3 stars out of 5
My reviews of the more recent Stone Barrington books haven't been all that great - the plots have been thin (almost nonexistent, in fact). As for real action? Fuhgettaboutit. This, the 31st in the series, started off much the same, with typical British understatement of just about everything that happens.
"Oh, someone has shot off your arm? Bummer. Might I offer you a glass of champagne before the ambulance arrives?" (my words, BTW).
There also seems to be more in-bed action in this one; within the first few chapters, Barrington has well satisfied, or so it is claimed, no fewer than three different women in about the same number of days. And, there's a fourth so eagerly awaiting her turn that she can't help grabbing his crotch - in public, no less.
From that description, one might assume I wouldn't care much for this one. In fact, it surprised even me by being, in the end, not all that bad, but still not good enough to earn 4 stars. Yes, the action is understated as usual, but at least there is some. The filthy rich attorney is in Paris for the opening of his new Arrington hotel and discovers that an old enemy - and a couple of new ones - are out to get him.
Meanwhile, there's a heated Presidential election going on; the current First Lady is in the running to replace her husband as the country's chief. Both are close friends of Barrington, who supports her candidacy and contributed heavily to her campaign (besides that, he's been cohabitating with the woman who will become her chief of staff should she win). Should that happen, Barrington may have to find someone else since she'll be too busy and too far away - bummer.
The threats keep coming - at least one of them because Barrington does something stupid like wander off by himself (reminiscent of the women in horror films who choose to run down a dark alley to escape the ax murderer who's chasing them). How he survives that one is more than a bit unrealistic, and in true Barrington fashion, he just shrugs off the whole episode as another day in Paris. His only notable emotion (even in bed) comes when he actually gets angry enough to say he'd love to see one of his would-be killers dead.
There's a cliff-hanger at the end - suggesting the topic and location of the next book, I suppose. And I suppose I'll read it, hoping that it'll be an improvement on this one.
Paris Match by Stuart Woods (Putnam Adult, October 2014); 312 pp.