Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Stuart Woods

Pub Date: April 21st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-15578-9
Publisher: Putnam

Beneath the excruciatingly apt title lurks a welcome return to detection, more or less, for jet-setting New York attorney Stone Barrington.

Offered a hefty sum to sell the family business, chemist Warren Keating has already won the reluctant blessing of his ancient father Eli. But company rules require him to get the permission of his son as well. That’s a bit awkward, because Warren hasn’t seen Evan since the boy’s college graduation five years ago, and a recent postcard Evan sent from Key West doesn’t sound as if it’s laying the groundwork for a reunion. Deputized to fly to Key West and get Evan’s signature on the appropriate documents, Stone (Shoot Him If He Runs, 2007, etc.) packs light—an easy job since his girlfriend, Tatiana Orlovsky, has just returned to her unworthy husband. With the help of his ex-partner Lt. Dino Bacchetti and Dino’s old buddy Lt. Tommy Sculley, who retired from the NYPD to police Key West, Stone quickly traces Evan to a convenient barstool, makes his pitch and gets decked for his trouble—not by Evan, but by his enterprising girlfriend Gigi Jones. Stone awakens to find comely Dr. Annika Swenson bending over him. Since she doesn’t have any American hang-ups about sex, she’s soon putting Stone through his paces, leaving him panting for sleep and another round of conch fritters. Meanwhile, Evan’s schoolmate Charley Boggs has been identified as a likely drug mule, then becomes a murder victim, and Evan has accused his father of poisoning his later brother Harry, who ran the company, and trying to hire a hit man to kill Evan. For a while everything seems confusing and uncertain. Luckily for Stone’s legion of fans, the guilt is swiftly fixed to a professional killer you just know is going to be left free at journey’s end to decimate the casts of future Stone adventures.

Middling for this wildly uneven series. Readers who quit halfway through won’t miss a thing.