I read this book about 20-Jun-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1998. This note was last modified Wednesday, 29-Jun-2016 20:29:58 PDT.
This is book 4 of the "Stone Barrington" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Opens with a "prologue" which is actually a retelling of an event that happens in the middle of the book. In which Stone Barrington gets chained to an anchor and tossed overboard. Annoying, it's not past action, it's something from the middle of this book, just thrown in to tease us or something. (I did notice the moment when he arranged to steal and secrete the tool he frees himself with on the way down.)
The title, incidentally, is from that event, and also from a Raymond Chandler novel.
Vance Calder calls him to help with Arrington having been kidnapped, and then arranges for him not to be able to help. Stone gets suspicious and digs around a lot. Eventually they get Arrington back, and they don't sell off the studio to property developers (this is an event referenced later).
I think in a number of ways the earlier books are better crafted than the later ones.