Dirty Work by Stuart Woods
Back in New York City after the London adventures of The Short Forever, cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington is approached by a colleague at the firm of Woodman & Weld who needs help with a celebrity divorce case. Heiress Elena Marks needs proof of her layabout husband's infidelity before she can begin divorce proceedings. When the undercover work Stone sets up turns dirty-and catastrophic-leaving the errant husband dead and the mystery woman gone without a trace, Stone must clear his own good name and find a killer hiding among the glitterati of New York's high society.
Carpenter-the beautiful British intelligence agent first encountered in The Short Forever-arrives in New York to begin an investigation of her own; Stone suspects that her case is strangely connected to the dead husband. And he and Dino, his former NYPD partner, are set to face the most bizarre and challenging assignment of their very colorful careers.
Hang it up, Stu, October 27, 2003
I used to look forward to the new Stone Barrington novels as enjoyment...now I look forward to them as amusement. As usual, a woman from Stone's past shows up out of nowhere and is in his bed within the first few pages of the book. There's nothing new there (other than no coincidental appearance by Arrington at the most inopportune time). The rest is what sends the book into the depths of ridiculousness. British intelligence is working to track a serial assassin who's been killing their own, and Carpenter (Stone's latest conquest) is next on the list. No one's been able to get a handle on her for years. Yet within five seconds, Stone has not only managed to easily track down her cellphone number, but to call her and arrange to meet her so he can be her liaison to safety. Yes, I'm sure a serial assassin is going to take an out-of-the-blue call from a hot-shot NY attorney, put all her trust and faith into him, and allow him to take over her affairs and her life. As usual, Stone barks orders and people jump. He demands a meeting with Carpenter and her boss, the head of British Intelligence, and not only do they agree to it, but they agree to every demand Stone makes for the meeting. The assassin goes along with every silly plan he comes up with, and actually considers giving up her life of crime after a few kind words from Stone. He orders around the NYPD and the FBI, tags along with Dino on police investigations and generally makes a nuisance of himself. And to me, the worst part was that Carpenter tells him the story of how this assassin has been tracking her, yet after Stone goes behind her back to ring the assassin up and become her attorney overnight, Carpenter acts like nothing is wrong and continues trying to get him back into her bed. There's nothing real or likable about Stone. He's an arrogant, pompous windbag who acts morally outraged that an assassin is a target for being killed by British Intelligence for killing their men and woman, yet he has no qualms whatsoever about breaking the law himself when it suits his purpose. While Dino remains a fun character, the women Stone beds keep getting lamer and lamer. And please, someone tell me...just how much is Elaine paying him for all this free publicity? Finally, how many more times is the author going to put that idiotic self-serving note in the back of his books telling readers what they can and can't write to him about? All that does is make me fire off e-mails to him pointing out all his mistakes. Next is adding him to my address book for chain letters. Save your money...this series started going downhill a long time ago, and it's not getting any better.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition