L.A. Dead Paperback – Sep 1 2001
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Stuart Woods is a master of the glitzy, high-concept, suspense thriller, and Stone Barrington, hero of five previous mysteries, is the kind of private cop who glides gracefully between lavishly detailed dinners, private jets, fancy parties, sexy assignations in luxury hotels, and the occasional murder investigation. Occasionally he gets his hands dirty, but more often it's his sheets. L.A. Dead finds him in Venice, where he's about to marry the beautiful (but seriously crazy) daughter of a high-ranking Mafioso, whose other daughter happens to be married to Stone's best friend--an NYPD cop, naturally. The civil ceremony's over, but the church wedding is only hours away when Stone is called to L.A., where his former lover has just discovered her husband's dead body. The lover is Arrington (an oddity, given Stone's surname; did Woods just run out of imagination here?), the dead husband is a famous movie star, and everyone believes she killed him. Everyone except Stone, who's still in love with Arrington. He has a helluva time interviewing (and bedding) all the women in her circle, including the dead husband's private secretary, Arrington's best friend, her lawyer's mistress, and a number of Hollywood wives. Jackie Collins does the ladies better, but Stone manages to save the damsel in distress, get rid of his nutty near-wife without offending her father, and wrap up all the details except the most important one. No doubt he's saving that for the next book. In the meantime, Woods's many fans will snap this up and spend the interim wondering: if Stone marries the woman of his dreams, will that make her Arrington Barrington? --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This latest installment in Woods's Stone Barrington thriller series finds the lawyer/sleuth from New York back in Los Angeles on a murder case in which everyone, even the accused, lazes along, enjoying life in sunny Southern California. In his sixth outing (following 1999's Worst Fears Realized), Barrington is surrounded by his usual cast of friends, acquaintances and casual sex partners. The biggest change here is that his ex-lover, Arrington Calder, stands accused of murdering her husband, movie star and renowned man-about-town Vance Calder, found dead of a gunshot wound in the couple's Bel Air mansion. Upon hearing the news, Barrington, in Italy for his imminent wedding to the lovely but unpredictable Dolce Bianchi, rushes to L.A. to take over Arrington's defense. Not much of substance happens next; there's plenty of rambunctious sex, lots of light banter, a few tiffs and a minimal bit of sleuthing. Barrington checks out who left the size-12 shoe imprint near the murder scene and does his best to avoid Dolce, who took exception to her fianc 's sudden departure from the nuptials and is now stalking him. The whole case ends abruptly and with little suspense, and everyone goes along his or her merry way. Woods's desultory plottingDit is never made entirely clear who really killed Vance CalderDand chatty dialogue may not suit hardcore thriller or mystery readers, but Barrington's fans will likely welcome the detective's newest California-chic adventure. Mystery Guild main selection; BOMC and Literary Guild featured selections. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though I think this is fifth book in a series with his main character Stone Barrington, I did not feel at a loss at all for not having read any of his previous books. That alone impressed me, but then add on top of that a story that grabs you and does let go until the thrilling (and surprising) conclusion. Stone Barrington is called to LA to solve the mysterious death of one of Hollywood's biggest actors. The suspect? The true love of Barrington's life.
Woods combines characters that are cops, ex-cops, lawyers, famous actressses, and international smugglers and does it all masterfully. Pick this book up and you likely won't be able to put it back down until it's over. For a light read, it's very entertaining.
Maybe the author has something about CA that he wants to say or maybe this is just his style of writing, but the randomness of people jumping from bed to bed is just dumb. And everyone knows except the wife. Just didn't seem to really grab me.
But let's go deeper. Stone, about to get married, just flies across the country to see his ex, who he supposedly had, on a prior event, retreated from. Why? Other people wanted him to go but why? And Arrington had wanted him to come, but why? Nothing is really hinted or said.
He is a big shot lawyer, and yet he can go where he wants and not have to worry about seeing his clients. Granted, a lot can be done by phone, but a lot can't.
The actions of the main characters seem too easy. Stone is working from the desk of a dead guy on a movie lot. His wife sneaks on the lot and takes pictures of him. Well, she had not been to this lot before. How did she get into the lot and how did she know where the office was?
Why does Stone want to not be in the same house with his ex, yet does not protest when she breaks bail and flies across the country to see him. Oh, there just happens to be a jet waiting to take each back to the west coast.
Another thing I didn't seem to understand. The police and searching a house, and Stone gets there, doesn't ask for a warrant or anything. This book dispelled any and all belief this man can be a lawyer. Conflict of interest is no problem and he seems to only think of the law when is suits.
Dino, well that is a nice character.
The writing is consistently flat, unoriginal and unobservant. Do not expect your mind to be burdened with wit, intriguing observation, occasional social commentary or insight into the character's depth (of which, regrettably, there is none). Any author who has to habitually resort to the adjective "randy" to describe several of his characters... (words fail me)...
The plot is weak, shows no drive, and peters out in a pathetic whimper, long after this reader had lost all interest in its resolution. Not even the whodunit is in any way suspenseful or unpredictable.
Worst of all are the characters. They are shallow, self-centered sociopaths, flatly conceived and lacking of any redeeming value. This applies to the "hero" who shows no moral center or likable qualities, and descends even further with the rest of the cast. Consequently, it is impossible to like any one of them or to become engaged in their personal journey. Brushing up against any one of them would fill me with a compelling desire for a long hot bath!
I certainly did not approach this book expecting great (or even good) literature. Unfortunately, this book turns out to be pathetic in the most unforgivable way: it is bad and does not even realize it!
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed L.A. Dead. This was probably my favorite so far.It was fast paced and a a real thriller. I have read all of his books except L.A. Times. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2010 by Mocan
I am a big fan of Stuart Wood's Stone Barrington series, however, I don't think that this was one of his best. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2003 by Mandy Morreale
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or action book. This book has a strong plot with twists and turns that kept me reading. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2002
Being a newcomer to Stuart Woods books, I've definitely found a writer I like. His characters are true to life, or what I think they probably are like in the movie industry. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by Pat Dubiel
I just started reading Stuart Woods,he's just an explosive writer! This Stone Barrington novel was great! It's a "who done it" and an "are we really married?" all rolled into one. Read morePublished on July 28 2002
Before you even consider reading this book, take the time to read the author's note at the end, which gives great insight into the author's boundless ego. Read morePublished on July 4 2002 by Coreen Wilson
I think one star is not what I'd really like to rate; it should be less than zero (-0, or 0-), like what I had given to "MEG", another horrible book written by certain... Read morePublished on March 21 2002 by justareader
I happened to really enjoy this book. Vinnie Calabrese is one of my favorite Stuart Wood's characters. The book started out in NYC and soon moved to Hollywood. Read morePublished on March 2 2002 by Robert B. Ressler