts it, "Everything went to hell." The novel was put temporarily aside while he spent all his time, "...racing an eleven foot plywood dinghy against small children, losing regularly."

Inthe autumn of 1974, a friend invited him to help ferry a small yacht up the west coast of Ireland, and the bug bit even harder. Shortly thereafter, his grandfather died, leaving him "...just enough money to get into debt for a boat," and he immediately decided to go to the 1976 Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). He moved to a gamekeeper's cottage on a river above Cork Harbour and had a boat built at a nearby boatyard. He studied navigation and sailed on other people's boats every chance he got, then, after completing a 1300-mile qualifying voyage from the Azores to Ireland, he persuaded the Race Committee to accept him as an Irish entry.

He completed the race in good form, taking forty-five days, and in 1977 his memoir of the Irish period, Blue Water, Green Skipper was published in London and New York. While sporadically working on the novel, he completed another book, A Romantic's Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland, published in 1979.

Chiefs, Woods' long-awaited novel, was published in 1981 to wide critical and popular acclaim, garnering excellent reviews and winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Chiefs was filmed for television as a six-hour drama starring Charlton Heston. Following his success with that novel, Woods published a string of fiction that established him as one of the most popular writers in the world.

Orchid Beach is Stuart Woods' eighteenth novel. His previous books, Run Before the Wind (1983), Deep Lie (1986), Under the Lake (1987), White Cargo (1988), Grass Roots (1989), Palindrome and New York Dead (1989), Santa Fe Rules (1991), L.A. Times (1992), Dead Eyes (1993), Heat (1994), Imperfect Strangers and Choke (1995), Dirt (1996), Dead in the Water (1997) and Swimming to Catalina (1998) have been translated into Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, Japanese, and Hebrew and there are millions of copies of his books in print around the world. Several of Stuart Woods' novels have been optioned for feature films and television movies.

Stuart Woods lives on the the Treasure Coast of Florida and Litchfield County, Connectict. He still flies his own plane, and sails.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Formerly a cop and now a lawyer, Stone Barrington is plummeting to the bottom of the ocean with an anchor chained to his waist at the start of Woods's 17th novel, a smoothly presented if slight thriller that ambles pleasurably through a kidnapping plot involving Barrington's ex-lover (improbably named Arrington). Her husband, actor Vance Calder, flies Barrington out to Hollywood to help find her. In L.A., Barrington goes from flavor-of-the-minute to persona non grata in less time than it takes a flop to disappear from a multiplex. Naturally he's suspicious, so he starts investigating on his own and finds links aplenty among Calder, a mobster named Onofrio Ippolito (head of the Safe Harbor Bank) and labor fixer David Sturmach. The plot moves quickly and is full of dialogue and genial if unsurprising gibes at self-centered stars. Unsurprising is the key word here. Neither the mystery nor the romantic subplot contributes much in the way of suspense to this pleasant, inoffensive airplane read.
Kirkus Reviews
Even though Stone Barrington is back from the Caribbean, the debonair attorney-adventurer seems to spend half his time, as the title indicates, in the water—though mostly, like the book, treading water or plain floundering.

A panicked call from movie star Vance Calder, who married Stone's longtime lover Arrington Carter three months ago, tells Stone that Arrington has disappeared and begs him for help. But by the time Centurion Studios' private jet lands Stone in La-La Land, Vance is singing another tune: Arrington's fine, she's just overwhelmed by her pregnancy, she's gone away to think things over, she's phoning Vance every day. The first, vastly more entertaining half of the resulting tale is nothing more than a series of artless detours away from Arrington, each detour paved with superlatives. Stone presses flesh with wheeler-dealer David Sturmack, the most powerful man in Hollywood. Centurion boss Louis Regenstein, who thinks Stone would make a great actor, gets him a screen test, the best anybody's ever seen. Even the folks in wardrobe rave. (Stone's a perfect 42 Long.) Meantime, Stone's struck up intimate relations with two strikingly beautiful women whose deepest loyalties aren't to him. He's also taken an instant suspicion to big-time banker Onofrio Ippolito—and so have we, thanks to a heavy-handed prologue that showed Stone plummeting to a watery grave, courtesy of the Ippolito anchor he's chained to. Once Stone gets loose from that anchor, it's time for the second, far more obligatory installment, as he sets about rescuing Arrington, who's obviously been kidnaped, and tracing the crime (and many others) to Ippolito, Sturmack, and Co., with the help of some antique trickery (rescues from sinking ships, bullet-firing pens) that wouldn't have raised an eyebrow in the earliest James Bond films.

Such leftovers don't make very tasty or nutritious fare, not even when the virtues of every predictable scrap are extolled at the top of the author's stentorian voice.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Stone Barrington Series, #4
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x (h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Swimming to Catalina

Chapter One

Elaine's, late. Stone Barrington sat at a very good table with his friend and former partner Dino Bacchetti, who ran the detective division at the NYPD's 19th Precinct, and with Elaine, who was Elaine.

The remnants of dinner were cleared away by Jack, the headwaiter, and brandy was brought for Stone and Dino. It was very special brandy; Dino had the bottle of his own stuff stashed behind the bar, and it annoyed Elaine no end, because she couldn't charge him for it, not that she didn't find other ways to charge him for it.

"Okay, I want to know about Arrington," Elaine said.

"Elaine," Dino interrupted, "don't you know that Stone is still suffering a great deal of emotional pain over Arrington's dumping him?"

