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Strategic Moves: A Stone Barrington Novel Paperback – September 6, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews
Book 19 of 36 in the Stone Barrington Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Woods's routine 19th novel featuring lawyer and man of action Stone Barrington (after Lucid Intervals), Barrington has a lot to celebrate: he's received a million bonus from Woodman & Weld, the prestigious New York City law firm of which he's "of counsel"; he can expect to make partner in the firm within a year; and he meets a beautiful widow, whom he's soon romancing. A murder close to home and a request from the CIA to help transport a fugitive, Erwin Gelbhardt, from Spain to the U.S., bring him back to earth. Gelbhardt, who becomes Barrington's client, reveals he knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but as the attorney works to get him the best possible deal from the American government, the bin Laden business goes nowhere. Newcomers may find Barrington an emotionally shallow cipher, while certain details, like the British government in the age of the Internet trying to suppress a story by banning sales of the New York Times, may strike others as less than credible. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Booklist

In this weak entry in the long-running Stone Barrington series, Stone grapples with both financial and international intrigue. Stone’s hapless client Herbie Fisher has married the daughter of a financier who might be guilty of embezzlement. Stone gets involved with Herbie’s wife’s aunt, but their relationship is cut short when she’s shot execution-style in her apartment. Before Stone can delve into the murder investigation, he’s tapped by another client to oversee a joint mission with the CIA to retrieve arms dealer Pablo Estancia, who stages a dramatic escape and then turns up in Stone’s office requesting his legal counsel. Meandering and slow moving, the story loses all its early steam when it switches gears from the embezzlement-and-murder story line to send Stone on the improbable mission to Iraq, followed by chapter upon chapter of dull negotiations with the CIA. Woods even manages to make the usually appealing Stone unlikable when he advises his client to wait to share crucial information with the intelligence agency. Woods’ recent novels have been fast paced and exciting; alas, this is a clunker. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Good or bad, each installment in Woods’ long-running series is published in mass quantities and snapped right up. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Stone Barrington Novel (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451234456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451234452
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a long time fan and some one who has read each and every one of Woods' books, I found "Strategic Moves," his latest work, to be very disappointing and an annoying waste of $12. A long time admirer of Woods' "Stone Barrington" charachter I found this book to be nothong more than a male mastaabitorial treatise as Woods demolished his once lovable Barrington charachter in favor of a shallow, sophmoric, pig Barrington that lacks all credibility with respect to reality. The old Stone Barrington character was a womanizer, sure, but Barrington was an interesting, intelligent, respectful, loveable womanizer. A character that smart women would enjoy dating and men would like to aspire to. Now he is a ridiculous specimen of the male gender that no self respecting female would ever date and that only a foolish and stupid man going through a midlife crisis would want to be.

Over the years I witnessed a commonality among writers, both print and television, in that the fall prey to trying to out do themselves. Perhaps 5 Barrington novels back I worried that Woods had fallen on to this path when he brought many of his charaters together (Stone, Holly, Lance, etc.) in a book I referred to as the "fantastic four." I was delighted when I bought the next Barrington novel and found Woods had reigned his characters back in (not typical). Hopefully this new Barrington charater will be reigned back in too as this new Barrington reminds me of sad little men who buy jaguars and/or wear their wallets on their foreheads in an efforts to capture as many women as possible during a midlife crisis. It's not attractive to watch, it's just sad, and only the most pathetic women find this type of man alluring.

I hope and pray to see a return of Stone's character in Woods next book but I hold out little hope as Woods seems to have lost perspective with respect to his character development and is likely off the deepend forever.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read all of the Stone Barrington series, but it had been a year since the last one came out. I felt lost with all the references to earlier people, places, and events that I couldn't remember. I also felt like there were too many story lines attempted, and none of them really developed into anything very exciting. I feel like my copy was missing some pages; was the murder of Adele ever resolved? And how cold, even for Stone, to take another woman to the Maine house for a weekend just days after the 1st one was murdered! Some of the Barrington series are definitely better than others, but this one is the worst by far. Maybe I have graduated to more talented writers. Sorry Mr. Woods; you just don't cut it anymore.
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Format: Hardcover
I have loved the Barrington Series for many years. His style has changed quite a bit in the past few books. If you like spy thrillers, espionage, international incident type books, you'll love this one. Unfortunately I have been extremely disappointed in his turn to more "spy stuff". I liked it better when he actually wrote murder mysteries instead of all this CIA this, MI6 that, FBI such and such, etc...

So, I'm giving up Stone Barrington for awhile.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a huge fan of Woods books for many years and particularly the Stone Barrington series. The last book I found incredibly difficult to get through, but managed. Strategic Moves was an incredibly easy read but the plot lines were so absurd that I have no interest in reading another Woods book in the future.

Stone no longer seems to have any depth whatsoever....he just gladly goes in whatever direction is needed to advance the contrived story. Hey Stone, want to fly to Iraq? Sure, why not? Hey Stone, want to participate in the extradiction of a prisoner from Spain? Well as a seasoned New York attorney that sounds like something I should definitely get involved with. Hey Stone...want to be the main character in a horrible book? Of course, my fans will read anything.

In the past, Stone has been quite the ladies man but again there was some depth to the romances. In this book, he meets a woman, flies her off to Maine for a romantic weekend, she then gets murdered and....he moves right on to another woman and surprise, flies her off to Maine too. So not only is Stone too lazy to think up an original date now, but the murder of his first romantic interest is never solved. There are a lot of theories raised, and possible suspects....but no resolution whatseover. The Stone from the past would have at least solved the murder. Isn't that one of the basic expectations of a book like this?

Finally....the whole plot just felt contrived. Characters are always exactly where they need to be to advance the story. Need to get Stone involved with an international arms dealer...put Stone on a flight to Iraq...as a well-heeled attorney who only drinks Knob Creek he would fit right in on a clandestine flight to Iraq.
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Format: Hardcover
Not as politically charged as the phenomenal "Gods of Ruin" and not as detailed as Clancy's new one Dead or Alive, Woods's latest has some awesome plot twists that keep you flipping the pages. If you can get past the classic cheese (reflected in the protagonist's '80s radio personality name and character), "Strategic Moves" is a good, fast read (even for those I'm sure who aren't speed readers). The basic premise is that the firm that Stone works for got paid by the client that Stone brought on through his work in previous novels. And in turn, Stone gets a promotion and a check for a cool million (nice). But Stone soon learns that the new client isn't all peaches and cream and just might be illegitimate. Rollercoaster ensues. Fun Read.
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