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Jet-setting New York attorney Stone Barrington’s old acquaintances present him with a fistful of new problems.

Herbie Fisher, the most clueless member of the New York bar (Fresh Disasters, 2007), turns up in Elaine’s announcing that he’s won a $30 million lottery prize, shoving a handbag full of hundreds in Stone’s face and insisting that he needs a lawyer of his own because somebody wants to kill him. Moments later, he’s followed by Dame Felicity Devonshire of MI6 (Capital Crimes, 2003), who offers Stone the relatively piddling sum of £100,000 to find Stanley Whitestone, who since retiring from Her Majesty’s Secret Service a dozen years ago has been selling classified information on the open market. Since Felicity offers a sweetener Herbie can’t hope to match, Stone agrees to her terms as quickly as he declined Herbie’s. Next morning, he awakens to find that he’s inadvertently accepted both clients. If Herbie’s constant demands for help and Felicity’s for sex aren’t draining enough, Stone also learns that Dolce Bianchi, the homicidal Mafia princess to whom he was once married for a heartbeat (L.A. Dead, 2000), has stabbed her minder and gone off the rez, presumably gunning for Stone and his ladylove. Things get even more complicated when Jim Hackett, the security expert Felicity is convinced is really Stanley Whitestone, takes to Stone so warmly that he offers him a job at his firm, Strategic Services, creating what passes for moral conflict in Woods’s world of frothy wish-fulfillment. Will Stone ace his first assignment for Security Services by qualifying to fly Hackett’s private jet? Will he, and should he, convince Felicity that Hackett isn’t Whitestone? Will Herbie get killed? If he isn’t, will Stone be able to spring him from a jail cell? And what will become of Dolce, armed, dangerous and demented?

Some of these riddles are handily resolved, others fade away, and then this weightless tale is done, setting the stage for the inevitable next installment.

Pub Date: April 20th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-15644-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2010


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