Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bel-Air Dead

In Stuart Wood's Bel-Air Dead, there is something comforting in finding what you're looking for. It is liking putting on a comfortable slipper to slide into the head of lawyer, Stone Barrington, beginning with a Knob Creek bourbon and schmoozing with the regulars in Elaine's Restaurant (with a dedication to the late Elaine Kaufman, who loved writers and famous people) in New York City.  Naturally, there's murder involved, new private jets, people with lots of money buying new stuff and spending lots of their money. Escapism works for me--I can't relate to any of that stuff. I am vicariously rich.

He solves the murders, gets a new partnership, and lots more money. What more could a reader want in 300 pages? Stone Barrington has more unsafe sex and we try to overlook their disregard for the obvious. So why do I keep reading this pulp fiction? I know what to expect and I don't have to worry about some vulnerable creature getting offed in a frightening way or a twisted mind torturing someone. It's plain, old-fashioned greed and lust for power. I need to know how the rich and famous spend their lives so I can know what to avoid when I win the lottery. I can deal with that.

It's a business/legal drama, minus the courtroom. Stone isn't really a courtroom lawyer, he's a deal maker.  His buddy and cop friend, Dino Bacchetti comes along for the ride to Bel-Air so Stone has someone to talk to and to advance the plot. Stone needs someone else with a gun too, so they can do double dates and solve murders with fellow cops in faraway places. It makes gathering information so much cozier when there is a friend on a police force across the country who can provide just the clues needed to solve murders and unravel suspicious connections. Other old acquaintances from past books pop in to update the reader on the current state of their lives or to suggest plots for their next editions. I don't think this will be the last of the Stone Barrington, et all, adventures.

The buying and selling of houses, properties, jets, companies and throwing around of vast sums of money at a dizzying pace keeps the reader moving so fast that it is a quick read. It's really  great stuff for a beach read between dips in the water and the afternoon nap. Stuart Woods can keep 'em coming 'cause I'm not tired of them yet.


  1. Not my type of read, but you certainly make it sound intriguing. At least a little bit. I have three books I'm working on sitting on my table, and I have no time to finish them! What happened to all the time I thought I would have in retirement? :-)

  2. I enjoy mysteries and have some favorite authors. You make this sound fun and I like your throwing in your own tidbits.