Stone Barrington's ensemble is back, and this time the action takes
place on the tiny island of Dark Harbor off the coast of Maine.
Stone's cousin, Dick Stone, and his family have been killed in what
is set up to look like a murder/suicide. Surprisingly, in a
recently revised will that disinherited his brother Caleb, cousin
Dick left a generous portion of his wealth and the family home in
Dark Harbor to Stone. So the bittersweet visit to his new vacation
home becomes a working vacation for our investigative attorney as
Stone's curiosity is sparked not only by the deaths but by this
unexpected inheritance from a relative whom he had not seen more
than once or twice since they were teenagers.
I think that one reason why series mysteries are so popular is that
people enjoy getting reacquainted with established characters, know
what to expect from them, and can get on with the plot without
having to remember a host of new players. And Stuart Woods can
always be counted on to provide a fast-moving story in a variety of
In DARK HARBOR things are not always what they seem. For example,
Cousin Dick, who had just received a major promotion, did not work
for the State Department as purported but for the CIA. Could his
killing have been a retaliation murder for exposing a Russian spy
ring? Is Dick's brother Caleb taking his disinheritance too calmly?
The "Old Farts" golf buddies are not merely a codger collective but
a group of retired CIA agents who live on the island. And a local
craftsman, Harold Rhinehart, has a dark past that could put him at
the top of any suspect list.
In addition, two young housewives go missing and another CIA agent
is found murdered --- all this on a small island that doesn't even
have its own police station. As with every good mystery, the author
gives us just enough clues to make us feel as if we're part of the
action, but only the very clever will unravel all the intricacies
before the finale.
Stuart Woods has ingeniously created three separate series "stars"
whom he can choose to write around: Holly Barker, Stone Barrington
and Will Lee. All are distinctive and have their own locations and
storylines. There have been times when these characters would
interact, and now Woods has taken Holly Barker out of the Orchid
Beach, Florida Police Chief's office and promoted her to the FBI
(the more likely to cross paths with Stone Barrington, who seems to
be mellowing if not aging). Whichever storyline Woods decides to
pursue in his next book, fans of all three series can be confident
that they will be getting a rousing good story that is fun to
Reviewed by Maggie Harding, a substance abuse counselor in Phoenix, AZ who wanted to be Brenda Starr before life on December 29, 2010