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Wednesday, May 18, 2016


4 stars out of 5

Ah, another chance to revel in the world of the filthy rich. How rich? Well, how about a guy who buys two luxurious homes and a New York penthouse apartment for a mere $138 million, writing a check on the spot? Getting a look into the world as I'll never see it is, I suppose, one of the reasons I keep reading the books featuring near-billionaire New York attorney Stone Barrington, who hops in his fancy airplane (piloting it himself, of course) on a whim and is a personal friend of the first female President of the United States. It's for sure it's not because of the can't-put-it-down plot or nail-biting action; no, the most excitement Barrington and his friends get is being surprised at the choice of wine at dinner. For readers, it's likely to be which of the "ladies" will hop into Barrington's bed and which will be invited back.

It is a lady, of course, who gets the ball rolling here; her ex-husband, she claims, is out to kill her and she's got big bucks to pay for Barrington's legal help. Then a body turns up in a fancy mansion - conveniently next door to the mansion at which Barrington is a guest (a shift in the wind alerts his former cop nose that something is amiss). The victim has ties to his client's former husband, and the chase is on to find the guy before someone else bites the dust.

That chase leads to the discovery of an infamous and near priceless piece of jewelry, giving Barrington and his police friends a probable motive and Barrington a reason to hobnob with a colleague from exclusive auction house Sotheby's. Now all they have to do is find the murderer - and they put their minds to that task in between going to dinner parties, hopping in and out of the shower and arranging for property appraisals. Priorities, folks, priorities!

When it comes to ratings, I always waffle between 3 and 4 stars. But I must admit that despite my grousing, I rather enjoy this series (most likely because over the years I've simply become used to the banality of the stories and the ho-hum banter among the characters). The books - this is the 36th in the series, BTW - are great for deck or beach reading or when my brain is tired and balking at being challenged. Short chapters make it easy to stop any time I get the urge to do something else; reading this one in its entirety didn't waste much more than half a day. 

Family Jewels by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam's Sons, April 2016); 320 pp.

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