New York lawyer Stone Barrington, who’s slept his way through 30 fleet, mindless suspensers, comes a cropper with his latest conquest.
In fact, you can’t really call insurance investigator Crane Hart a conquest, since she comes on so strong during the visit she pays Stone's Turtle Bay home to discuss the $500,000 he lost over his most recent inamorata (Standup Guy, 2014) that they’ve retired to his boudoir before the visit is over. It’s only then that the complications begin. Crane isn’t quite divorced after all; her husband, private eye Don Dugan, gets just as fixated on Stone as his wife is, though not in the same way; and despite the best legal help Stone can provide, the estranged couple end up reuniting. Stone would be inconsolable if it weren’t for Ann Keaton, personnel director for first lady Katherine Lee’s presidential campaign, who obligingly follows the tracks in his bedroom carpet, but not before thieves interrupt a swanky party at Ann’s place and relieve most of the high-profile guests of their glitter. Could Dugan be behind the daring robbery? Could he be conspiring with his on-again spouse to worm security information out of well-placed male targets and then put it to larcenous use? Woods can’t resist interrupting this tale for brief, irrelevant glimpses into the lives of semiregulars Teddy Fay, the CIA operative who went spectacularly rogue before he got a secret presidential pardon, and Holly Barker, the CIA assistant director who orders all records of him expunged from the nation’s intelligence database, and for occasional reports on the fortunes of Katherine Lee’s campaign.
Zero mystery, zero ingenuity, very little suspense. But Woods mostly keeps his eye on the ball, which elevates this installment well above the run of his recent work.