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Book Review – Unintended Consequences by Stuart Woods

Unintended Consequences JacketStuart Woods is one of my favorite authors for a variety of reasons. He comes up with terrific characters names. For example, Felicity Devonshire, Arrington Calder, and, of course, the best belongs to the star of his ever-popular book series: Stone Barrington. Woods is also a gifted writer; his sentence structure is varied and infused with inspired word usage, and Woods’ ability to vividly describe a romantic scene is unrivaled.

Like many writers who’ve achieved great success, Woods has been accused of becoming lazy, churning out book after book, focusing on quantity instead of quality. While I’ve noticed a distinct dip in his ability to create a novel that keeps me guessing from start to finish, I still find myself enamored by his characters and impressed with the fluidity of his prose. Yes, he may not be writing at the level of Harlan Coben anymore, but spending time with Stone Barrington, Dino Bacchetti and Holly Barker feels like coming home and catching up with old friends. Which brings us to my thoughts on Woods’ latest novel, Unintended Consequences.

Unintended Consequences kept me entertained from cover to cover. Speaking of which, this book’s cover is beautiful – easily the best I’ve seen this year. A good portion of the novel is set in one of my favorite cities, Paris, where Stone Barrington finds himself ensnared by mysterious circumstances. Unlike Dan Brown’s Inferno, where the lead character also had amnesia, Woods deftly handled Barrington’s challenging situation without leaving the reader feeling betrayed. Unintended Consequences moved along at an incredibly brisk pace without resorting to the pedestrian vernacular that is commonly found in similar books. As a writer, I appreciated this, as well as the palpable new characters – my favorite being the sophisticated Marcel duBois.

I blew through Unintended Consequences in less than a week because it was an easy, captivating read. While it wasn’t a convoluted mystery, it didn’t need to be. It told an easy-to-follow story from start to finish and whet my appetite for the next Stone Barrington adventure. Not only did I get to spend time with some of my favorite characters in fiction, I learned a few new words along the way. What more could I ask for? It didn’t blow me away, but after reading the last page, I felt satisfied. And, for me, that’s what’s most important – feeling that my time was well spent. If you like thrillers, give this one a shot. It may not be Stuart Woods’ greatest novel, but it’s a worthy addition to a formidable series.

Stuart Woods Photo Credit Harry BensonSynopsis 

Stone Barrington is no stranger to schemes and deceptions of all stripes—as an attorney for the premier white-shoe law firm Woodman & Weld, he’s seen more than his share. But when he travels to Europe under highly unusual circumstances, Stone finds himself at the center of a mystery that is, even by his standards, most peculiar. Two unexpected invitations may be the first clues in an intricate puzzle Stone must unravel to learn the truth . . . a puzzle that will lead him deep into the rarefied world of European ultrawealth and privilege, where billionaires rub elbows with spooks, insider knowledge is traded at a high premium, and murder is never too high a price to pay for a desired end. It soon becomes clear that beneath the bright lights of Europe lurks a shadowy underworld . . . and its only rule is deadly ambition.

Book Review – Lucid Intervals by Stuart Woods

Lucid IntervalsStuart Woods is one of my favorite fiction writers. I’ve read many of his Stone Barrington and Holly Barker books, as well as a handful of his standalone novels. Most recently I read Lucid Intervals, a Stone Barrington novel, and it was very good. Unlike other thriller writers, Woods’ books don’t move at a break-neck pace. The chapters are longer and the convolution is kept to a minimum. This book highlights an area in which Woods excels: character development. His ability to craft memorable characters throughout this series of books is marvelous. Whether it’s Stone’s many – and I mean many – sexual encounters or Herbie Fisher’s moronically endearing personality, I found myself looking forward to all the encounters between the key and tertiary characters in the novel. The plot was fascinating and the conclusion was satisfying. While it didn’t feature all the twists and turns of Harlan Coben novel, that’s not the way Stuart Woods writes. If you’re a fan of the series or looking to try a different author in the mystery and thriller genre, you can’t go wrong with Lucid Intervals. It’s a compelling story that is well worth your time.

Official Synopsis 

It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine’s. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner Dino are enjoying their drinks when in walks former client and all-around sad sack Herbie Fisher… with a briefcase full of cash and in need of a lawyer.

But while he’s trying to fend off Herbie, Stone is propositioned by another potential client, this one a bit more welcome. A beautiful MI6 agent, Felicity Devonshire has a missing persons case she needs solved—and she knows from experience how very useful Stone can be.

Stone’s investigation takes him into the posh world of embassy soirees and titled privilege, where high society meets government intrigue. And when trouble follows him from his luxurious Manhattan brownstone to his tranquil summer home in Maine, Stone has to decide what to do with the explosive information he’s uncovered.

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