Ex-cop Stone Barrington comes face-to-face with his worst, most horrible fear when the women in his life begin dropping like flies, each falling victim to an unknown assailant. Why is this happening? As the bodies pile up, it becomes shockingly clear that revenge is the name of Barrington's latest, deadliest game.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Woods's breezy and irreverent brand of detective fiction, full of mischievous asides, plays especially well as audio drama. He's in top form here, having returned to his popular hero, Stone Barrington, a retired cop-turned-investigator who works in tandem with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti. Barrington, a lady-killer, is the ultimate smoothy, while Bacchetti, streetwise and jaded, is a rough diamond. Together, the two track a killer on a wanton Manhattan murder spree. He's left a trail of beautiful women with their throats slashed. What's more, the killer is waging a personal vendetta against the investigators, holding a grudge from a long-ago case they worked. Barrington, ever the flirt, gleans essential knowledge by wooing well-placed ladies along the way: amorous hijinks play against murderous mayhem. Narrating is veteran Broadway actor Roberts (he has read several previous Woods titles for Harper Audio), who spiritedly pushes his characterizations to the hilt. For Barrington, however, Roberts reserves a world-weariness befitting the fatigue of a lifelong dick who has seen all too many murders. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Best-selling author Woods (Dead in the Water) returns with his 19th novel and fifth Stone Barrington adventure. The Manhattan lawyer turned investigator faces an indictment for the murder of a woman he's just met. When other brutal murders quickly pile up--all women connected to him or his best friend, Dino Bacchetti of the 19th Precinct--Stone knows that one of a cop's worst fears has been realized: a con with a grudge is bent on vengeance. While trying to save the lives of the women he cares about, Stone struggles to track down the killer and head off a DA who's out to get him for murder. With sharply drawn characters, a plot that's satisfying to the last dirty deed, and a story that flows with the effortless grace attained only by a master, this seductive novel will have readers twitching with suspense. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [A Mystery Guild main selection and Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternate selection.]--Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Erratic Woods, whose 18 previous thrillers make up perhaps the spottiest backlist in the business, nose-dives in this plush, absurd slice of Serial Killer Lite. The morning after cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington (Swimming to Catalina, 1998, etc.) returns from getting takeout Chinese for Susan Bean, the comely ADA who picked him up at a party, to find her throat cut, he learns that his secretary, Alma Hodges, has been killed on the street outside his place. Next, Stone's neighbor, bank VP Miranda Hirsch, is slain while he and his ex-partner, Lt. Dino Bacchetti, alertly watch her vacuum her apartment in the nude, and Dino's wife Mary Ann barely escapes with her life from another lethal attack. Clearly, the boys decide, somebody they put away once is out to kill everybody close to them. How does Stone feel about all this mayhem? "I'm extremely well," he tells painter Sarah Buckminster the next morning on her return from Europe, and why not? After all, his immediate future holds impulse cash purchases of an armored Mercedes and a terrific little cottage in Connecticut, not to mention some fabulous sex with Sarah, who's inspired this shopping spree. And when Sarah, worn down by the rigors of the stalked life in New York, returns to her native England, leaving Stone to help Dino deal with the stalker, Dino's sister-in-law, Mafia princess Dolce Bianchi, is waiting in the wings to take up the slack in Stone's love life. Meanwhile, the presumed perp, wife-killing accountant Herbert Mitteldorfer, has been released from prison just in time to slow his murderous campaign to an adagio while Stone catches up on the finer things in life and, aided by Dolce's flashing eyes, fends off hisex-girlfriend Arrington Carter's tearful confession that she wants to leave her movie-star husband and baby son and come back to him. Male fantasy at its most narcissistic, with just enough mystery to substitute for foreplay.
Read an Excerpt
The pain lay buried somewhere in the depths of Stone Barrington's upper body; a cross between a slipped disc and a coronary, it seemed. It had begun after a phone conversation early in the previous winter. The call, from Arrington Carter, had ended everything. Now she was the wife of another man, living in his house, rearing his son. He would never see her again, except in her husband's company, and he would never think of her again without feeling the pain.
