cover image Strategic Moves

Strategic Moves

Stuart Woods, Putnam, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-15711-0

At the start of Woods's routine 19th novel featuring lawyer and man of action Stone Barrington (after Lucid Intervals), Barrington has a lot to celebrate: he's received a $1 million bonus from Woodman & Weld, the prestigious New York City law firm of which he's "of counsel"; he can expect to make partner in the firm within a year; and he meets a beautiful widow, whom he's soon romancing. A murder close to home and a request from the CIA to help transport a fugitive, Erwin Gelbhardt, from Spain to the U.S., bring him back to earth. Gelbhardt, who becomes Barrington's client, reveals he knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but as the attorney works to get him the best possible deal from the American government, the bin Laden business goes nowhere. Newcomers may find Barrington an emotionally shallow cipher, while certain details, like the British government in the age of the Internet trying to suppress a story by banning sales of the New York Times, may strike others as less than credible. (Jan.)