To Stuart Woods, author of TWO-DOLLAR BILL, I have this to say: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thanks for yet another riveting read starring a familiar and favorite character, Stone Barrington. I have a high level of expectation for these books, and once again you've managed to meet and exceed that expectation in spades.
Stone Barrington is a lawyer with an attitude. While other lawyers may be bogged down with their revised tax codes, durable powers of attorney and corporate restructuring, good old Stone never takes a case that leaves us less than enthralled, even when he has no idea that that's what he's doing. If I worked for Stone, I can only say my days as a legal secretary would have been infinitely more enjoyable if perhaps also more dangerous.
This time Stone finds himself with a larger-than-life client, Billy Bob Barnstormer, a Texan with more money than sense and a propensity for tipping with stolen two-dollar bills. While Billy Bob might not have been Stone's first choice for a client, being cash-poor provides Stone with the motivation to accept this questionable but highly recommended client who immediately secures Stone's services with a $50,000 retainer.
As usual, Stone is called upon to go above and beyond the call of duty. Within hours of meeting his new client, bullets are flying and Stone finds himself once again in danger. Grudgingly Stone puts Billy Bob up for the night and wakes up to a real Texas-style breakfast of steak and eggs and a gutful of indigestion caused by the food and other things.
While Stone's houseguest does his best to be considerate, even going so far as to show his appreciation with a gift of black alligator luggage worth something in the area of $50,000, even a good guest becomes a pain when he leaves a dead hooker in the guest bedroom.
Barrington fans will be delighted to see all the old regulars present in TWO-DOLLAR BILL, giving it the familiar feel of a family reunion. We get the chance to catch up with old pals such as Bill Eggers, managing partner of the esteemed Woodman & Weld; Dino Bacchetti, Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department; Elaine, proprietor of Stone's favorite restaurant; Lance Cabot, member of the CIA; and last, but certainly not least, Arrington Calder, old flame and recurring love interest.
A new face in the mix is the newly appointed Tiffany Baldwin, U.S. Attorney for New York. As can be anticipated with any new female in Stone's orbit, it doesn't take long for Tiff and Stone to become as close as two people can. Having that particular closeness videotaped and broadcast on the Internet, however, was a little snafu no one anticipated.
TWO-DOLLAR BILL is filled with all the requisite twists and turns that any avid reader has come to expect in a Stuart Woods novel. Woods has once again proven his mastery of suspense and the written word with his 28th book. For those not acquainted with Stone Barrington, it's time to make his introduction. To old fans, you won't be disappointed. To all, it would be well worth your while to check out Mr. Woods's other recurring characters, Holly Barker and Will Lee, as well as any of his stand-alone novels. To this reader, Stuart Woods is king. Long live the king!
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 24, 2011