NEW YORK DEAD,
by Stuart Woods
Everyone is always telling Stone Barrington that he’s too smart to be a cop, but it’s pure luck that places him on the streets in the dead of night, just in time to witness the horrifying incident that turns his life inside out.
Suddenly he’s on the front page of every New York newspaper, and his life is hopelessly entwined in the increasingly shocking life (and perhaps death) of Sasha Nijinsky, the country’s hottest and most beautiful television anchorwoman.
No matter where he turns, the case is waiting for him, haunting his nights and turning his days into a living hell. Stone finds himself caught in a perilous web of unspeakable crimes, dangerous friends, and sexual depravity that has throughout it one common thread: Sasha.
Stuart Woods never disappoints, even when he is writing in a less than optimal mode. Every chapter is a mini-story with a ‘set up,’ middle story, climax and usually a single sentence conclusion. It may seem formulaic, but it works for him and succeeds with his readers.
New York Dead fits the pattern snugly. Yet, it entertains the reader in every chapter. Of course, some chapters surpass others in interest and excitement and Dead is consistent with the pattern of developing excitement to a climax near the end of the book.
Woods is a master at writing a good story that will retain readers. Dead does it without fail and Woods maintains the suspense, the questions about what will happen next with consistency and unrelentingly. Will our hero lose face? Will he lose status? Will his reputation be assailed? Then, will he tie the marital knot with the most captivating woman he has ever met? She’s despicable. She’s unfaithful. She is bisexual. She is even carrying on with a married man. Stone Barrington, Woods’ serial protagonist, is unable to pull himself away from the captivating allures of this Medusa. Right to the end, Woods throws many questions at the reader who in turn must turn page after page to learn the next answer only to face a new question.
Dead may not be Woods’ finest work and I suspect it is an early book lacking the refinement of his later ones. No matter even at his less than best, Woods is a very entertaining writer and this book will not disappoint its readers.