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The Short Forever Paperback – Jan 28 2003
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Stone Barrington, Stuart Woods's suave, urbane series hero, is approached by an enigmatic new client, John Bartholomew, who hires him for what looks like an easy assignment: find his young niece, who's living somewhere in London with a shady character liable to involve her in his illegal activities, and persuade her to return to New York with Barrington. Handing him a ticket on the Concorde and an unlimited expense account, Bartholomew sets Stone on a chase in which identifying who's the predator and who's the prey turns out to be the key to solving a puzzling mystery involving two American spies and a great deal of money.
As usual, Stone wraps it up without getting his tuxedo nearly as wrinkled as the sheets on his bed, which he shares with a bevy of beautiful women including two old girlfriends and one new one. Woods is a lively, engaging, and reliable writer whose bestselling thrillers feature plenty of eye candy, brand names, and plots that don't tax the brain but do make the most of his narrative gifts. Look elsewhere for high art, but this is high entertainment. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In recent Woods bestsellers like Cold Paradise, N.Y.P.D. detective-turned-PI Stone Barrington has gone upscale in lifestyle, international in expertise. This time, mogul John Bartholomew hires Stone to fly to London and persuade his niece, Erica, to leave her cocaine-smuggling boyfriend, Lance Cabot, and to make sure Lance winds up in jail. Dapper Stone charms Erica, who offers to set him up with her sister, Monica, and then introduces him to Lance. With help from two British investigators, Stone learns John Bartholomew is not who he seems: not only is he not Erica's uncle, he's really CIA biggie Stan Hedger. Confronted, Stan owns up, revealing that Lance is an ex-CIA agent who blew ops, ran with cash and nearly killed him. Meanwhile, Monica asks Stone to a country weekend with Lance and Erica at what turns out to be the manse of his old flame, Sarah Buckminster, who previously dodged a New York bombing and is now engaged to a megatycoon. The fog thickens when Stone's N.Y.P.D. pal Dino Bacchetti flies over to smooth out the beating death of one of Stone's investigators and Scotland Yard brings in MI6, who suspect Lance is after a top-secret military device for a Mideast client. Woods may have left behind the police action of L.A. Dead, but he churns up plenty of conflict and twisted plotting in this speedy tale. Several bombshell revelations and multiple resolutions combine with the cinematic plot for a perfect flight or beach read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Stone leaves the US and the niece, Erica Burroughs, is found rather quickly. But then the plot thickens. She has no uncle. Stone is stumped. He soon finds himself embroiled in a puzzling case, where most of the pieces don't add up. Just who is his client John Bartholomew? And what does he want with Erica and her drug-smuggling boyfriend Lance Cabot?
Erica introduces the dashing detective to her sister Monica, and things heat up. And the appearance of two former lovers unsettles Stone, especially when old flame Sarah Buckminster hosts a weekend get-together with her fiancé James and invites Erica, Monica, Lance and Stone. But fun and games turns swiftly into tragedy as a boating accident claims a life. Then more bodies turn up and Stone is thrown headfirst into an international dilemma.
Best Selling author Stuart Woods delves deep into his characters, giving them plausible backgrounds and emotions. He creates means, motive and opportunity for each suspect and gives you just the right mix of action, suspense and romance. This page-turner contains every element that makes an excellent suspense and Woods drives home the twists at every possible corner.
If you're looking for a good read, with interesting, quirky and multi-faceted characters and tons of fast-paced action, pick up a copy of The Short Forever. Kudos, Mr. Woods!
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, [...]
The plot is bad, and gets worse as it goes along. I stuck it out till the end, hoping for some kind of surprise, but it never climaxes, just fizzles out. But the biggest problems for me are the characters and the dialogue. Characters are extremely one-dimensional, and even the lead is never flushed out. And really, PEOPLE DON"T TALK LIKE THIS, and if they do, I don't care to read about them. The dialogue is simply terrible.
I've given this some thought, and I came up with this comparison (maybe it's the British setting that did it). IF Roger Moore is your favorite James Bond, then you will probably like this book. Woods' writing is on a par with Moore's acting. But if you have any taste, and you like Connery or even Brosnan better, or you want something with more meat than any Bond flick, then skip this fluff, and go get some Parker (Robert or T Jeff) or LeHane, or SJ Rozan, or Connelly, or anybody, really.
In this book, one of the partners sends Stone a client. The guy is apparently rich, and he wants a niece in London protected from her boyfriend, a shady character who's smuggling drugs. Stone's assignment is to go to London, and get the boyfriend arrested for something legitimate, thereby getting him out of the picture as far as the girl is concerned.
Only nothing is what it seems, of course. The guy isn't the girl's uncle, the boyfriend isn't smuggling drugs, and basically everything turns out to be a lot more dangerous than Stone had planned. Of course the romantic entanglements get a bit complicated, and of course Stone has various problems with the local constabulary (who think he killed an ex-cop), and of course there are various spies and other individuals tripping through the story all over the place.
This is the most complicated novel Stuart Woods has ever written, I think. It shows. There are several plot threads that aren't taken to any conclusion at the climax of the book, and the conclusion, while generally satisfying, is a bit mundane and unsuspenseful. There are several interesting characters you want to see again (including a British girl spy named Carpenter), but there are also developments in Stone's life (Arrington's back, and his girlfriend left him).
This is, to be frank, an average Stuart Woods novel...not as suspenseful as some, but more complex than most. I would recommend it.
As with every Barrington novel, the Short Forever begins at Elaine's, late. Stone's girlfriend from the previous book dumps him to marry a rich guy (not unlike what his previous and recurring girlfriend Arrington once did), which causes a single night of grief before Stone recovers and goes to England on a case. In England, he gets one new lover and two old ones (including Arrington) and since three women aren't enough, he eventually hits on a fourth one, although not much happens with that one (I think that's being saved for another book).
Somewhere in all this, Stone also gets in the middle of two spies, one retired and out to sell a mysterious weapon, and the other out to stop him at any cost. For Stone, this is often more of a distraction than a regular case, but it does get him tangled up with some murders and other crimes.
This is the so-called beach read, light and entertaining and a fast read, but far from spectacular. Woods is very good at these novels, but the Barrington novels are not his best writing. In fact, almost all his other works are better. Nonetheless, this is not a bad book and will keep you amused even if you know it's not very good either.
Most recent customer reviews
This isn't a mystery novel. That is the first thing one should understand if one chooses to read this book. It would barely qualify as a procedural in my opinion. Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by barbre
To say Stuart Woods is a good storyteller is like saying Tiger Woods is a good golfer. This is another is what is becoming a long line of terrific and highly readable novels. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004
I came across this author as a member of an online book club, and was hooked on Woods' main character of Stone Barrington after reading his latest ("Dirty Work"). Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2004 by Jerry L. McGahagin
Stone Barrington is hired by an odd client previously unknown to him. He arrives in London on a mission he thinks he understands, but later realizes he has no idea. Read morePublished on July 29 2003 by Ineffablesquirrel
This Stone Barrington novel does not disapoint. Stone is, as always, a James Bond-type hottie, and you gotta love him. Read morePublished on June 27 2003
The Short Forever by Stuart Woods is just one of the many books written by him with the character "Stone Barrington." Stone is an ex-cop turned investigator for a law firm. Read morePublished on April 24 2003
Woods spends 200 pages building suspense and actually kept my interest setting up a bizarre mystery filled with shady characters and descriptions of London lifted straight out of... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2003 by M. Chang