"Who gives a fuck?" Elaine asked, quite reasonably. "I want to know how he let her get away. She was something, that girl."

"There's a large body of opinion," Dino said, "that holds that she didn't want to be known as Arrington Barrington."

"And who could blame her?" Elaine asked. "Come on, Stone, spill it."

Stone took a deep breath and sighed. "I have to take a lot of shit from you two, you know?"

"I think you better cough it up," Dino said, "or we're going to start getting tables in Siberia."

"You bet your ass," Elaine confirmed.

Stone sighed again. "It was like this," he said, then stopped.

"Yeah?" Elaine encouraged.

"We were supposed to have ten days sailing in St. Marks in February."

"I never heard of St. Marks," Elaine said. "Where is that?"

"It's a nice little island, tucked between Antiguaand Guadeloupe. Anyway, we were supposed to meet at Kennedy for our flight down, but she got tied up, and she was supposed to be on the next plane, but then the blizzard hit."

"I know about the blizzard," Elaine said, exasperated. "Tell me about the girl."

"While the blizzard was going on she got the New Yorker assignment to do a profile of Vance Calder."

"The new Cary Grant," Dino explained, as if Elaine had no idea who a major movie star was.

"Yeah, yeah," Elaine said.

"Apparently he hadn't given an in-depth interview for twenty years," Stone continued, "so it was quite a coup. Arrington had known Calder for a while—in fact, she was with him at the dinner party where we met."

"So much for social history," Elaine said.

"All right, I'm in St. Marks, sitting on the chartered boat, waiting for Arrington to show up, when this blonde sails in on a big beautiful boat, all by herself. But she had left the Canary Islands with a husband, who was no longer present. So she gets charged with his murder, and I end up defending her."

"Like I don't read a newspaper?" Elaine interjected. "Like the western hemi­sphere didn't read about this trial?"

"All right, all right; I keep getting faxes from Arrington, saying she's all tied up with Calder, then I get a fax saying that she's going to L.A. with him for more research."

" 'Research'; I like that." Elaine smirked.

"So I write her a letter, pouring out my heart, practically asking her to marry me . . ."

" 'Practically'? What is that?" Elaine demanded.

"All right, not in so many words, but I think she would have gotten the idea."

"She didn't get the idea?"

"She didn't get the letter. I gave it to a lady headed for Florida to FedEx for me, and her plane crashed on takeoff."

"Wow, that's the best excuse I ever heard for not writing," Elaine said. "You sure your dog didn't eat it?"

"I swear, I wrote her the letter. Then, before I could write it again, I get a fax from Arrington saying that she and Calder were married in Needles, Arizona, the day before. What am I supposed to do?"

"You were supposed to do it a long time ago," Elaine said. "Why should this gorgeous girl wait around for you to get your ass in gear?"

"Maybe, but there was nothing I could do at this point, Elaine. I was going to trial in a couple of days; the woman's life depended on me."

"The woman might have been better off if you'd gone after Arrington," Dino said, "considering how the trial went."

"Thanks, Dino, I needed that."

"Any time."

"So now Arrington is married to the guy People says is the sexiest man in America, and I'm . . ." His voice trailed off.

"How long they been married?" Elaine asked.

"I don't know—two and a half, three months."

"It's probably too late," Elaine mused. "Unless it's going really badly."

"I've had a couple of letters from her telling me how gloriously it's going," Stone said glumly.

"Oh," Elaine said.

There followed a long silence.

Jack came over to the table. "Phone call for you, Stone," he said, pointing at one of the two pay phones on the wall nearby.

"Who is it?"

"I don't know," Jack replied, "but he's got a beautiful speaking voice on the telephone."

"Must be Vance Calder," Dino deadpanned.

Elaine burst out laughing.

Stone got up and trudged over to the phone. "Hello?" he said, sticking a finger in the other ear to blot out some of the noise.


"Yeah? Who's this?"

"Stone, this is Vance Calder."

"Yeah, sure; Dino put you up to this?"


"Who is this?"

"It's Vance, Stone."

Stone hung up the phone and went back to the table. "Nice," he said to Dino. "Huh?"

"Guy on the phone says he's Vance Calder. Thanks a lot."

"Don't thank me," Dino said. "I never met the guy."

"You put whoever that was up to it, didn't you? It was a setup." He looked at Elaine. "You were probably in on it, too."

Swimming to Catalina. Copyright (c) by Stuart Woods . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Swimming to Catalina 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Swims in the pool... any one here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She hugs back, her eyes still angry.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of course another good stone barrington book.
TerribleTed More than 1 year ago
Another Stone Barrington where he seems to be a less then great investigator. He accepts things and told to him and seems to miss some straightforward clues that someone of his caliber would normally pick up on. He talks as if he is thorough but things happen and he doesn't think them through like say, Dino would. His time away from the force? Too much attorney and not enough cop? I'm trying to see the big picture and also not look at it from a reader point of view. If I was there would I see it? Well, being analytical, I may be a bit more critical, but I also think if I was there and had so many negative things happening, I would be suspicious of anything that moved. He is not so. Then again, where would be the story? He does take on things that show terrific courage. And that's what makes him continuously interesting. The overall story benefits. AKA "The big picture".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good series.....
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the Stone Barrington series - just ordered 5, 6 & 7
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stone Barrington is smarter than everybody in the whole wide world... movie stars, cops, his partner, studio heads, the FBI. In Stuart Woods mind anyway.
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