Standup Guy: A Stone Barrington Novel Paperback – October 7, 2014
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“Stuart Woods still owns an imagination that simply won’t quit.”—*Suspense Magazine
“Polished...the liveliest Barrington novel in some time.”—Publishers Weekly
More Praise for Stuart Woods
“Stuart Woods is a no-nonsense, slam-bang storyteller.”—Chicago Tribune
“A world-class mystery writer...I try to put Woods’s books down and I can’t.”—Houston Chronicle
“Mr. Woods, like his characters, has an appealing way of making things nice and clear.”—The New York Times
“Woods certainly knows how to keep the pages turning.”—Booklist
“Since 1981, readers have not been able to get their fill of Stuart Woods’ New York Times bestselling novels of suspense.”—Orlando Sentinel
“Woods’s Stone Barrington is a guilty pleasure...he’s also an addiction that’s harder to kick than heroin.”—Contra Costa Times (California)
About the Author
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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.