With yesterday’s shocking news that one of my favorite authors, Stuart Woods, passed away, I bought Shakeup, a Stone Barrington novel. Available on Amazon, this Kindle book is 80% off the regular price, and now is the perfect time to read a Stuart Woods book, so I Implore you to do so.Continue reading
Today, I was shocked to learn that Stuart Woods, author of the Stone Barrington novels, passed away at the age of 84. I’m forever grateful that I had the opportunity to interview Stuart Woods several years ago. I’m also delighted that he was such a prolific author, providing us all with captivating characters and stories to enjoy for many years to come. Below is the full story from the Associated Press about Stuart Woods’ passing. May he rest in peace, and may his body of work live on eternally.Continue reading
Looking for a good thriller at a great price? The Kindle edition of New York Dead by Stuart Woods is discounted for a limited time! This is a great deal on the first entry in the wildly popular Stone Barrington series, so I highly recommend snatching this one up before it’s too late. You can buy it here on Amazon. Below is a publisher’s summary, so you can learn more about this book. Happy reading!Continue reading
Stuart Woods, the #1 New York Times best-selling author who I interviewed a few years ago, is releasing his autobiography tomorrow: An Extravagant Life. I’m very excited to read it and to listen to the audiobook version, which is voiced by Tony Roberts, the wonderful actor who narrates Stuart Woods’ Stone Barrington audiobooks. Read on for more details about Stuart Woods’ autobiography.Continue reading
My to-read list is massive and I’m sure yours is too. Since deciding what to read next can be hard, here are my three recommendations for what to read this spring.
KEEP QUIET by Lisa Scottoline
This past Saturday my girlfriend, Stephanie, and I attended Lisa Scottoline’s book signing for her new novel, Keep Quiet, at the Barnes & Noble in Cherry Hill, NJ. Lisa’s mother just passed away last week, so I wasn’t sure if she was going to have the book signing. But after cancelling a few dates on her book tour, Lisa persevered and decided to do her last two book signings. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Lisa, using her infectious humor, found a way to leave everyone smiling by the end of the event. Yes, she spoke about “Mother Mary” passing away, but she also made sure to inject several funny stories about her mother that had the crowd in stitches. And Lisa remembered many fans, including myself, by name and embraced us with hugs and well wishes. For my money, no author is as warm and loving to her fans as Lisa Scottoline.
But let’s get to the book. Keep Quiet is next on my to-read list and as you can see from the synopsis below, it sounds like it should be an intriguing and compelling read. I can’t wait to crack it open and based on the early reviews, it’s one of Scottoline’s best books in recent years. Keep an open eye out for my review of the book in the coming weeks.
And, if you haven’t already read it, you can check out my interview with Lisa Scottoline here.
Keep Quiet Synopsis
New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author Lisa Scottoline is loved by millions of readers for her suspenseful novels about family and justice. Scottoline delivers once again with Keep Quiet, an emotionally gripping and complex story about one man’s split-second decision to protect his son – and the devastating consequences that follow.Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.
EVERYTHING TO LOSE by Andrew Gross
Another one of my favorite authors is Andrew Gross, who I also interviewed last year. You can check it out here. He has a new novel coming out tomorrow entitled Everything to Lose. I’m reading it right now and will be reviewing it soon. I’m happy to report that it’s very entertaining and, in my opinion, better than his previous book, No Way Back. I highly recommend you order a copy of Everything to Lose and give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You can buy the book here.
Everything to Lose Synopsis
A determined, (down on her luck,) mother caring for her handicapped son becomes entangled in a murderous conspiracy to keep a twenty year old secret buried in this blistering thriller, set during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, from Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds and No Way Back.
While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Blum, who’s just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her alone to care for her son with Asperger’s, witnesses a freakish accident. A car ahead of her careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Stopping to help, she discovers the driver dead—and a satchel stuffed with a half a million dollars.
That money could prevent her family’s ruin and keep her special needs son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of maelstrom of dark consequences and life-threatening recriminations—a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman who’s life has been washed out to sea, and a powerful figure bent to keep the secret that can destroy him hidden.
With everything to lose, everything she loves, Hilary connects to a determined cop from Staten Island, reeling from the disaster of Sandy, to bring down an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep what that money was meant to silence, still buried.
