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Imperfect Strangers [Mass Market Paperback]

Stuart Woods
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 24 1995
Sandy Kinsolving's once-glittering life hangs by a threat; his future depends on his wife's inheritance and whether or not she's about to throw him out on his ear. What he wouldn't give for a solution to his money and marriage problems.

If this were an Alfred Hitchcock movie, the solution would be obvious. Enter a stranger with wife problems of his own, who offers a violent -- and mutually advantageous - proposal.

Them in the time it takes to whisper a word, Kinsolving's normal life ends. What radiates like a mirage before him is wealth, security, and freedom. But lurking in the shadows are a brutal murder he cannot prevent, and a madman who stalks his every waking moment.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Though Woods's (Heat) latest caper provides all the credibility of a soap opera, the novel also offers some of the guilty pleasures attendant to that TV format. When wine merchant Sandy Kinsolving meets art dealer Peter Martindale on a flight from London to NYC (the novel's primary locations), they are inspired by watching Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train to hatch their own version of that classic plot-in which two strangers each agree to commit murder for the other. It seems that both men have "troublesome" wives, so why doesn't Sandy kill Peter's spouse and Peter return the favor? After one lady is duly offed, however, events careen out of control. In fact, so many subsequent episodes occur (many of them preposterous and too tidily handled) that the murder pact gets lost. As often happens in the world of soaps, a glossy veneer lends an air of sophistication-a corner suite at London's Connaught Hotel, a cashier's check for $28 million-and, also, of unreality. (Even the dialogue begins to smack of Noel Coward.) Enjoyable for a time, the tony tinsel is overtaken by a blandness that ultimately undercuts the novel's would-be dramatic and psychological aspects. BOMC, QPB alternates; Harper Audio.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A retake of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train (1951), this would-be thriller by the author of Dead Eyes (HarperCollins, 1994) begins when Sandy Kinsolving and Peter Martindale make a bargain to kill their wives. Before Kinsolving can pull out, his wife is murdered; must he follow through as well? Unfortunately, the author blunts the suspense by allowing his wealthy characters to solve their problems with money rather than wits. Worse, he leaves major plot details unexplained (e.g., Who killed the woman in the gallery, and why? Why did Cara get into the limousine? What happened to the old doorman?) and falls back on a struggle-for-the-gun climax instead of resolution. The fun part of the story involves all the trappings of great wealth: limousines, caviar, chartered jets for cross-country flights, and stays in fancy hotels. For large collections only. [BOMC and Quality Paperback selections; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/94.]-Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
--Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Book but Two Glaring Errors April 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book, having found and bought it on sale at a local bookstore. The concept begins simply enough - two men meet on a trans-Atlantic plane flight, both of them are in unhappy marriages, and they end up making a deal to kill each other's wives. The protagonist of this book, Sandy Kinsolving, decides to back out of the deal, but the other man has something else in mind and goes ahead with his part of the bargain and kills Sandy's wife. The story spirals from that moment on and is, for the most part, quite interesting.
There were two editorial errors though. One: Sandy's wife is killed while he is waiting in a limo for her. While waiting, he takes a mobile phone call from his brother-in-law, but is OFF the phone at the time of the actual killing. However, he and his bro-i-l both tell the police that they were talking at the time ("I was still talking to him [his bro-i-l] when...the doorman came to get me") and that was simply not the case. I thought at first he was trying to cover himself but that was also not the case.
Second error: Sandy states later in the book that his wife had told him that she had pictures of him [commiting adultery]. Well, that never happened, at least in the conversation written in the book regarding why she wants a divorce and I would think that that would certainly be mentioned.
The book is typical Stuart Woods material, meaning certainly enjoyable but nothing worthy of any awards or high praise. I read this one in about 3 hours on a rainy Sunday. So if you enjoy Grisham-ish books and have a few hours to kill, this is certainly for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gotta love Stuart Woods!!!! March 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stuart Woods always gives a quick read, filled with action. This book is no different. Within the first two chapters, the plot of the book is layed out. Sandy Kingsolving and Peter Martindale meet on an airplane. Ironically, they are both having difficulties with their wives, and plot to kill each others wife! They meet and work out the details, but Kingsolving has seconds thoughts and calls the entire thing off. His wife still ends up dead, and Martindale tries to blackmail him.
Will Kingsolving finish through with the plan and kill Martindale's wife next? Or will be go to the police and hope they believe him? Won't you be surprised when you find out just who Sandy is really supposed to kill...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Retread of classic Hitchcock Dec 2 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Woods makes no secret of his inspiration for Perfect Strangers and namechecks the classic Hitchcock movie Strangers on A Train in chapter 2.
The basic premise is identical-two strangers plot to "exchange murders".Alexander Kinsolving runs the wine division of the family liquor company and meets Peter Martindale,an expatriate Brit on a plane from London to New York having been summoned home following a stroke suffered by the nonagenerian patriarch of the family.He fears being pushed aside in the resulting restructuring of the business and divorce proceedings are imminent his wife being ready to sell the wine division to a competitor.Martindale,a gallery owner in Frisco wishes to see his wife killed and secure her personal assets.
Kinsolving reneges on the deal after trying to contact his associate but Martindale carries out the murder of Kinsolving's wife and insists that Kinsolving carry out his part of the bargain.Things get massively complicated when Martindale's wife turns out to be Kinsolvings new lover.Things move to a somewhat perfuntory climax on Alcatraz
The book moves briskly but lacks originality of plot and the prose while économical and brisk is flavourless.
It will serve as a light holiday read but will not linger long in the mind.The book is not helped by Kinsolving -its nominal hero-being a bit of a prig and as usual in these things the villain is altogether a more interesting figure.
Chewing gum for the eyes and OK on this level
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5.0 out of 5 stars Edge of your seat who done it ???? Feb. 3 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If only this one would be made into a movie, I would be the first in line to see it !!!
Stuart Woods at his best !!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Quick and Easy Mystery Aug. 21 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This truly was an 'easy read.' There was suspense but I wouldn't call that the reason for not putting the book down. The story does develop with an interesting twist.
I would have been interested to read of a strong moral problem for Sandy when thinking of his own responsibility in the murder. There doesn't seem to be much angst over any of the deaths in the story. The characters just were not intense.
The story did flow easily from one premise to another. I believe that probably is what makes the book so difficult put down.
I do plan to read another of his stories just to compare the two books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Woods Book Oct. 9 2000
By Drew
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoy reading most Stuart Woods books. This book is no exception. The short chapters and quick character development make this book a quick read. If you are looking for a book to take on a trip to pass the time this is the one for you. With the exception of Dirt and What Lies Beneath, I think you will enjoy this exceptional quick read author.
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