New York Dead Book Review

New York Dead Book Review

Title: New York Dead
Author: Stuart Woods
Published: 1991, Harper
No. of Pages: 325
Cover Price: $5.99 US

Stuart Woods introduces his popular character, Stone Barrington, in New York Dead, the first installment of the Stone Barrington series. Stone, who is on light duty as detective for the New York Police department, due to a bullet to his knee, is walking home and witnesses a body falling from the 12th floor of an apartment building. He recognizes the body as a well-known newscaster, Sasha Nijinsky. Thinking Nijinsky is dead, he runs to the apartment to check things out, sees someone running, and makes chase. He loses the person, however, but is assigned the case. Nijinsky, it turns out, is still alive and is being transported to the hospital in an ambulance. Unfortunately, the ambulance is broadsided by a fire truck; one of the occupants is killed, and Nijinsky disappears. As Stone and his partner, Dino, are investigating the case which they believe is a homicide (sans body, though), Stone meets a beautiful woman, Cary, with whom he has a steamy affair, and with whom he falls in love. One of Nijinsky’s lovers is a suspect in the case, but Stone is sure "she’s" innocent. His partner and others on the case, however, push to get her charged; she commits suicide, and they close the case. Because of a doctor’s report, Stone is forced to retire from the police department. It bothers him that the real perpetrator has not been found, so he pursues the case on his own.

Although Woods’ later novels have a distinct easy-going style, the writing in this novel is quite amateurish and it is not one of his best. In addition, the love scenes are awkward; it’s obvious Woods is not destined to be a romance writer – romance is not his strong point and the dialogue in this area is ridiculous and artificial. Also, his characters use a fair amount of profanity, which seems forced and doesn’t fit with the characters’ personalities.

On the positive side, Stone Barrington is a likeable character (unless you happen to be romantically involved with him since he has no problem sleeping with anyone in a skirt), and this novel is worth reading to learn about his background and be introduced to other main characters who will appear later in the series. There are several surprises as the novel progresses, and the end is also unexpected. New York Dead is a fast read, Stone Barrington is handsome and appealing, and thriller readers will enjoy trying to figure out who the bad guys really are.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: New York Dead (Stone Barrington Novels)

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