Cut and Thrust: A Stone Barrington Novel
CUT AND THRUST is Stuart Woods's 30th Stone Barrington novel. In this latest suspense offering, Stone and a powerful group of his friends are on their way to Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention. First is the President of the United States, William Jefferson Lee, and First Lady Katherine Rule Lee, also a candidate for the upcoming election. Next is Ann Keaton, Katherine’s deputy campaign manager who is also acknowledged as Stone's girlfriend. As the plans continue to move along, more people are added to the growing list of passengers who will be aboard Stone's plane.
Every one of Stone's traveling companions is given shelter at his glorious hotel in Los Angeles's upper echelon of hotels. Once they gather themselves and move onto the convention floor, they are amazed to see how much chaos is afoot. They quickly become aware of the bargaining and backroom deals being made among and for the delegates.
"Fans and readers new to Stuart Woods will not be disappointed by this masterfully crafted political thriller."
Stone uses his sixth sense when it comes to assessing and judging the motives of people. And he just doesn't feel comfortable with Special Agent Mervin Beam of the Secret Service, who is in charge of the L.A. office. The two men meet privately when Beam requested this powwow. Stone is handed an email that threatens Kate's life. As a former New York policeman, Stone’s radar is instantly on high mode. But as things come to pass, this episode will take readers on a twist in the narrative they never expected.
After they land and things calm down, Stone is contacted by his son, Peter, who lives in Brentwood. He and a friend have purchased parcels of adjoining land in order to build two houses for themselves and their significant others. Dinner party rules and invitations are exchanged, and a pleasant evening is had by all. The next day, Stone visits the property and is roundly impressed.
Later, as the entourage is getting ready for the gala at the convention center, Agent Beam brings Stone a complaint. Kate changed the seating plan, and he is clearly against where she wants people to sit. When Stone tells Ann, she says that Beam is probably just nervous because of the high stakes of his responsibility. But that is not good enough for Stone.
One of the friends who is part of the group is Ed Eagle. He is close to Stone and not embarrassed to tell him that his ex-wife Barbara is on the prowl for him. She wants him dead. A series of cloak-and-dagger attempts at his life are foiled, and Barbara turns the whole situation around to where she has gotten the press to believe that it is Ed who is after her. Of course he fights back, but damage control is difficult to maintain.
The convention continues in the mode that these things do, with bargaining and secrets pushing the characters along with the action. Fans and readers new to Stuart Woods will not be disappointed by this masterfully crafted political thriller.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on July 18, 2014