cover image D.C. Dead

D.C. Dead

Stuart Woods. Putnam, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-15766-0

Bestseller Woods’s lackluster 22nd Stone Barrington novel (after 2011’s Son of Stone) takes the New York City lawyer and his NYPD sidekick, Lt. Dino Bacchetti, to Washington, D.C. There, the U.S. president asks Stone, a retired homicide detective, and Dino, to look into a year-old murder case close to home. The FBI concluded that Brixton Kendrick, the White House’s manager “in charge of the physical plant and office arrangements,” murdered his wife, the president’s social secretary, then hanged himself, but the president and the first lady, who’s also the intelligence director, have their doubts. “FBI agents are not awfully good at investigating homicides,” the first lady remarks. Stone’s romance with Holly Barker, “an assistant deputy director for the CIA,” provides some heat, while further murders raise the stakes. A redundant subplot involving a fugitive former CIA agent adds little to the main story line. A fast pace compensates only in part for superficial characters with a penchant for spewing one-liners. (Jan.)