Stone Barrington is back and this time he soon will be in Key West. Having just been dumped by his latest romantic interest the fact that Bill Eggers wants him to go track down the son of a client is a great excuse to get out off New York. Warren Keating needs to finds his estranged son, Evan Keating, so that he can sell the family business. A deal worth millions is at stake and Dad and Son are not on speaking terms. Bill Eggers wants Stone to take the legal paperwork down to Key West, find the son, get him to sign off on everything, get the paperwork back to New York. The whole deal has to be done within the week.
It's the dead of winter and Stone's friend and NYPD Detective Dino Bacchetti jumps at the chance to tag along to Key West. Their plan is to find the son quick and get the work done so they can have a few days to just hang out. Getting to Key West is easy enough since Stone has a private plane. Finding the son is easy enough as well. Then, things get weird and difficult.
This is typical Stone Barrington. Plenty of expensive food is consumed, plenty of expensive liquor, Stone gets action with someone of the female persuasion repeatedly in great detail, and there is plenty of mystery and deception to go around. People die, relationships end, and Stone is bummed for a few minutes before something gets him going again. Introspection is a fleeting concern and is thought of much more than birth control or safe sex.
The very limited complexity and subtly in this book reside with the mystery. An apparent twist that Mr. Woods has repeatedly used before and shouldn't ever again use is used in this novel. Readers familiar with his various series won't be surprised when the twist turns out not to be a twist after all. Once that happens, it becomes a completely formulaic read as events play out exactly as expected with no surprise for the reader.
No doubt a NY Times Bestseller at some point, the latest fluff from Stuart Woods is typical super stud Stone Barrington. If anything, this novel is weaker than the last several novels in this series and shows that it is possible to backslide just went things were looking a bit better from a reader standpoint. It does serve as a momentary distraction and a quick way to pass the time between books of substance. Not that there is anything wrong with that, per se, but one does miss the meatier books that came from Woods early in his career. Lately it would appear that Stuart Woods is doing the exact same thing as this title with his career and he has shown that he can be a much better writer than that.
Kevin R. Tipple (copyright) 2009