Now that their sons have gone off to Yale in a blaze of triumph (Son of Stone, 2011), super-lawyer Stone Barrington and his friend Lt. Dino Bacchetti, NYPD, get called back to Washington to do what they do worst: investigate a murder.
Talk about your closed cases. The very day that first lady Katharine Rule Lee’s social secretary Emily Kendrick was found bashed to death, Mimi’s husband Brixton Kendrick hanged himself, leaving behind a note taking full responsibility. Nor did an FBI investigation turn up any new suspects. But President Will Lee’s not satisfied. He wants Stone and Dino to find out the truth. It’s obvious that he’s made a wise choice, because hours after going on the job, Dino finds the murder weapon on the White House grounds, where it had lain unnoticed for a whole year. Stone, pursuing his own distinctive brand of undercover work, learns that Brix was more than the White House manager; he was an insatiable adulterer, one of whose paramours, the one he playfully dubbed “the March Hare,” presumably killed Mimi. This party wouldn’t be complete without some strands left over from Woods’ earlier work (Mounting Fears, 2009, etc.). So utility assassin Teddy Fay, spotted by hapless CIA agent Todd Bacon, rouses himself to offer a mutual nonaggression pact to CIA assistant deputy director Holly Barker. While they’re waiting for this deal to sour, readers get to watch Stone bed Holly and two less fortunate ladies whose deaths mark Stone as a Calamity John and make it obvious, through process of elimination, who the March Hare is.
Acknowledging the fact that everyone in the nation’s capital knows everything about everyone else, Stone and Dino develop a mantra—“It’s Washington”—that serves as the perfect model for another gauge of familiarity—“It’s Woods.”