4 stars out of 5
This is the 34th novel about the life and loves of super-rich New York lawyer Stone Barrington. Although I enjoyed it more than some of the others over the past couple of years, I must note that I read it almost in one sitting - and on a day I was cooking dinner for friends, no less. In part, that's because it's just 320 pages; it's also because even when something happens that borders on action, no one gets the least bit worked up and it's easy to breeze through without fear of missing anything important. At times, in fact, the "excitement" happens when both parties hang up the phone.
Case in point: A typical conversation, as Stone - who apparently has become the target of mobsters - is warned to hole up in his fortified mansion.
"If I can't go out, then maybe I should have a dinner party. I don't do that often enough."
All rightee, then. But don't misunderstand; such is the author's style, and - Lord help me - I've rather come to enjoy the laid-back way the characters approach day-to-day life, even when murder happens and friends' lives are threatened. This one begins as Stone is introduced to a man looking to do business in New York, with guidance from Stone's prestigious law firm, Woodman & Weld. Turns out, though, that the man is encroaching on the established territory of a few criminals - and they don't take kindly to the situation.
That's when the action - if you want to call it that - begins, highlighted by a few murders, friends with bullseyes on their backs, anticipation of delivery of a fancy new airplane and [mercifully brief] reports of Stone bedding just about every eligible female he encounters including - be still my heart- a self-described "sex addict." The ending is gobsmackingly abrupt, leaving unfinished business that I suppose will be continued in the next book. On the plus side, since the last few were published within a few months of each other, I don't expect to wait long to find out.
Naked Greed by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam's Sons, July 2015); 320 pp.