Attorney and former NYPD detective Stone Barrington is having
dinner at his frequent hangout, Elaine's, a cozy Manhattan
restaurant near his home. As usual, one of his dinner companions is
his ever-present former partner, Dino Bacchetti. The two are
confused though when another friend and colleague, Lance Cabot,
enters the restaurant, only to enter it again minutes later without
ever having left.
It turns out that the first man was Barton Cabot, the long-lost
brother of Lance Cabot, deputy director of operations for the CIA.
While Stone and Dino know Lance, they have yet to make Barton's
Barton is suffering from amnesia after being beaten by an
unknown assailant. As usual, Stone finds himself drawn into an
unusual situation when he agrees to watch over Barton and help him
find out the details of his life that he has now forgotten. Lance
isn't able to offer much in the way of assistance as he and Barton
have been estranged for years.
Unfortunately, when Stone turns his back for a moment, Barton
disappears. Can anything ever go smoothly? Luckily, Stone has many
connections and is able to track Barton down and aid him in piecing
together the mystery of his life.
As the plot thickens, it is discovered that before he retired to
the countryside, Barton was a commander in the Vietnam War. Several
subordinates and cohorts from that time suddenly make a
reappearance and become additional suspects. Is there anyone who
wasn't interested in this fine piece of furniture?
As usual, Stone manages to woo more than one woman per novel, a
la James Bond. It takes only a moment for Stone to make a
connection with a lady, and they always find him as appealing as he
does them. He's also not above pawning one off on an unsuspecting
friend when he tires of her company. Holly Barker, a character from
Woods's Orchid Beach series, also makes an appearance. The
author manages to seamlessly weave characters from one series to
another in a most believable way so that it's easy to forget which
series you are reading.
In HOT MAHOGANY, Stone spends much time in the New England
countryside, both at his home and the homes of others, making one
eager for a getaway to the Northeast, particularly to the rich and
luxurious homes of those who can afford to purchase the antique
secretary. The book is familiar in a comforting way, bringing us
characters we've come to know and love. On the other hand, there
are many new and intriguing faces --- characters who truly are
characters. The mystery of who stole the secretary, how they took
it and its whereabouts make for interesting reading.
In fact, the only problem with HOT MAHOGANY is that it ends all
too soon. Rather than living in the rich and exciting world of
Stone Barrington, we are thrust back into our own mundane
existence. I would like to have stayed in the world of Stuart
Woods’s mind just a little bit longer.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 22, 2011