3 1/2 stars out of 5
After two rather disappointing precursors to this, the 32nd Stone Barrington novel, I really wasn't expecting much from this one. But after the first several chapters, I found myself rather enjoying it. That's not to say much has changed; most of the "action" is back-and-forth banter and a ho-hum attitude to most everything that happens, including real action when someone gets bumped off ("Oh say, did you know your brother has been murdered?" "Yes, I just heard - bloody nuisance. Shall we have dinner at the club later?")
The story here, though, did seem a little more interesting to me than other recent books. The Presidential election is over and the filthy rich attorney Barrington, who provided both funding and advice for his friend Kate's campaign, is tapped to help post-election (no, I won't reveal whether she won or lost). Then his old friend with a shady past Eduardo dies, naming Barrington co-executor of the will and millions to be distributed to various family members. One of those just happens to have had a long-ago relationship with Barrington - one that almost turned deadly - and now he has to deal with her once again. Thrown in the mix are a political expose that threatens to take down some heavy-hitters, highly valuable paintings that may be forgeries and a couple of murders.
Through it all, Barrington never fails to pair the perfect wine with dinner and match his necktie with his pocket handkerchief. If he's let anything slide, it's the frequency and number of his bedmates; I really didn't keep count, but I think only a couple got between his sheets this time. That's okay with me, since his sexploits are probably more boring than the conversation.
If you're among the throngs who have all but given up on this series, I think this one is a cut above the last few and you might consider having a go at it. But I'd also suggest waiting till the cost comes down or borrowing it from a library; even if you end up loving it, it's almost too short to be called a book and really doesn't seem deserving of a full-size price tag.
Insatiable Appetites by Stuart Woods (Putnam Adult, January 2015); 310 pp.