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STANDUP GUY by Stuart Woods


by Stuart Woods

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16415-6
Publisher: Putnam

New York attorney Stone Barrington (Doing Hard Time, 2013, etc.) reaps the whirlwind after advising a walk-in client how to live safely on several million dollars in ill-gotten gains.

John Fratelli is a stand-up guy. Jailed 25 years ago for armed robbery, he did his time, kept his mouth shut and patiently waited to get out. Now he’s out, along with the key to a safe deposit box his cellmate, Eduardo Buono, bequeathed him. The box contains Buono’s disproportionate share of the proceeds from the robbery of the freight terminal at JFK (remember that?), and Fratelli, who’s heard that Stone’s a stand-up guy too, wants his advice about what to do with it. Stone gives him some elementary pointers and sends him on his way. Fratelli’s danger seems minimal, since the statute of limitations has long run out on the heist. But evidently not for a pair of Secret Service agents who get interested in the case; or for a retired FBI agent who’s determined to cut himself in; or for wiseguy Onofrio "Bats" Buono, who thinks that as Eddie’s nephew, he’s entitled to the money himself. So Fratelli keeps phoning Stone for more advice, and every conversation enmeshes Stone more deeply in his troubles. Which would be fine if Stone weren’t also fielding big-deal calls from British fashion designer Emma Tweed, who wants to know how to catch whoever’s stealing her designs, and Katherine Rule Lee, the first lady who wants Stone to help her launch her otherwise hush-hush candidacy to succeed her husband as president.

The subplots lead nowhere, and the main upshot of Fratelli’s little problem is some uncharacteristically salty language.