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Book Note: Stuart Woods, New York Dead

I read this book about 3-May-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1991. This note was last modified Tuesday, 14-Jun-2016 09:43:02 PDT.

This is book 1 of the "Stone Barrington" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Got the library to cough up the first of the series!

This covers his last case as a policeman, and the process whereby he's medically retired (and basically thrown off the force; but with his medical disability payments intact), and his taking the bar exam and starting to work as an outside counsel handling disreputable situations for a very reputable law firm.

He's very close to the case, from seeing the body fall to sleeping with the murderer for a while. The state is spared the expense of a trial, she ends up threatening to jump off a building, and actually going over when she retreats carelessly (after showing herself to be a good fighter earlier). Stone nearly saves her, and nearly goes over himself. Also, she's shown as enough of a sociopath that threatening self-harm just doesn't seem like a tactic she would choose.

Bizarre strings of events are okay, but I'm less confident that the medical director of the high-status hospital would reveal fairly casually to a retired policeman that he'd covered up the rape of a patient by an intern.

The coincidences get out of hand, really. The independent video journalist turns out to be the serial killer hitting taxi drivers (they get in his way a lot), and the defrocked doctor-turned-mortician with an unpleasant fascination with dead women turns out to be a witness to the murder, and to have stolen the body.

And then the naked bigotry against gays, lesbians, and transsexuals really kind of drags the book down. It could, I think, with a bit of squiting be attributed solely to character attitude, but that's an excuse. The author thought it was acceptable; he made no effort to suggest other views. 1991 isn't long enough ago to excuse it.


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David Dyer-Bennet