A brand-new page-turning Stone Barrington novel from the perennially entertaining New York Times-bestselling author.
It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine's. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner, Dino, are enjoying some pasta when in walks former client and all around sad sack Herbie Fisher...with a briefcase containing $14 million in cash.
Herbie claims to have won the money on a lucky lotto ticket, but he also says he needs a lawyer-and after a single gunshot breaks the window above his head and sends diners scrambling, Stone and Dino suspect Herbie might need a bodyguard and a private investigator, too.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Stuart Woods was born in the small southern town of Manchester, Georgia and attended the local public schools, then graduated from the University of Georgia, with a BA in sociology.
After college, he spent a year in Atlanta and two months in basic training for what he calls "the draft-dodger program" of the Air National Guard. Then, in the autumn of 1960, he moved to New York, in search of a writing job. The magazines and newspapers weren't hiring, so he got a job in a training program at an advertising agency, earning seventy dollars a week. "It is a measure of my value to the company," he says, "that my secretary was earning eighty dollars a week." He spent the whole of the nineteen-sixties in New York, with the exception of ten months, which he spent in Mannheim, Germany, at the request of John F. Kennedy. The Soviets had built the Berlin Wall, and Woods, along with a lot of other national guardsmen, was sent to Germany, " ... to do God knows what," as he puts it. What he did, he says, was " ... fly a two-and-a-half-ton truck up and down the autobahn." He notes that the truck was all he flew in the Air Force.
At the end of the sixties, he moved to London and worked there for three years in various advertising agencies. In early 1973, he decided that the time had come for him to write the novel he had been thinking about since the age of ten. He moved to Ireland, where some friends found him a small flat in the stable yard of a castle in south County Galway, and he supported himself by working two days a week for a Dublin ad agency, while he worked on the novel. Then, about a hundred pages into the book, he discovered sailing, and " ... everything went to hell. All I did was sail."
After a couple of years of this his grandfather died, leaving him, " ... just enough money to get into debt for a boat," and he decided to compete in the 1976 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). Since his previous sailing experience consisted of, " ... racing a ten-foot plywood dingy on Sunday afternoons against small children, losing regularly," he spent eighteen months learning more about sailing and celestial navigation while his boat was being built at a yard in Cork. He moved to a nearby gamekeeper's cottage on a big estate, up the Owenboy River from Cork Harbor, to be near the boatyard.
The race began at Plymouth England in June of '76. He completed his passage to Newport, Rhode Island in forty-five days, finishing in the middle of the fleet, which was not bad since his boat was one of the smallest in the fleet. How did he manage being entirely alone for six weeks at sea? "The company was good," he says.
The next couple of years were spent in Georgia, writing two non-fiction books: Blue Water, Green Skipper was an account of his Irish experience and the transatlantic race, and A Romantic's Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland, was a travel book, done on a whim. He also did some more sailing. In August of 1979 he competed, on a friend's yacht, in the tragic Fastnet Race of 1979, which was struck by a huge storm. Fifteen competitors and four observers lost their lives, but Stuart and his host crew finished in good order, with little damage. (The story of the '79 Fastnet Race was told in the book, Fastnet Force 10, written by a fellow crewmember of Stuart's, John Rousmaniere.) That October and November, he spent skippering his friend's yacht back across the Atlantic, with a crew of six, calling at the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands and finishing at Antigua, in the Caribbean.
In the meantime, the British publisher of Blue Water, Green Skipper, had sold the American rights to W.W. Norton, a New York publishing house, and they had also contracted to publish the novel, on the basis of two hundred pages and an outline, for an advance of $7500. "I was out of excuses to not finish it, and I had taken their money, so I finally had to get to work." He finished the novel and it was published in March of 1981, eight years after he had begun it. The novel was called Chiefs.
Though only 20,000 copies were printed in hardback, the book achieved a large paperback sale and was made into a six-hour television drama for CBS-TV, starring Charlton Heston, at the head of an all-star cast that included Danny Glover, Billy Dee Williams and John Goodman.
Chiefs established Woods as a novelist. The book won the Edgar Allan Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America, and he was later nominated again for Palindrome. More recently he was awarded France's Prix de Literature Policiere, for Imperfect Strangers. He has since been prolific, writing many, many novels.
