CONTRABAND  by Stuart Woods


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New York lawyer Stone Barrington (Wild Card, 2019, etc.) celebrates his 50th appearance by bedding two new women, each of whom leads him to criminal complications.

Minding his own business lying on the deck of his yacht off Key West, Stone hears, then sees, an airplane falling from the sky. He dives into the water, pulls the pilot to safety even before a police chopper can arrive, and discovers that the rescue diver is a beautiful woman. Since Detective Max—don’t call her Maxine—Crowley of the Key West Police Department doesn’t believe in one-night stands, she and Stone don’t have sex till their second night together. By that time, someone has already relieved the wrecked plane of the watertight suitcases Stone saw perfectly well as he was grabbing pilot Al Dix, who disappears from the hospital shortly after a woman masquerading as a nurse tries to kill him. It’s only a matter of time before the plane itself vanishes, leading NYPD Commissioner Dino Bacchetti, an old friend of Stone's, to reflect sagely, “missing pilot, missing cargo, and now, missing airplane.” With nothing more than Max’s charms to keep him in Key West, Stone is soon back in New York, where he’s picked up at a bar by clothing designer Roberta Calder, who, on learning that Stone doesn’t sleep with married women, announces that she wants to divorce Randall Hedger, her estranged husband. To avoid an unseemly conflict of interest, Stone hands the proceedings over to his associate Herb Fisher, who’s doing a great job until the murders of Hedger and Robbie’s friend Estelle Parkinson, a socialite, make Robbie’s divorce unnecessary but accentuate her need for legal representation even further when she’s arrested for murder. With this many felonies to keep track of, it’s no wonder the cast consumes a record number of gimlets.

Longtime fans of the series who refuse to hold their breath waiting for these two plots to be connected—this is Woods, after all—will be pleasantly surprised when they do. Who said the age of miracles is past?

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-593-08313-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2019


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