cover image Choppy Water

Choppy Water

Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-18829-3

Secretary of State Holly Barker is elected president in bestseller Woods’s exciting 54th Stone Barrington novel (after Hit List). New York lawyer Stone immediately invites Holly, his longtime paramour, to spend a week at his house in Islesboro, Maine. Holly and Stone secretly travel with a Secret Service detail to the island, where the next day they sneak out of the house and go for a sail. On their return, they discover that six agents have been shot to death. Who could have known Holly was on the island? Meanwhile in Virginia, bigoted Wade Sykes (“having a woman as president was bad, having two in a row is intolerable”) and his henchmen remain determined to assassinate her. They have a mole inside Holly’s transition team who knows her schedule, but fortunately the FBI has an undercover agent inside Sykes’s group. The tension mounts as Stone and his allies attempt to keep Holly safe, and Sykes and company maneuver to get a sniper in place at one of her public appearances. The action builds to a satisfying double climax. With its high political stakes, this is one of the better recent entries in this long-running series. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug.)