SEVERE CLEAR, Stuart Woods

Stone Barrington is Stuart Woods most successful character, so much so, that he is the lead character in more than a dozen books by Woods.

Barrington is a lawyer who works for a law firm as their ‘dirty cases’ handler. Should the firm have a case which could jeopardize the professional look of the firm but be too lucrative to pass, Barrington gets the case.

Barrington is a retired NYPD cop who as forced to retired due to a gun violence injury. He then wrote the NY bar exams becoming a lawyer, taking on the ‘tainted’ cases for his law firm.

Barrington has a sidekick, Dino Bacchetti, a top level commander in the NYPD. Together they work on cases but have a lot of fun along the way. Fun includes a lot of drinking and frequent dining out at well known and real New York City eateries, the most frequent is Elaine’s. Sadly, as in real life, Elaine passed away and the boys start dining elsewhere.

Barrington’s also a ‘stud’ which allows Woods to release his soft porn inclinations. Barrington seems to have a pet in every port, always seducing them with passionate engagement. Woods writes all this without actually making the material raunchy.

These Barrington books are more fun to read if one uses an electronic reader where the fun is to switch to the Internet and dig not the restaurant being described, to see its dining room and read its menu. Almost dining vicariously.

Stone Barrington is called to Bel-Air to oversee an exclusive event that will gather the top echelons of the beau monde: Hollywood starlets, socialites, politicos, billionaires from overseas. It’s a task in which Stone has a personal stake and one that is made all the more pleasurable—though somewhat more complicated—with the arrival of two beautiful women with whom he’s intimately acquainted.

But the grand occasion has also attracted a dangerous criminal group with sinister plans. The hunt to find them leads Stone into a complex web of deceit and misdirection, in a world where the intrigues of government intelligence collide with the clandestine machinations of the upper crust. As he draws nearer to his quarry, he realizes that the stakes are higher than anybody could ever imagine . . . and that the enemies he’s seeking might just be hiding in plain sight.

Richard says
Severe Clear may be one of Woods’ better Barrington books. It has a real plot: a terrorist plot to detonate and nuclear bomb to kill hundreds of thousands of Californians in the Hollywood area. The plot has expected twists and turns but Woods’ forte of strong dialogue hits the high marks in this work, continually developing the level of suspense. 

The descriptions, technological devices and terrorist communications feel realistic and seem credible. The suspense builds well but the expectation that all will be well when it ends well is realized as expected.

Still, this Barrington book is really quite engaging and entertaining. It’s a worthwhile page turned that will keep you reading page after page.

If you like fluff, and expected plot development that still entertains, this is a very good read.

It was fun and worth the time reading.

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