Dirty Work Hardcover – Apr 15 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Woods's new mystery is as sleek and engaging as the upper-class lifestyle of its appealing hero, ex-cop-cum-lawyer-cum-private investigator Stone Barrington. Woods (Blood Orchid) rewards Stone (and readers) by bringing back the beautiful British intelligence agent, code-named Carpenter, who first appeared in The Short Forever, the preceding book in this series. But Carpenter brings Stone more than hot sex and clever dinner conversation-she inadvertently draws him into her life-and-death struggle with one of the world's most efficient and intelligent female assassins, La Biche. While on assignment for lawyer Stone, attempting to photograph an adulterous husband in flagrante delicto, a clumsy assistant gets into trouble and falls into the hands of the NYPD and British Intelligence. Stone's pal and ex-partner from his early days on the NYPD, detective Dino Bacchetti, aids in extricating the assistant, but the incriminating photographs soon involve both men in the hunt for La Biche, who is out to kill Carpenter and avenge an old wrong. Friend and foe alike feed outright lies to Stone and Dino as the chameleonic lady assassin piles body upon body. Woods writes in a dry, witty style that keeps all his characters on a likable keel. The amusing repartee between Stone and Dino is memorably funny. In the end, Stone supplies a surprising dose of morality, and the reader finds that there is more to the story than flesh, flash and derring-do.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Barrington returns to New York, where the philandering husband he's asked to investigate turns up dead.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Probably the reason for the improvement is that Stone is not as obsessed with bedding every woman he sees and instead is actually more interested in the actual mystery. Unlike recent books, Stone is practically monogamous, which in itself is an interesting change-of-pace. In fact, Stone comes off more human than usual and not always very likable, especially when he is practically ready to abandon a photographer who he has hired when his employee's mission goes awry.
If this book is better, it is not without its significant flaws. Stuary Woods puts out over two books a year and his speedy writing pace often shows. This is a book that is a fast read (I can't remember the last time it took me more than a day to read one of his books), but not a very deep one. Certain plot points rely on contrived accidents, perhaps none more gratingly than when the whole story turns on an utterly minor character misplacing a fax.
In the end, this is a novel for Woods/Barrington fans only. For those who find the story interesting at all, I think a better read along a similar line (main character versus a female assassin with whom he has a bond) is John Sandford's Certain Prey and Mortal Prey from his Lucas Davenport series. Dirty Work is, on the other hand, a weak three star effort.
In any event the job is botched but one poor photograph of the encounter between a straying husband (of the client) and a "masseuse" appears to be the face of an international chameleon-like assassin (get ready for the play on words) code name "La Biche."
This starts an exciting ball rolling that creates a series of murders, sex, but no Rock 'n Roll. You'll have to see George Pelecanos for that. Nonetheless, while perhaps not riveting certainly a great airplane read, and at a minimum, magnetic. The only portion I found truly unbelievable was Barrington's moralizing at the end. I mean he's a lawyer for God's sake.
At any rate, good stuff. I'll read more of Mr. Woods and take advantage of some of the readers' citations to other good Barrington tales. Four stars. Larry Scantlebury
I guess he shot his literary wad in his first novel?
Several years ago I picture this conversation:
Woods accountant: You know you can write off money you spend doing research for your books on your tax returns?
Woods accountant: Yep, if you are writing a book about the tropics then you can fly there to do research on the hotels, night life, etc. Heck, you can even do research right here in New York!
I am sure Woods DOES have a table saved for him at Elaine's - he HAS to mention her in every Stone novel. Sometimes it is so obvious that it does not fit into the rest of the story. Also naming the waitstaff probably does wonders for his service - but what junk for the reader.
Once Woods started his "let us write this off as research" kick Stone gets to fly everywhere and stay at the best hotels and resorts and always eat at the best restaurants - all of which are name-dropped in the book. Partly to tell us how rich the author is and I am sure so he can write it off.
How convenient that the photog skips out to St. Thomas! Good thing he didn't run off to Fargo or something or Stone/Woods would not have even bothered to chase after him.
To get an extra Elaine's mention in, Woods has "Carpenter", Stone, and Dino meet there - even though 2 of them KNOW the assassin is trying to ID Stone from a newspaper story! As soon as Stone finds out they leave (without eating) and go to another restaurant (also named).Read more ›
As usual, a woman from Stone's past shows up out of nowhere and is in his bed within the first few pages of the book. There's nothing new there (other than no coincidental appearance by Arrington at the most inopportune time). The rest is what sends the book into the depths of ridiculousness.
British intelligence is working to track a serial assassin who's been killing their own, and Carpenter (Stone's latest conquest) is next on the list. No one's been able to get a handle on "La Biche" for years. Yet within five seconds, Stone has not only managed to easily track down her cellphone number, but to call her and arrange to meet her so he can be her liaison to safety. Yes, I'm sure a serial assassin is going to take an out-of-the-blue call from a hot-shot NY attorney (who's sleeping with her latest target, no less), put all her trust and faith into him, and allow him to take over her affairs and her life.
As usual, Stone barks orders and people jump. He demands a meeting with Carpenter and her boss, the head of British Intelligence, and not only do they agree to it, but they agree to every demand Stone makes for the meeting. The assassin goes along with every silly plan he comes up with, and actually considers giving up her life of crime after a few kind words from Stone. He orders around the NYPD and the FBI, tags along with Dino on police investigations and generally makes a nuisance of himself.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Stuart Woods knocks out a winner! I have read several of his books and like them all but prefer the Stone Barrington series which are a combination of detective, mystery, espionage... Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2009 by Douglas P. Murphy
If this book is worthy of 4 stars and considered to be very good for its genre, then the murder-mystery genre is surely lacking in creativity, drama, intelligence,and scope of... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2004
this is the first book featuring stone barrington that I read..and do the pages ever fly by! the book starts off in a totally different place than where it ends up.. Read morePublished on June 29 2004 by Matthew Schiariti
This is the first Stuart Woods book I have read (listened to) and it will be my last. I thought it was lame and unbelieveable. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2003
I must agree with two of the other 1 star reviews. This was the MOST ridiculous of ALL Stone Barrington novels. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003
I came across this book as a member of an online book club, and was hooked after the first two chapters. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2003 by Jerry L. McGahagin
While the core charachters are still the same: Stone, Dino, Elaine; the new ones are less developed and less interesting. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2003