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Home Reviews Book Reviews Why I’ve read my last Stuart Woods book

Why I’ve read my last Stuart Woods book

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User Rating: / 16
If you’ve followed New York Times best-selling author Stuart Woods’ alter-ego Stone Barrington for any length of time, you know several things.

He’s a ladies man; he’s a former police officer turned attorney to the rich and famous; he lives in a beautifully restored brownstone in New York City; he owns and flies airplanes; his sidekick is a police detective named Dino Bacchetti; the love of his life is Arrington Calder, young widow of a famous movie star; he and Arrington have a son, Peter, but everyone thinks Peter belongs to Arrington’s late husband. And, Stone’s rich.

In “Son of Stone,” Arrington has decided it’s time for Peter to know his real father, so she sends the boy to New York for the holidays for a get acquainted trip.

In the meantime, Arrington’s being hounded by an unhinged former boyfriend, foreshadowing a violent confrontation. In addition to the boyfriend, Arrington is dealing with the real possibility that her cancer has returned.

Once Arrington joins the boys in New York, Stone has an epiphany. The three of them should be a proper family. After all, the boy did walk by a photo of his grandfather and realize he looked a lot like the man in the picture frame. Within a few pages, Stone’s proposed, Arrington’s accepted, Peter’s OK with it and they settle into married life.

Does this plot sound just a little bit unrealistic and too good to be true? It gets worse.

When Arrington is ripped from their lives, neither Stone nor Peter seem to do much grieving. They just go on with their perfect lives. Peter, a film buff, continues working on his first movie deal, which will end up netting him $20 million, thanks to some pretty powerful string-pulling by his new daddy.

Stone inherits all of Arrington’s millions. What to do with all that money? Well, he becomes the merry widower, of course.

In the next book, “D.C. Dead,” set for release in January 2012, which the publisher sent me for preview, Stone teams up with his former lover, Holly Barker, to solve a double murder in the nation’s capital. Arrington’s not even cold in the ground, but Stone being Stone, you know he and Barker are doing more than looking for clues.

That Woods could dispatch a main character from a long-running series with such disregard is just one more nail in the coffin he’s been building for himself the past 10 years or so.

Save your money and your precious reading time. Strike Woods off your list. Permanently.

Comments (11)Add Comment
Shoot Him If He Runs
written by a guest , December 30, 2013
Just finished reading Shoot Him If he Runs. Itr's crap.

Shallow characters. Nonsensical and unrealistic plots. Trite all around.

Try James Lee Burke for some good reading. Really good reading.
written by a guest , September 30, 2013
The reason a few people think that SW made a mistake about Stone's child is that Arrington told him it was a girl to throw him off the trail. She just didn't want him to know that son had been born, but as the books progress, the reader discovers the truth.
Stuart Woods books
written by a guest , September 14, 2013
Sheesh people it's fiction. As of today I have all the Stone Barrington series and have enjoyed them immensely. He has two new ones coming out soon and wiil purchase them too. If you want "realistic" read non-fiction.smilies/grin.gif
Devil's Advocate
written by a guest , September 04, 2013
Something about all this kvetching is too pat, especially for the mystery reader. Aren't we supposed to be asking, Why is Stone doing this? Without the groveling and depression of modern fiction, Stone just keeps going on, making mistakes, hardly ever learning, and collecting money, art, women and wild times with the CIA. We as readers need to ask WHY? Because that is the chapter that hasn't yet been written, so we as readers must fill it in.
A reader
written by a guest , June 28, 2013
Unfortunately, I also agree after reading only one SW book, Unintended Consequences. It's full of self-indulgence, the use of public agencies for corporate profit, casual sex in posh surroundings, and rote pot boiler violence followed by lavish dinners -- and of course there are the servants, the expensive cars...
Repetition Breeds Contempt
written by a guest , May 15, 2013
I agree with all of the above.
Every time someone flies a plane, we have to wade through every detail of the pilot's actions. (Obviously, Stuart Woods is a pilot.) Everyone went to Mount Holyoke, and was born in Delano, Georgia. Everyone has green beans for dinner (haricots vert) and cooks risotto. Almost everyone drinks Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame or Amarone, buys suits at Ralph Lauren and shirts at Turnbull & Asser, and drives Mercedes Maybachs.

Talk about lazy!

Obviously, Woods is writing about himself, not a fictional character.

What really annoys me is that he takes a jerk-off like Herbie Fischer, and makes him into a paragon of virtue in Unnatural Acts. It's not only unbelievable, it's insulting.

Everyone gets incredibly rich, of course, but Stone Barrington eschews wealth, turning down compensation for his fire-bombed vacation home, and numerous jobs he's done, including this last one for the President of the United States.

Stone Barrington, besides thinking mostly with his little head, keeps making the same mistakes. People (mostly his lovers) get killed because he fails to see the danger. "Come to my vacation home. No one knows about it," he repeatedly says. This after losing one of them.

Maybe people are that stupid, but I'd expect more of a man who spent 14 years on the N.Y.P.D., most of them as a homicide detective.

I guess what really surprises me is not Stuart Woods' laziness, it's the incompetence of his two editors.

More than enough said, I think.
Ghost writer??
written by a guest , March 02, 2013
I think that D.C. Dead was in fact written by someone other than Stuart Woods -- it is just too different fom his previous books!!
written by a guest , November 13, 2012
Probably no one will answer...BUT...
at the end of Swimming to Catalina Arrington says she gave birth to a GIRL. I am sure of it, but the next book switches it to a son. Am I correct?
written by a guest , March 07, 2012
agree.. too bad
written by ArtsJunkie , December 26, 2011
Thanks for taking time to post a response.

I wrote about the "back of the book" message to his readers a while back. Here's the link to it.


I'm done with Woods. Hard to believe the same person who wrote CHIEFS wrote this hot mess.
The decline of Mr. Woods
written by a guest , December 25, 2011
I agree with your review. Stone and Peter spent about two pages grieving over the loss of wife and mother. Woods also fails to close one of his sub-plots, Kelli Keane’s investigative piece published in Vanity Fair.

It feels like Woods allowed himself a weekend to write this story and Sunday night, although unfinished, he just stopped writing. Those that have bought his books over the years deserve better.

I believe the most telling insight into Mr. Woods, though, can be found in Authors Notes at the end of all his books. There is an arrogance to him as he points out what he is willing to accept from his reader in the way of feedback about his stories. Although he says a letter written to him through his publisher will take three to six months to reach him he will not reply. If you send him an e-mail he will reply. He also has an extensive list of what he will not accept in the way of e-mail. Several years ago I did send him an e-mail addressing a question he raised about his concern that the craftsmanship he displayed in Chiefs was also characteristic of his following works. At that point in time I felt he had maintained his original level of quality. True to his word he did respond. The response was a computer generated letter thanking me for the e-mail and reminding me to keep buying his books.

Mr. Woods is both tacky and rich. I don’t believe he cares about the former because it is really all about the latter. After reading Son of Stone I believe he has now turned into a lazy, shoddy writer.

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