A favor New York attorney Stone Barrington agrees to do for a friend who’s a powerful political veteran causes an unexpected amount of grief to everyone but Stone.
Joe Adams used to be vice president and then, more briefly, president. Now that the Alzheimer’s that took him out of politics is finally catching up with him, he wants Stone to take custody of a dauntingly reinforced briefcase filled with—well, he won’t say exactly what. It turns out that an awful lot of other people are interested in the contents of that case, from former Russian CIA mole Ed Rawls, who’s been living below the radar near Stone’s Maine digs, to Christian St. Clair, who’s willing to spend a significant fraction of his obscene wealth to bankroll the presidential campaign of online entrepreneur Nelson Knott. As Knott launches the Independent Patriot Party, which promises to take an outsider’s wrecking ball to the D.C. establishment, diverse hirelings’ increasingly determined attempts to wrest the locked case away from Stone make him wonder whether its contents could compromise his old friend Kate Lee’s re-election bid—or whether the threat is to Knott’s own straight-shooting candidacy. The stakes are so high that Stone has hardly a free moment to propose marriage to CIA chief Holly Barker, the most durable of his recent stable of lovers, before dashing the hopes of the would-be thieves for good.
An unusually strong premise, and this time Woods keeps his eye on the ball, ignoring the siren call of consumer spending that sank Sex, Lies & Serious Money (2016) and so many others, plotting as if he actually means it. Warning, though: some ripped-from-the-headlines elements may extend fans’ post-election blues.