Customer Reviews: Dirty Work (A Stone Barrington Novel)
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on April 25, 2003
We were growing a bit tired of Woods' Stone Barrington series, feeling that the last few were kind of lackluster -- more concerned about Stone's love life and lifestyle than delivering the suspenseful tales we have seen in numerous earlier outings and in Woods' new Holly Barker series. To our delight, "Dirty Work" brings Stone back in a great yarn -- one with such suspenseful action throughout we could hardly turn the pages fast enough. Reminiscent of John Sandford's "Mortal Prey", in which international assassin Clara Rinker is so clever and so successful we dern near wind up rooting for her instead of the good guys (!), "Dirty" features its own female assassin "La Biche", who is out to get revenge on the British secret service for offing her parents. This becomes the entree to re-introduce sexy Brit female agent "Carpenter", whom Stone met in the just prior novel "Short Forever". More than just a fun dinner (and bed) partner for Stone, Carpenter is the link between Stone's efforts as a private eye, Dino Bacchetti's (Stone's best cop friend) work to catch La Biche for the NYPD, and various FBI hangers-on. Woods' imagination worked overtime as he fills the alternating efforts of La Biche to knock off all her foes (we began to lose count she's so good) and the resolve of everybody else to nail her. Some clever work by Stone to actually engage himself as her lawyer (so that he can twist lawyer/clent confidentiality to their mutual purposes) re-surfaces late in the book as a very unusual twist at the end.
Woods is at his very best -- this is a must read not merely for his fans but for anybody enjoying a fast-paced thriller featuring clever bad "guys" and a horde of chasers. The ending brings not only great satisfaction, but who gets theirs brings ample surprise. Enjoy this great read!
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on April 15, 2003
Stone Barrington is back, and this time he is on the loose in New York City.
Assigned by his law firm to aide a client in the dumping of her unfaithful husband, Stone thinks this case to be "dirty work", but when a dead body turns up he realizes there is more to this case than meets the eye.
As Stone begins looking for answers he runs into Carpenter, the beautiful British agent he met while in London. Carpenter is in New York for her own investigation, on a case she is not willing to discuss, but the deeper Stone probes the more he gets the feeling her case is related to his.
Teaming with his ex-partner Dino, Stone hits the streets of Manhattan in search of a very dangerous woman with the answers to a bizarre and complicated crime.
`Dirty Work' is a fun, enjoyable that will keep readers guessing. The Stone Barrington bestsellers are mysteries filled with surprises, sexy vixens, rogue heroes and intriguing plot lines, and this is one of the better entries in the series.
Stuart Woods can always be depended upon to create an original, fast-paced thriller, and `Dirty Work' is a great way to spend a few hours in an easy chair.
Expect to see this on all the lists.
Nick Gonnella
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on April 23, 2003
Stuart Woods never wastes words. Take Stone's description of Herbie Fisher.."He was small, ferret-like, sleekly dressed, and annoying." I would know Herbie in any crowded room and there's the power of Stuart Woods.
I read Woods less for plot, more for Stone's familar style, and knowing that I will be rewarded with his unique sense of morality. And face it, he's a women's man with constant character...and, heck, he's even a man's man which he proves time and again in his relationship with the ever-present, long-suffering Dino. There are two great scenes with Dino - one, in a hotel restuarant in St. Thomas where their squabbling is even better than any characteristic married couple; and, when they lock themselves on the rooftop and debate on who will slide down the drain pipe.
Plotting is probably predictable and simplistic. Stone takes on the dirty work of providing physical evidence that a rich woman's husband is cheating to invoke a pre-nup clause. Said cheating husband, a former British agent is killed, thus bringing the beautiful British agent, Carpenter, to NY city and Stone's bed. This is "spy light" because Carpenter would never have divulged her operation quite as openly, especially given Dino's position in the NYPD. But Stone is never ordinary or predictable and proves yet again that he's no one's yes-man.
Dialogue is crisp, wity,and fun. Even though it's as quickly paced as Woods' other books, it doesn't diminish the story line. He sticks to the point, doesn't digress unnecessarily and when it ends, there's always something left for Stone's next adventure. Will Arrington return? Will Stone stick with spy light? Will he be in NY or in Europe next time? Will Carpenter reappear? I for one can't wait for the next episode!
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on May 15, 2015
Wow, what a disappointment. I've read a few of the other bad reviews of this book and find myself agreeing with several main points.

The biggest letdown was Stone's choosing the side of a serial assassin over the British Secret Service. The assassin not only had killed several British spies, but a number of totally innocent people whose deaths expedited her process. The bathroom attendant towards the end? Really? Stone, in weighing, his approach doesn't explicitly mention this victim. He also glosses over the New York lesbian whom was killed earlier in the book. The "lawyer confidentiality" thing came across to me as a pompous, overly officious angle that Woods shoehorned into the plot to provide the necessary "twist" that all murder mysteries require. And the misplaced fax? This was the most preposterous element of the book. Particularly the way in which the fax was misplaced. I realize that, according to Woods, a requisite sex scene needs to pop up every chapter or so, but the bank employee responsible for collecting faxes? And while I'm on the subject, why didn't the assassin check with the receiving bank to see if the transfer was made? Why did she only rely on the Swiss account, which was the secondary destination of the funds? Both accounts were in her control. Anyway, I now have to decide whether to continue reading the series. It's funny, the protagonist, Stone, is just not that likable any more.
