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Standup Guy (A Stone Barrington Novel) Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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A hefty load of ill-gotten cash is at the heart of Stone Barrington’s problems in the latest entry in Woods’ (Doing Hard Time, 2013) long-running series. When ex-con John Fratelli pays Stone a visit seeking legal advice about the $2 million his cellmate bequeathed him, Stone helps Fratelli around some of the potential illegalities of the situation, given that the cash was obtained more than two decades ago in a robbery. Once Fratelli, grateful for the advice, takes off for Florida, Stone thinks he’s seen the last of him, and he never imagines that he’ll get wrapped up in a dogged pursuit of the money. But soon an ex-cop, the Secret Service, and a determined thug are questioning Stone about its whereabouts. The thug proves especially problematic, grabbing Stone’s latest paramour and holding her hostage for $5 million. Woods sets up a potentially interesting presidential bid that will presumably be explored in future installments, but this outing is fairly run-of-the-mill and predictable at times. And do we really need multiple scenes of Fratelli golfing with his girlfriend? --Kristine Huntley
Praise for STANDUP GUY
“Stuart Woods still owns an imagination that simply won’t quit . . . This is yet another edge-of-your-seat adventure.”—Suspense Magazine
Praise for Stuart Woods
“Since 1981, readers have not been able to get their fill of Stuart Woods’ New York Times best-selling novels of suspense.” —Orlando Sentinel
“High-octane . . . Woods’s blend of exciting action, sophisticated gadgetry, and last-minute heroics doesn’t disappoint.” —Publishers Weekly
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One of the irritations is the author writes about a big-time lawyer without knowing the most basic things about the law.
Perhaps his greatest blooper is in this book (p. 288) where he writes hearsay is not admissible in a courtroom. Any trial attorney could set him straight. There are long lists of exceptions to hearsay (state, federal) which admit such evidence. This happens every day in court. The most basic research on Mr. Woods' part would have turned up New York's list (where his hero is licensed): 9 CRR-NY 517.8. This took me about 10 seconds to find.
(In "Cut and Thrust" a Los Angeles police officer says he's not a police officer in San Francisco (p. 249). In that state, an officer's powers extend statewide. "...under California law, officers may enforce laws and make arrests anywhere in the state" tho naturally their sergeants expect him to concentrate on the home fires!)
Woods is the Judge Judy of crime fiction. This isn't how it happens out there.
Part of the quality of good fiction is its ability to suspend disbelief. Woods has major problems with this because his "normal world" novels have such glaring errors.
Another problem with the series is continuity. Kate Lee, director of CIA and wife of the president, decides to announce her candidacy for Democratic candidate for presidency. This happens 3 different ways. (1) In one book, they call Stone over just as the newspapers are about to break the news. (2) In another version, she appears on television to announce and Stone sees this at a Strategic Services party. (3) Version 3 is Kate invites 20 rich people to her hotel and asks each of them for a million dollars to fund her campaign. Woods couldn't be bothered to get his story straight.
Herb turns from the biggest dumbest loser to the best attorney in Stone's firm. Lance Cabot goes from purveyor of stolen technology to director of CIA. Everybody was born in the same town. Every butler has the same name.
It would take 20 Stuart Woods books to equal one of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder.
While "Standup Guy" is a believable continuation, I feel that Stone was certainly slipping mentally in this one. The plot itself was good, but some of the turns were very contrived to carry the plot along.
For example, Stone meets Hank (short for Henrietta) and after a very brief relationship and with some well deserved misgivings about her character and involvement in a crime, he tells her how to disarm his home security system. Hello!! What was he thinking?
Of course this was necessary for the plot, but it cerainly raised some questions about Stone's intelligence and thinking processes or lack thereof. Couldn't Hank have watched him and gotten the info surrepticiously? Or Stone in a lapse of judgement, could have neglected to set the alarm? Both would have made more sense then his giving her the info.
Then this lapse is compounded (IMHO) when Hank and her accomplice are counting, via money sorter, five million dollars in Stone's home. Now who would do that, especially when the money counter had to be brought in? It would have made much more sense for them to remove the money when Stone was sleeping and counted it else where.
That part adds nothing to the story except wondering about the intelligence of crooks and causing problems for Stone.
I think if that part could be reworked and made more believable in the characters' actions, the book would have gone up a star or two in my estimation.
I certainly hope the author doesn't continue these character faults in his next book, and has them act in a more believable mannor.