Books: Stuart Woods “New York Dead”

August 9, 2008

A nice story about how I came to read this book. Back in June I started recording the books I’ve been reading by posting them on the blog (prior to that it was a separate page). The was a good move because I’ve had a few comments including this one:

Graham, if you’re “in to” action, might I suggest Stuart Woods “Stone Barrington” novels. I’m currently reading “Shoot Him If He Runs”, an ongoing adventure with the cast of characters seeking a former CIA bad guy.

I’ve read all the Reacher novels also and find them very good. As a former US Army Military Police Staff Sergeant, there’s been a few technical errors but, all in all, he’s right on the money.

First of all as a reader of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, (Reacher is a former US Army Military Police Sargent), it was nice to hear from a real former MP who reads them, but also to get a pointer on a new author. However, it seems to be hard to get hold of Stuart Woods books in the UK, but thanks to Amazon marketplace I managed to get hold of a couple and as Mike recommended the Stone Barrington character I started with New York Dead, the first in this series.

Well, at first I found this a little formulaic and like a cleched cop story (even being balled out by their chief and given 24 hours to solve the case), but that is my only criticism of this book which rapidly leaves that behind as Stone Barrington gets obsesed by the case, forced out of NYPD and moves on.

The initial unsolved murder is almost forgotten about as he gets caught up with other things, including the obligatory love affair, yet this and all the other cases that are mentioned almost in passing (thinking of the ‘taxi murders’) are drawn together very well and with solutions and twists that really can’t be seen coming.

The Stone character is well defined and interesting enough to keep the reader interested.  The book does to some extent feel like the start of a series as it establishes so many relationships with media, lawyers and police.

I’ve just ordered the next in this series from another second hand book shop, wish I’d thought about this in time to get a friend just back from the states to pick up a few.