Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kiss and Tell

Kisser by Stuart Woods (Main and Avoca, F Woo)
Reviewed by Doris

Kisser, the newest Stuart Woods book, continues the exploits of Stone Barrington, the NYPD detective turned attorney. Stone works for a major, prestigious law firm in New York handling cases that come under the heading of “discretion necessary.” Most of his cases are the kind the tabloids love, but with which the high-powered law firm does not want to be publicly associated. This time the client is a major art dealer whose twenty-three years old daughter has fallen into the hands of a drug-dealing Svengali. Stone’s job is to get rid of the boy friend any way he can, short of murder. With the help of his buddy Dino who is still a NYPD detective lieutenant and another contact within the police department, Stone sets motion a sting that will take down the Bernie Madoff-wannabee. As the scenario plays out, Stone realizes the police have their own agenda and the young woman he is trying to extricate from the situation is at risk of arrest or being killed. He has to play the ends against the middle to save the girl and the situation from becoming deadly and while avoiding the clutches of a former lover who happens to be the U. A. Attorney handling the case.

Meanwhile, Stone picks up an actress who has come to New York to become a Broadway star. Carrie is gorgeous, talented, cunning, and just maybe a pathological liar. She is also being stalked by her ex-husband who took her leaving him with most of his fortune in tow a bit hard. Trying to protect Carrie while finding out if she is telling him the truth, and handling the two other women with whom he finds himself in bed just exhausts the poor Stone.

Adding to the complications for Stone is the re-emergence of his ex-wife, the crazy Dolce. Daughter of a Mafia don, Dolce tried to slash Stone’s throat. Her daddy has kept her under lock and key for years since the attempted murder, but a new doctor thinks Dolce needs to get out more. Dolce’s idea of getting out is stalking Stone one more time. Filled with a sense of déjà vu, Stone knows it is only a matter of time until she tries to kill him again.

The plot involving the young woman and the drug dealing con man is actually interesting. The subplot of Stone becoming intimately involved with the female detective working the case and the female assistant to the art dealer father is overdone and distracting. Except for a little twist that comes at the end which I saw coming a couple of chapters before, the outcome is predictable. The touches of evil that waft off the crazy ex-wife are tantalizing—I was kind of cheering for her and her knife by the end of the book. As for the actress, Stone turns out to be a man easily manipulated by a beautiful woman, especially if she is smarter than he is. In this book, all the women are smarter than he is.

Stuart Woods is a very popular author with our patrons, and I have enjoyed a number of his books. His newest release Kisser just does not make the grade though. Filled with gratuitous sex scenes that detract from any plot, it took less than three hours to read because it is merely a couple of hundred pages of scenes set like a bad TV show.

If you are a devoted Stuart Woods fan, read Kisser. It won’t take long, and it won’t leave much of an impression. If you aren’t a big fan, wait. He will have a better book out soon.


  1. You're more optimistic than I with regard to a better book coming out soon. It seems each one gets more of a "phoned it in" feel than the one before. It's not only the story, which I found so-so, but Woods isn't able to make me care about the characters anymore.

  2. I am not a fan. But recently, I found a large-print of one of his books and brought it to my mother, who recently moved to skilled nursing care. She found it wonderfully diverting and a fast read, so I'm grateful to him!

  3. Thanks for the comments. Clea, I think many of his earlier books were fun reads. I still like his series using the female assistant director of the CIA. The Stone Barrington books have become a bore. I orignially liked the characters somewhat, but the last three books have not been very appealing. I agree, Terry that so-so seems to sum it up very well.