Not like this would be my first rodeo, as I’ve long suggested, now, Stuart Woods’ books are — for me — simply mind candy. Maybe with fewer bad side effects, no rotting teeth, no sugar spikes, but there’s a kind of quality, and when I see the book is there on the aisle of the discount store, first thing in the cart.
Note so very long ago, I hit upon what this was like, at least in my own way of seeing it, Hardy Boys for adults.
All I remember about the Hardy Boys and, for that matter, Nancy Drew, were the color, size and shape of the novels themselves. They felt substantial in a fifth grade hand, I’m guessing. Durable, too, as I never saw them in paperback; although, I’m sure, by now, that’s changed, but those were library copies, then. Hardy Boys covers were blue, and Nancy Drew covers were yellow. Each series took nearly a whole shelf in the school’s library.
When I look at my personal collection of Stuart Woods’s books, I see the same publisher, I think, probably Penguin/Time-Warner/AOL/Microsoft/Facebook/Random media conglomerate. But the covers come right off and the hardback gets passed around amongst about three or four of us, and then it winds up back on my shelf with a pristine cover. Devoured the insides, but the cover looks good.
From some spurious online documentation, the author suggested his publisher asked for 4 books in a year, up from his usual 3, and that put him in a bit of a crunch, as now, he uses collaborators on some of the books.
Still, I admire the actual binding, printing, styling of the books themselves, good products, and then, the prose, typically taut, suspenseful, paced, and just the right amount of detail, although, even if I was that rich, I doubt I would drink that expensive stuff. Then, too, there’s the character’s endless parade of women.
It is fiction.
I’ve stayed in the same neighborhoods in London, same hoods, even same hotels in Santa Fe. I know next to nothing about LA or New York with precious little experience, an afternoon, and two days, for each. Thus noted, his descriptions seem good enough to fill in details, the right amount of details, to bring it to life, for me, as a reader.
There’s trouble ahead in this one, I would expect, can Stone save the free world? With the original, elegant James Bond touch, even? Yeah, over the years, following character from broke but honest cop to flying private jets all over? Yeah, the original Bond. Even the same caliber. Same locations, and with a woman boss, just could see the real Dame Judi Dench as that character.
Easy enough to cast in my minds eye.
There’s a little part of this ongoing series that strives to replicate dime detective series. In truth, I think they are about the same length, but this is rather polished prose. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal, too, I don’t pretend that this is any kind of high-brow art, but it is — in my mind.
Good book, suspense until the end.
“Good to the last drop.”