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The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Novels) Paperback – 1 Jan 2003
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Praise for The Short Forever"A tight mystery right up to the end...good-guy charm."--The Palm Beach Post "[A] speedy tale...Bombshell revelations and multiple resolutions combine with the cinematic plot for a perfect flight or beach read."--Publishers Weekly
"Woods's effortless, crisp writing and nimbly staged action make this a breezy read."--PeopleMore 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
Stuart Woods is the author of more than sixty novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Stone Barrington series. He is a native of Georgia and began his writing career in the advertising industry. Chiefs, his debut in 1981, won the Edgar Award. An avid sailor and pilot, Woods lives in Florida, Maine, and New Mexico.
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In this story, he's sent to London on an unlikely mission for somebody who lies to him from the beginning about almost everything. Barrington acts like an innocent abroad, making elementary mistakes and displaying moments of sheer stupidity - right at the start he's apparently unable to read the word 'Concorde' on his airline ticket and goes to the wrong terminal in New York, and arrives in Britain with a passport that expires in a matter of minutes. He obligingly totes a satellite phone around, given to him by the villain of the piece, and it never dawns on him that the unit might be bugged, despite the fact that the bad guys unaccountably always seem to know exactly where he is.
Stuart Woods seems to be a big fan of coincidence, a trait I've noted before in his books, and this one is no exception. Almost as soon as Barrington arrives in London he's surrounded by old flames and people he knows and, as usual, ends up staying in the best hotels, drinking the world's most expensive and exclusive wines, and being invited to country houses for weekend parties. And despite acting as a veritable sexual athlete in previous books, and indeed in this one at various times, he also finds himself unable to perform more than once a night when that's necessary for dramatic reasons. It's all very unlikely.
The author comments in the acknowledgements at the end of the book that it was the first manuscript he'd produced that didn't need editing. In my opinion, his editor let him down badly, because the book would certainly have been better with some judicious editing to correct the numerous mistakes. For example, I have never heard any Englishman use the verb 'gotten', though Americans use it all the time; Heathrow Airport doesn't have an 'international departures' terminal, and so on.
The best Stuart Woods book I've read - yes. A good book? No, not really.
The Stone Barrington books are perfect summer reads, great for a relaxing day at the beach. If you are looking for something with a little intrigue, a little sex and a lot of glitz and glamour to let your imagination run wild this is the series for you.
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Not that I have anything against sex but making Mr. Barrington a sexual athlete that gets all the girls is odd at the his nominal age - he was supposed to be born in 1952 and kind of fifty something in all books published by Woods after 2000.
There are few other things I liked about the book. One little detail: there was, indeed, a military language school in Monterey, California, and my sister in law (no 3, my current sister in law is No 4) taught the Slovak language there for years. The school was closed in 1989 for obvious reasons.
Woods writes in this comments at the end of the book that this was his first book that virtually did not need editing of its substance. Perhaps some typos - I did not find any in this ebook.
The plot is definitely plausible with a killer properly killed before the book end while his adversary who does not kill but just steals can live for years to come.
Of course, stealing a strategic 'object' from UK government is rather vague, in a book by another US author an ingot of almost pure Uranium 235 (less than needed for a nuke) is bought in South Africa and used rather convincingly.
Woods, fortunately, does not pretend he understands anything of a technical nature, he is obviously an expert on good food, good drinks and easy women.
Altogether a fairly believable story using little bit of UK English (boot instead of trunk, lorry instead of truck, for instance) and with a true affection for the city of London.
Recommended for people of 14 years of age , there is not much of adult stuff there. Four stars.
The next day they all go out on Sarah's sizable yacht. Her fiance knows little about yachts. Stone has quite a bit of experience with yachts. he recognizes when Sarah is heading toward a dangerous jibe and warns her about it. She blunders into it and the swinging boom hits her fiance right on the head. That's a neat trick that requires some planing. Jibing is all too easy but hitting someone in the head is not that easy. I blundered into a jibe the first time I took my wife for a pleasant afternoon sail in our new 28-ft yacht. Fortunately my wife was short enough so that when she sat in the cockpit, the boom passed right over her without contact. She was also smart enough to stay seated when she saw me messing with the sheets as the wind swapped direction. Sarah's fiance, James, was taller and dumber and got knocked off the boat into the Solent unconscious. Stone dived in and tried to save James but could not get him and had to return to the boat empty-handed.
No one else on the boat was experienced at sailing. Erica's friend Lance thought Sarah did it on purpose. There was an inquiry into James' death and the Court believed Stone when he said the jibe seemed accidental, not mentioning that he had warned Sarah.
Stone manages to get himself into trouble trying to find out who Bartholomew really was, who Lance really was (ties to CIA) and what he was supposed to do. Along the way he meets a couple of real British spies (mason and Carpenter, a nice-looking lady in whom Stone was interested who help Stone find out Bartholomew's real name. I never did figure how everything related to Stone's original mission but the activity was interesting and somewhat suspenseful. Erica did return to New York with Stone. Carpenter did too and became a figure in the next installment of this two-part series - "Dirty Work." Stone made a lot of money from Lance's investment scheme though he was supposed to just show everyone what illegal activity Lance was engaged in.
p.s. the words are "ghost author" not goat which was a typo. Stuart Woods in my opinion, for my literary needs is a five star author.
The best part is that Stone is briefly reunited with Arrington. I have a feeling Arrington is going to be around for a long time, and I hope she is. I love Stone and Arrington together. Now more Stone please