CARNAL CURIOSITY by Stuart Woods
My first interview of the year was with the legendary thriller writer Stuart Woods, famous for his Stone Barrington series that has been going strong for decades. The newest installment in the series, Carnal Curiosity, just debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Once I’m done Lisa Scottoline’s Keep Quiet, this one’s next, so stay tuned for my review. Based on how enjoyable Woods’ recent novels have been, I also recommend you pick up a copy of Carnal Curiosity.
Carnal Curiosity Synopsis
Stone Barrington seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Manhattan’s elite are beset by a series of clever crimes—and Stone is a material witness—he and his former partner Dino Bacchetti find themselves drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud, where insider knowledge and access are limited to a privileged few, and the wealthy are made vulnerable by the very systems meant to keep them safe. As Stone and Dino delve deeper into their investigation, they learn that the mastermind behind the incidents may have some intimate ties to Stone . . . and that the biggest heist is still to come.
I just returned from Mexico and during my trip I finished reading Stuart Woods’ latest Stone Barrington novel, Standup Guy. As expected, it’s a terrific read that goes down as smoothly as a glass of Knob Creek. In addition to having a wonderfully unpredictable plot, the book references and builds on previous storylines and there’s an interesting political element as well. The Stone Barrington series has been around for 23 years and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. For those looking to read a high-quality mystery filled with action and intrigue, look no further: Standup Guy delivers.
Stone Barrington’s newest client does not seem the type to bring mayhem in his wake. A polite, well-deported gentleman, he comes to Stone seeking legal expertise on an unusual—and potentially lucrative—dilemma. Stone points him in the right direction and sends him on his way, but it’s soon clear Stone hasn’t seen the end of the case. Several people are keenly interested in this gentleman’s activities and how they may relate to a long-ago crime . . . and some of them will stop at nothing to find the information they desire.
On a hunt that leads from Florida’s tropical beaches to the posh vacation homes of the Northeast, Stone finds himself walking a tightrope between ambitious authorities and seedy lowlifes who all have the same prize in their sights. In this cutthroat contest of wills, it’s winner-takes-all . . . and Stone will need every bit of his cunning and resourcefulness to be the last man standing.
Stuart Woods is one of the first thriller writers whose work I fell in love with. His characters have fantastic names like Felicity Devonshire, Vance Calder and, my all-time favorite, Stone Barrington. I’m constantly impressed by the fluidity of his prose, as well as his wonderfully descriptive romantic scenes. There have been countless occasions when I stopped reading one of his books to recite a passage to a friend because I was so impressed by the use of adjectives, verbs and metaphors. Simply stated, he’s a terrific writer everyone should read. Speaking of which, Stuart Woods has a new Stone Barrington novel available: Standup Guy. Make sure to pick up a copy after reading my interview with the author below.
After graduating college, you started out working at several advertising agencies. What made you realize advertising wasn’t for you, and how did your time in the industry influence your future writing?
I found the advertising business to be a wonderful preparation for writing professionally. I always advise young people who want to write for a living to find a job in advertising, journalism, PR – any profession that requires you to sit down and write a thousand words a day, whether you feel like it or not. Advertising did that for me, and in addition, I had to satisfy some very demanding bosses – some of the best writers in the business – who wanted persuasive writing and every word to count. I left because I felt I had gone as far as I was going to go in that business, and because I had wanted to write fiction since I was a child, and leaving advertising forced me to finally write the novel I had been thinking about since I was ten.
Your first novel, Chiefs, earned you an Edgar Award. How did it feel to be honored by your peers for your first novel?
I didn’t know the Mystery Writers of America were my peers, since I had never heard of the award, though I was very happy to receive it. I thought I had written a novel about how small towns worked, but I was delighted that they found it to be mysterious.
Chiefs was turned into a TV miniseries with a stellar cast of actors, including Charlton Heston, Danny Glover, Billy Dee Williams, and John Goodman. Did you have an active role in the creation of the miniseries, and did it live up to your expectations?
I didn’t write the screenplay, but the producers were kind enough (and smart enough) to send me every draft of the screenplay and solicit my comments and suggestions. I made a lot of those, and they even accepted some of them, particularly in casting. Heston’s character, Hugh Holmes was based on James S. Peters, a father of my home town, and I interviewed him at length about the town’s history. I loaned the tapes of that interview to Heston, and he used them to create his character and his accent. I was delighted with the miniseries; I thought it true to both the plot of the novel and its intent. I played a small part in the mini-series, and they made me travel to New York to read for it. I had a two-minute scene with Billy Dee Williams, a fine actor who, for some reason, could not remember his lines. We rehearsed at length, shot it, then rehearsed some more and shot it a couple of more times. He finally got his lines right, whereas I was perfect throughout. I thought, “This acting thing isn’t so tough; after all I knew my lines.” Then I saw the series at a screening: Billy Dee was wonderful, and I came off as a blithering idiot. I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this acting thing, after all.”