He is a licensed, instrument-rated private pilot, and currently flies a Jetprop (scroll down for a photo of Stuart at the controls!), which is a Piper Malibu Mirage (a six-passenger, pressurized single-engine airplane) in which the piston engine has been replaced by a turboprop (a jet engine turning a propeller). He sails on other peoples' boats, owns a 28-foot power boat, and is a partner in a 85-foot antique motor yacht built in 1935 and recently restored to like-new condition.
He is a born-again bachelor who shares his life with a Labrador Retriever named Fred (like all his dogs) and lives in Key West, Florida, on Mount Desert Island, in Maine, and in New York City.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Stone Barrington and Dino Bacchetti were sitting at their usual table, eating penne with shrimp and vodka sauce, when a young man named Herbert Fisher walked in with a tall young woman.
Stone ignored him. Herbie Fisher was the nephew of Bob Cantor, a retired cop with whom Stone had worked many times. Bob Cantor was Herbie’s only connection with reality. Herbie Fisher, in Stone’s experience, was a walking catastrophe.
Herbie seated his girl at a table to the rear, then walked back and took a chair at Stone’s table. “Hi, Stone,” he said. “Hi, Dino.”
“Dino,” Stone said, “you are a police officer, are you not?”
“I am,” said Dino, spearing a shrimp.
“I wish to make a complaint.”
“Go right ahead,” Dino said.
“What’s going on, Stone?” Herbie asked.
Stone ignored him. “There is an intruder at my table; I wish to have him removed.”
“Remove him yourself,” Dino said. “I’m eating penne with shrimp and vodka sauce.”
“You are a duly constituted officer of the law, are you not?” Stone asked.
“Once again, I am.”
“Then it is your duty to respond to the complaint of an upstanding citizen.”
“What kind of citizen?”
“I’m not at all sure that the word describes you, Stone.”
Herbie, whose head was following the conversation as if he were seated in the first row at Wimbledon, said, “No kidding, Stone, what’s going on?”
Stone continued to ignore him. “Dino, am I to understand that you are ignoring a citizen’s complaint?”
“You are to understand that,” Dino said, mopping up some vodka sauce with a slice of bread. “Do your own dirty work.”
“Stone,” Herbie said, “I’m rich.”
“That’s rich,” Dino replied.
“No kidding, I’m rich. I won the lottery.”
“How much?” Dino asked.
“Don’t encourage him,” Stone said.
“Thirty million dollars,” Herbie replied.
“How much you got left after taxes and paying off your bookie and your loan shark?” Dino asked.
“I’m warning you,” Stone said. “Don’t encourage him, he’s dangerous.”
“Approximately fourteen million, two,” Herbie replied. “I want to hire you as my lawyer, Stone,” he continued.
“Why do you need a lawyer?” Dino asked.
“All rich people need lawyers,” Herbie said.
“Could you be more specific?” Dino asked.
“Dino,” Stone said, “stop this, stop it right now. He’s sucking you in.”
“Prove you’re rich, Herbie,” Dino said.
“I’ll be right back,” Herbie said. He got up, walked back to where the girl sat, picked up her large handbag, came back to Stone’s table and sat down. He lifted up the handbag and opened it wide, displaying the contents to Stone and Dino. “What do you think that is?” he asked.
“Well,” Dino said, gazing into the purse, “that would appear to be approximately twenty bundles of one-hundred-dollar bills each, or two million dollars.”
“Absolutely correct,” Herbie said.
“Do you always walk around with that much money, Herbie?” Dino asked.
“Only since I got rich.”
“Stone, I want to retain you as my lawyer. I’ll pay you a one-million-dollar retainer in cash, right now.”
Stone stopped eating. “Dino, have you had any recent training at recognizing counterfeit bills?”
“Funny you should mention that,” Dino said. “We had a guy in from Treasury the day before yesterday who gave us a slide-show presentation on that very subject.”
“Would you examine the bills in the bag, please?”
Dino dipped into the bag and came out with a hundred-dollar bill. He held it up to the light, snapped it a couple of times and laid it on the table. “Entirely genuine,” Dino said, then he turned to Herbie. “They don’t hand out millions in cash at the lottery office, you know. Where did you get it?”
