cover image Shakeup


Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-18832-3

At the start of bestseller Woods’s fun 55th novel featuring debonair New York attorney Stone Barrington (after Choppy Water), Stone returns to the Washington, D.C., hotel where he’s staying for the inauguration of his longtime paramour, Holly Barker, as president—only to find the body of Patricia Clark, the incoming secretary of commerce’s wife, lying on the floor of his suite. The chief suspect is the victim’s husband, Dan Clark, with whom she was going through a contested divorce. Holly soon dismisses Dan from her cabinet. Stone and his New York City police commissioner pal, Dino Bachetti, help investigate the Clark case and subsequent related murders. An obvious villain doesn’t lessen the tension of the cat-and-mouse game that ensues. Meanwhile, Stone and Holly contrive to meet discreetly for sex as often as possible. Fortunately for Stone, more than one attractive, willing woman is available when Holly isn’t around. Better yet, nobody gets jealous. Woods’s alternate universe—in which the first female U.S. president is succeeded by the second female U.S. president—provides perfect escapist fare. [em]Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.) [/em]