He had never believed it would persist into the following spring, but it had. If anything, it was worse. He saw Dino a couple of times a week, always at Elaine's. Dino was his closest friend--sometimes, he felt, his only friend. Not true, of course. Elaine was his friend, and the evenings in her restaurant, with Elaine and Dino, were the only bright spots in his week. His law practice had lately been boring, a personal injury suit that dragged on and on, a bone thrown to him by Woodman & Weld, because there wasn't enough meat on it to nourish a firm with thirty partners and a hundred associates. They were ready to go to trial, and the expected settlement offer had not materialized. It was depressing. Everything was depressing. And the pain continued, assuaged only by bourbon, and he had done too much assuaging lately. He sat at table number five, at Elaine's, with Dino, and ordered another assuagement.
"Let's go to a party," Dino said. "Have your next one there."
"I don't feel like going to a party with a lot of cops," Stone said.
"It's not a cop party."
"You don't know anybody but cops," Stone said.
Dino caught the waiter's eye and signaled for a check. "I know lots of people," he said.
"Name three who aren't cops or Mafiosi."
"It's not a Mafia party, either," Dino said, dodging the question.
"Whose party is it?"
"It's at a deputy DA's."
"Oh. Then we get to bring our own booze."
"His name is Martin B-r-o-u-g-h-a-m," he spelled, "pronounced 'Broom,' and he's got some money, I think."
"Isn't he handling the Dante trial?" Dante was a crime boss, and his trial was the most important since Gotti's.
"He got a conviction this afternoon."
"I hadn't heard."
"Don't you watch the news anymore?"
"The party is to celebrate the conviction."
"How come I don't know Brougham?"
"Because he runs with a classier crowd than you're accustomed to. The only seedy lawyers he meets are in court."
"Who are you calling a seedy lawyer?"
"How many lawyers are at this table?"
"I am not a seedy lawyer; I just take seedy cases. There's a difference."
"Whatever you say," Dino said, standing up and reaching for his raincoat. "Let's get out of here."
"I don't want to," Stone grumbled.
"You don't want to do anything, you desolate fuck, and I can't stand it anymore. Now put your coat on and come with me, or I'll just shoot you here and now. Nobody would ever prosecute me; it would be justifiable homicide."
"Oh, all right," Stone said, struggling to his feet and grabbing his coat. "One drink, if the guy serves decent booze. Then I'm out of there."
The apartment was a duplex in the East Sixties, definitely not the preserve of an assistant DA.
"You're right," Stone said, as they handed their coats to a maid. "He's got money. There's at least a million dollars of art hanging in this room."
"What are you, his insurance agent?" Dino whispered. "Try and have a good time, okay?"
"Tell me more about this guy," Stone said.
"Word is, he's up for chief deputy DA, and he's going to run for DA, if the old man ever retires."
"He'll grow old waiting," Stone said.
A handsome man of about forty spotted Dino and came across the room, towing a tall blond woman in a Chanel suit.
"Dino," he said, shaking hands. "I'm glad you could make it. You remember Dana."
The woman shook Dino's hand. "Who's this?" she asked, turning her gaze on Stone.
"This is Stone Barrington, Dana. Stone, this is Martin and Dana Brougham."
"How do you do?" Stone said mechanically, shaking their hands.
"I've heard of you," Brougham said, steering Stone and Dino toward the bar. "You were Dino's partner at the Nineteenth Precinct a while back, weren't you?"
"A while back," Stone echoed. "After I left the force they had to kick him upstairs; nobody else would ride in the same car with him."
"You're over at Woodman and Weld, aren't you?"
"I'm of counsel, to them," Stone replied, "but Woodman and Weld would probably rather you didn't know it." It was a remark he wouldn't have made if he had been entirely sober.
Brougham laughed. "What are you drinking?"
"Wild Turkey on the rocks, if you have it."
Brougham grabbed a bottle that looked like a crystal decanter and poured Stone a double. "This is Wild Turkey, but it's got a leg up on the standard stuff."
Stone tasted the whiskey. The man was right. This stuff cost thirty bucks a bottle; he was beginning to like Brougham.
A couple arrived at the front door, and Brougham went off to greet them. "Wander around," he said. "Meet some people."
Stone looked around. The room was jammed with people, and somebody was playing the piano rather well. "I see at least four cops," he said to Dino.