“I cashed a check,” Herbie replied.
Stone flagged down a passing waiter. “David,” he said, “would you please go and find me a good-sized paper bag?”
“Sure,” David replied. He went into the kitchen and came back with a plastic shopping bag. “No paper bags. Will this do?”
“Yes,” Stone said, accepting the bag and handing it to Dino. “Will you please put one million dollars of Herbie’s money into this bag, Dino?”
“That okay with you, Herbie?”
“Sure, go ahead,” Herbie replied.
Dino held the plastic bag close to the purse and counted out ten of the bundles. He handed the bag to Stone. “There you go.”
“Just put it on the floor beside me,” Stone said, and Dino did so. Stone looked at Herbie for the first time. “All right, you’ve got my attention; I’ll listen for one minute.”
“They’re trying to kill me,” Herbie said.
“Who is trying to kill you?”
“People who want my money.”
“Are these people aware that you walk around with two million dollars of it in a woman’s handbag?”
Herbie shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Herbie, you’ve been flashing this money around, haven’t you?”
“Well, sort of.”
“The hooker must know about the money, since it’s in her handbag.”
“The one you walked in here with.”
“She’s not a hooker.”
“Herbie, she’s with you; she is, ipso facto, a hooker.”
“Part-time, maybe,” Herbie admitted.
“Who do hookers work for, Herbie?”
“And who do madams and pimps work for, Herbie?”
“They’re self-employed, aren’t they?”
“They work for or associate with bad people, Herbie. If a hooker knows you’ve got two million dollars in her handbag, then her madam and her pimp know it too, and if they’ve had a moment, they’ve already sold that information to someone who wants to take it from you.”
“Sheila wouldn’t do that,” Herbie said. “She loves me.”
At that moment, as if for punctuation at the end of Herbie’s sentence, a fist-sized hole appeared in the front window of Elaine’s, and a loud report rent the air. This was quickly followed by two more shots.
Everybody hit the floor.
Stone raised his head an inch. “Are you sure Sheila loves you, Herbie?”
Dino was up and running at the door, clawing at the gun on his belt. He disappeared into the street.
People began cautiously to pick themselves up, look around and brush themselves off. Elaine sat two tables down, unmoving, looking unperturbed. The door opened, and a tall woman of Stone’s acquaintance, though not recent, walked in carrying a very feminine attaché case.
Her name was Felicity Devonshire, though she was not called that by anyone who worked with her. She was, in fact, a high official of British intelligence who had formerly been called Carpenter but more recently, after a big promotion, had been dubbed Architect. A man had preceded her into the restaurant, and another followed her. They stationed themselves at the end of the bar, near the door, and watched the room.
Stone got up from the floor, dusted himself off, spotted Felicity and waved her over. They embraced casually. He could feel her ample breasts through her coat and his.
“Stone,” she said, “what is going on? Dino is out in the street waving a gun around and shouting into a cell phone, and this place is a mess.”
“Just a little after-dinner entertainment,” Stone said, taking her coat and holding a chair for her, not missing the sight of her cleavage as she sat down. He took his seat, picked up the plastic bag with the million dollars in it and stuffed it into the hooker’s handbag. Shoving the bag at Herbie, he said, “Go away.”
Herbie began to protest, but Stone held up a hand like a traffic cop and then waved him back to his own table and the clutches of the perfidious Sheila.
Felicity watched him go. “Isn’t that the awful little twit who gave you so much trouble a couple of years ago?”
“I’m afraid so.”
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New item. May have light shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 170623084
Book Description G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 425-100317024
Book Description Putnam Adult, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. BRAND NEW! Overstock from an independent bookstore!. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000107289
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Book Description Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A., 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Fiction - Mystery - A Stone Barrington Novel. Bookseller Inventory # 19317
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Book Description G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 2010. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition/ Limited Edition. Red cloth hard cover - New. In illustrated DJ - New. 291pp. Content New. This is 'a limited edition of one hundred fifty copies printed and bound especially for friends of the author, this and every copy has been numbered 001 so that everyone may have a low number.' Inscribed, signed by author and dated 4/12/10. (529g) Photo on request. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to charity. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 003007
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Book Description Putnam Adult, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 304 pages. 9.00x6.00x1.00 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0399156445