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High-rolling New York attorney Stone Barrington takes on a brace of transparently simple cases that just won’t stay solved.

When fresh-minted attorney Herbie Fisher, who clearly passed the bar exam through an act of God or cheating, is picked up by two goons in order to inquire about his $24,000 gambling marker, he promptly announces his intention of suing their boss, mob chief Carmine Dattila. Fat chance, scoffs Stone, who finds out the next morning that he’ll be handling the case, beginning with the requirement of personally serving Dattila the Hun with the papers. Even with Herbie as witness, the mounting pile of evidence against Dattila is bound to send him to jail—assuming, of course, that he doesn’t have Herbie killed first. Instead of going after Stone’s life too, Dattila arranges for his lawyer, Bernie Finger, to hassle Stone, with the result that Stone’s soon handling Mrs. Finger’s divorce action against her husband. Meanwhile, Celia Cox, the second masseuse who’s offered to give Stone a rubdown (the first turned out to be shacking up with Bernie) confides in him that she’s being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, abusive sculptor Devlin Daltry. Once more, the case against Daltry seems to be airtight, but like Herbie’s lawsuit and Bernice Finger’s divorce action, it keeps springing leaks that can only be patched up by extraordinary means. Stone enjoys sex with so many women with tight cleavages and loose morals—the second masseuse, the ER physician who patches him up after a hit-and-run, an ADA who gets hot just talking about the perps she’s going to put away—that the title could just as well have been Fresh Meat.

No pretense of mystery, and more closure than Stone’s recent adventures (Dark Harbor, 2006, etc.), though pesky Herbie is still on the loose at the fadeout. Middling for this wildly uneven series.

Pub Date: April 10th, 2007
ISBN: 0-399-15410-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2007


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