It’s summertime and the reading is supposed to be easy. So far, I’ve not been impressed. Maybe I’ve just picked the wrong titles.
There is, however, one pleasant surprise among the ocean of disappointments.
After almost giving up on Stuart Woods and his hero, New York attorney and man-about-town Stone Barrington, along comes “Bel-Air Dead.” For the past few years, Woods, whose first book was released in 1981, has been phoning his stories in. They were like Chinese food – fast and easy – but ultimately unsatisfying.
In his new book, Woods shows some of his old flair, keeping the reader interested until the mystery is solved and Barrington flies off into the sunset.
Barrington, who’s had a run of good luck, receives a phone call from his lost love, Arrington Calder. When he died, Calder’s movie star husband, Vance, left his share of Centurion Studios stock to her.
Calder, who also happens to be the mother of Barrington’s son, hires him to help her navigate through an incredibly lucrative offer from billionaire Terry Prince who is looking to purchase the studio in order to get his hands on its prime real estate.
When one of Centurion’s major stockholders is found dead, Barrington smells a rat and begins to have second thoughts about the proposed transaction.
“Bel-Air Dead” gives the reader a glimpse of the inner workings of the cutthroat world of big wheeling and dealing. It’s standard mystery fare, but with enough panache to be entertaining.
Let’s hope Woods keeps up the good work.
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