At this point - having read too many books in the Stone Barrington series to count - I think I've finally come to terms with the things that started to bother me a few years back when the books got noticeably shorter and more boring (to the point that I began referring to the filthy rich New York lawyer as Stone Yawnington). In fact, I've rather enjoyed the last three, as I did this one. Where else will you find someone who, after just one look, buys an English mansion for 10-1/2 million pounds, then heads to an auto dealership to snap up a new Bentley and a new Porsche?
In this case, Stone buys the house from the dying owner to keep it out of the hands of his unloved kids. Meanwhile, Stone's son Peter and his friend Ben, who are in the movie-making business, have released their latest effort - a story about a shady cult leader. The film is wildly successful (of course, since everything Stone and his offspring do is touched with gold); but a dangerous real-life "religious" leader is quite unhappy, insisting that the movie is based on him. He's mad as hell and isn't going to take it any more, but how far will he go to retaliate?
Early on, a dead body turns up as well, supposedly a suicide. But here, too, there's more to the story than meets the eye. Could his death really have been murder? And if so, who did it and why? Leave it to Stone and his close-knit group of friends (one of whom has the FBI director on speed-dial) to get to the bottom of it - in between making a deal on another huge property and spending a good portion of time on the back of a horse (in proper attire, of course).
All these questions and more are answered here, and was happy to end the book with no cliffhanger. As has been the practice of late, the book is quite short (311 pages). And at this point, I do suggest that readers interested in this series should begin with an earlier book. This one stands alone well enough, but it seems to me my enjoyment was enriched by my previous knowledge of the backgrounds of the major characters.
Scandalous Behavior by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam's Sons, January 2016); 311 pp.