I thought your standalone thriller, Under the Lake, was one of your best. It’s very different from your other work but just as captivating. It even attracted the attention of Stephen King, who lauded the book by saying, “it scared the living hell” out of him. More than 25 years later, what’s your opinion on the novel?
I reread it when someone was writing a screenplay (ultimately unproduced) from it, and I liked it a lot. I tried to get Simon & Schuster to use King’s comment, which was one line in a fulsome letter he wrote about the book, and they wouldn’t. They wanted to say, “It scared the living heck out of me.” (!)
For the past several years you’ve been providing fans with a steady flow of Stone Barrington novels. Do you plan on revisiting any of your other series or writing any new standalone thrillers?
My publisher persuaded me to write only Stone novels in a new contract (he offered me money, and I can be bought). I think he meant that he wanted the words, “A Stone Barrington Novel” on every cover. I tricked him by including all the other series characters in the various novels. Anyway, my readers who write to me like Stone best.
Having written 28 Stone Barrington novels, how do you keep your books fresh?
I have a fevered imagination and a rich fantasy life, which helps with the sex scenes.
Your memoir about sailing, Blue Water, Green Skipper, was re-released in 2012. How did the fans of your thrillers respond to Blue Water, Green Skipper when it was, once again, made available to the public?
I’ve had a great deal of mail about the book from readers – most of them, yachtsmen, and they were all warm in their praise. Reading it allowed me to revisit a happy time in my life. One day, I’ll write a full-blown autobiography, and I’ve reserved the right to plug the old book into the new one. I don’t think I can write about that time of my life any better.
Many popular writers, including James Patterson, have increased their productivity by collaborating with other authors on novels. Some readers don’t care for this practice because they feel having a co-author dilutes the end product, while others are perfectly fine with it. What’s your opinion on the matter, and would you ever collaborate with another author on a book?
I’ve never done that, though my publisher says he would like it. I’ve instructed my widow-to-be to call my agent as soon as I’m dead and hire a few writers, and I’ve explained to her that Jim Patterson makes more money than God.
Since you’re working on and releasing multiple books a year, how do you go about keeping track of all the characters and details from novel to novel?
My characters exist for me in an alternate universe; I know exactly what’s happened to them, though they know nothing about me. Apparently, they don’t read. I seem to have a gift for keeping their stories in memory.
What are you working on now and what’s next for Stone Barrington?
There are two Stone novels completed and awaiting publication, and I’ll finish another this week. Standup Guy is coming out on January 7th.
I just finished Stuart Woods’ latest Stone Barrington novel, Doing Hard Time, and I have to say it was a great read. Similar to previous books in the series, it moved at a brisk pace, featured edge-of-your-seat action and had compelling characters. Speaking of which, my favorite character in the book was Teddy Fay, a mysterious and formidable figure who has made guest appearances in previous Barrington novels, as well as other series penned by Woods. While Stone takes a back seat this time out, his supporting role made for a refreshing change of pace. Also worth noting is the wonderfully descriptive romantic scenes Woods has become known for are nowhere to be found. While some may prefer the abridged intimate encounters present in this book, I sincerely hope the full-length descriptions return the next time around. Doing Hard Time is a fun, fast-paced novel that Stone Barrington and thriller fans will enjoy. If you’re looking for a good read, I highly recommend you check it out. You can buy it here: http://tinyurl.com/k2ta223.
When Stone Barrington embarks on a trip to Bel-Air to check in on some business and personal concerns, he expects a relaxing break from the fast pace and mean streets of New York. But trouble never takes a vacation, and it has a way of finding Stone. A case that had seemingly been resolved has returned in full force—with lethal results. And this deadly situation makes for strange bedfellows when Stone finds himself teamed with the least likely ally . . . a gentleman of unique abilities, who can fly below the radar and above the law.
From the high-stakes poker tables of Las Vegas to California’s lush beachside resorts, the trail of disguise, subterfuge, and murder leads to a shocking conclusion.