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by Stuart Woods

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-399-17467-4
Publisher: Putnam

A former New York Mafioso who’s fled home to Italy kidnaps the latest inamorata of the redoubtable Stone Barrington (Hot Pursuit, 2015, etc.). Big mistake.

Stone’s flown the Atlantic at an hour’s notice, flirting en route with painter Hedy Kiesler, to vote in favor of opening a new Arrington Hotel in Rome. No sooner have the contracts been signed than trouble erupts. The unfinished hotel already standing abandoned on the site is torched; Stone’s borrowed car is stolen and set alight as well; he gets several increasingly overt threats encouraging him to go home and forget the deal; and it’s clear that they’re coming from Leonardo Casselli, the patriarchal mobster who just hates being called Leo. Packing Hedy off from his hotel bed in Rome to another bed in Paris, Stone stays just long enough to read the riot act in response to Casselli’s suave luncheon offer of extortionate “protection,” threatening him with the extensive resources of Massimo Bertelli’s Italian Anti-Mafia Investigative Department; Stone’s unfathomably wealthy business partner Marcel duBois; his buddy Mike Freeman’s company, Strategic Services; his even closer buddy Commissioner Dino Bacchetti’s New York Police Department; and President Katharine Rule Lee, another close personal friend. Then he hastens back to Rome, leaving Hedy in his Paris house, from which she’s promptly abducted. Stone soon finds out that Casselli’s holding Hedy in an impregnable house on the Amalfi coast; Casselli soon finds out that Stone wasn’t kidding about all those connections.

Apart from all the big names tossed in to cow Casselli, Woods mostly soft-pedals the usual gratuitous inflation and extraneous subplots, keeping things simple, straightforward, and pleasantly predictable.