News flash: Superlawyer Stone Barrington, that sworn enemy of deferred gratification, wakes up in substandard accommodations, and he’s alone!
Stone is an unwitting guest of the U.S. Embassy in Paris, which took him in when he was found wandering the streets of the City of Lights in a fog. Who drugged Stone into amnesia, and why? Why does he have a dinner engagement with art curator Amanda Hurley and another with millionaire auto manufacturer Marcel duBois? What was he doing on a flight to Paris in the first place, and what happened during the four days he can’t remember? These are promising questions, and in the hands of another novelist, they’d drive the story. In Woods’ (Collateral Damage, 2013, etc.), however, they’re just a batch of red herrings whose answers turn out to be inconsequential (Amanda Hurley, the reason for Stone’s trip) or obvious (Marcel duBois, the question of who drugged Stone). Once they’ve been disposed of, Woods can get down to the real business at hand: a deal between Stone and duBois to duplicate the wildly successful Arrington Hotel in a dozen locations far from Los Angeles. Signing all those papers and scoping out possible locations brings duBois to America, where he and Stone can serve the infinitely less interesting function of providing target practice for the nefarious Russian gangster Yuri Majorov and his minions in between rounds of acquiring ever more creature comforts.
“I will dine out on the stories for years,” vows duBois as he heads back to Paris. Fans of Stone’s well-upholstered, featherweight adventures can only marvel at how well this installment’s title would suit them all.