Welcome to the 33rd book featuring filthy rich, impossibly well-connected female magnet Stone Barrington (or as I've taken to calling him, Stone Yawnington). Once again, the dialogue and action are ho-hum, but then that's the usual pattern. Maybe I've simply grown accustomed to it, but I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed this one more than the last two - or three or four, almost all of which failed to rate higher than three stars.
It gets off to same old, same old, with prominent attorney Barrington taking ownership of a fancy new private jet and bedding at least two beautiful women all in the first couple of chapters (I'll give him points, however, for sticking with older, more experienced women for the most part instead of the youngest, blondest, beauty-pageant wannabes). One of those women is a pilot, who provides the requisite training for Barrington before he can fly his new machine solo.
This, in turn, ushers in the first storyline: she's moved to New York, Barrington's home base, in large part to get away from a menacing former boyfriend who has a criminal background and apparently is intent on keeping her in his possession. In fact, wherever she lands, he turns up; now, he's got Barrington in his sights as well.
At the same time, a trio of potential threats to international security have turned up to wreak as-yet-unknown havoc, posing problems for Barrington's long-time friend and now U.S. President Kate Lee (who recently was elected to replace her husband, Will, in the Oval Office). In one totally implausible early-on happening, another of the author's well-known characters, Holly Barker, now serves the President as a top adviser - and hires a young assistant almost literally from off the street on a gut feeling. Immediately, the young woman gets top security clearance world-wide and is given a major role in solving the security issue. Come on, now - I know the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C., have more than a few problems these days, but I refuse to believe it's that easy to land a job that puts you within whispering distance of the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Chapters switch from one storyline to the other, with Barrington playing a role in each - if only by listening to someone on the phone during dinner or while in bed with one of those women and repeating what he was told on the phone to the person he's with after he hangs up (who in turn repeats it to someone else - it's at those times that the Yawnington angle rears its boring head, and unfortunately, they happen way too often throughout the book). Still, everything gets resolved satisfactorily and in relatively good fun - well, make that almost everything; as usual, there's at least one dangling issue that no doubt will carry over to the next Barrington book.
And yawns notwithstanding, no doubt I'll be reading that one as well - if only to see what wine goes best with sauteed foi gras.
Hot Pursuit by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam's Sons, April 2015); 352 pp.