Predictable, arriving so close on the eve of the election, a welcome relief. Total distraction with the usual hijinks — couple of dead bodies, starlets, an ushering in and out of bedrooms, and coasts.

Set against a mythical backdrop of New York City, the land of the rich and famous, with politicians, and peccadillos a part of the landscape, what I’ve come to openly admire in these works is a quick, breathless pace to the narrative, combined with an almost minimalist approach to the story-telling itself, and then, quick, decisive action. From boardrooms, to fancy restaurants, the lifestyle of the rich and famous, all the while the main character in this series attempts to portray his humble roots as a beat cop in the city.

The story opens when a women is elected president, much to the dismay of the more traditional media outlets and conservative parties. The main character? He’s her occasional lover. Think: friends with benefits; although, honestly? Amongst that presumptive age, that’s less of thing.

I think I read that this is Stone Barrington #54, but I didn’t bother to look it up, there are, I’m guessing, over 50 of these, and while not originally my preferred type of reading, the craftsmanship of the novel, and its pacing, all impeccable, and therefore, I’ll walk a mile to get a new copy.

Observed: Stuart Woods produces three-four books in a year. No longer top of the list of best-sellers, the books are reliable, fun for me, and from my perspective, solid novels. The first sentence that formed in mind, “He churns out three or four books in a year’s time,” but using the term “churn” isn’t fair; the books are of good quality. Beyond the cover art, past the binding itself, the individual books hold up well over time. In the last dozen books, think more like in the last two-dozen books, I think I’ve only found one or two typographical mistakes, if that. But delve deeper than the obvious, and the interlocking words, the pace of the prose, the construction of the bits that hold the story together, the details selected, the action, real, or fictional, all of that works in my mind.

There is a certain “absence of style” that I admire, and one of the reasons I’ll voraciously read each one of these novels. Doesn’t take long, not like it’s a challenge, maybe 50K words, and the stories, the recurring characters, this forms an over-arching series format, but still, I like the novels.

Serial entertainment, and for those of us keeping up with it all? My recent label works best for me: Hardy Boys for adult-aged people.


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