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on February 24, 2016
These books (the Stone Barrington) are entertaining and fun. Not intellectually challenging, not brain-bending, but delightfully fun. I knew a woman who often said, in a tone of contempt, "No man is that good looking!" I always wanted to say, "I'm so sorry you never experienced that!" I held my tongue, feeling that that was too mean. I look forward, as usual, to the next one.
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on May 9, 2003
"Dirty Work" is the ninth Stone Barrington novel by Stuart Woods. Bill Eggers of Woodman and Weld, the law firm of which Stone is of counsel, asks Stone to arrange for someone to photograph Larry Fortescue, husband of Woodman and Weld client, Elena Marks, having an illicit tryst. Stone hires Herbie Fisher. While Herbie is photographing the encounter, he falls through the skylight onto Fortescue. When Herbie comes to, Fortescue is dead. It becomes apparent that Herbie did not kill Fortescue. Meanwhile, Carpenter, the beautiful British agent from "The Short Forever", comes to New York. She is looking for Marie-Therese duBois, a dangerous killer who has a grudge against certain members of British intelligence. It just so happens that the woman cheating with Fortescue was duBois, also known as La Biche who actually murdered Fortescue. Carpenter, Stone, and Dino Bachetti begin to search for La Biche before she can kill again. Stone always gets the girl in his books, and Carpenter is his love interest in "Dirty Work". This novel is one of the best Stuart Woods books in a long time. It is action packed and the suspense keeps the reader turning pages. This novel is highly recommended!
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on March 12, 2014
This story follows on from "The Short Forever" with many of the same characters. The beautiful spy Barrington knows as "Carpenter" is back and visiting New York. Of course, she ends up spending time in Barrington's home and bed. She brought stuffy old Mason along. We find out Carpenter's real name: "Felicity Devonshire." Woods takes this opportunity to contrast the philosophies of Barrington, the cop, and Carpenter, the spy. Woods introduces Marie-Therese du Bois, a super villain who has taken the job of killing a bunch of British spies, many of whom took part in the murder of her parents when she was a small child. Mason and Carpenter were two of the spies who participated in killing M-T's parents. Things get interesting when Stone hires a youn man to get photos of an adultorous couple and things do not go quite right. The photographer falls into a skylight and kills the cheating man. Or does he? the man was already dead at the hand of his masseus who turns out to be Marie-Therese. Now we find that, rather than just being in New York to visit with Stone, Carpenter was chasing the girl, Marie-Therese who is considered a major criminal in Europe. Dino captures the girl but then discovers he can't hold her. There are no living witnesses against her. This is mainly because Carpenter and her friends leave the witnesses in no condition to testify after getting the information they want!

Stone is bothered by this aspect of Carpenter's character. Near the end he sees her fire two fatal shots into a "bad guy" whose gun was empty. This tears it for Stone. Woods handles this divergence very well. We have enough information to see justification for Stone's view and for Felicity's view.
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on April 20, 2003
In "Dirty Work", the ninth in the cop turned lawyer Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods, Stone stays close to gallivanting to jet set hot spots.
Stone is assigned by the Woodman & Weld law firm (where he is of counsel) to get proof of an unfaithful husband. Seemingly routine, this assignment leads Stone into the murky world espionage going back to murders (assassinations)at least a decade old.
In this domain, the "good guys" are treacherous and the "bad guys" earn your compassion...and a deadly female assassin bent on revenge appears far more sympathetic than the MI-5 agent hunting her.
Mr. Woods has crafted another entertaining Stone Barrington installment with lots of sex appeal, intriguing plot and subplots with not a word wasted. The story moves at a lightning pace.
Stone's former cop partner Dino is prominent throughout and remains one of fiction's strongest supporting characters.
As always, Stone is a captivating, engaging, witty bon vivant with enough panache for a dozen men. Easy to enjoy without requiring a lot of time.
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on March 28, 2015
If you like Stuart Woods's writing and characters, you won't be disappointed. They're great for escapism, and they're page-turners, but there's really nothing that you haven't seen many times in his stories: everyone succeeds well at what they do, every character has either a trust fund, a divorce settlement, or a huge inheritance. No one lacks for money or means, and Barrington has no trouble getting laid. But if you enjoyed one of these books, you will enjoy all of them.
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on March 13, 2015
Stone is back in another book. Bill Eggers needs help on getting the dirty for a rich client. To catch her husband having an affair. Things don't go as well as Stone plans and a mess that leads Stone to something that needs the help. Of course Dino is there. I always love the banter between Done and Stone. Again this author has winner and with each book I love Stone more and more.
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