cover image Hush-Hush


Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-18835-4

Edgar winner Woods’s entertaining 56th Stone Barrington novel (after Shakeup) opens with the suave New York City attorney receiving an extortion letter on his computer demanding $1.5 million. Stone, who does consulting work for the CIA, calls his friend Lance Cabot, the CIA director, who dispatches Roxanne “Rocky” Hardwick, an attractive CIA operative, to Stone’s Manhattan townhouse to check out the computer. Rocky, with whom Stone is soon on intimate terms, helps determine that Russian thugs with a grudge against Stone are out to get him. A cat-and-mouse game ensues as Stone, with Rocky in tow, flies his private plane to places where he has second homes—first Paris and later the south of England—to evade his enemies. The tension rises as Stone and his allies prepare to meet the chief villain, a Russian known as the Greek, at a Manhattan restaurant to discuss a truce, but the main thrills come in the final chapters when the Greek and his henchmen invade the Maine island where Stone has a summer house. Woods smoothly blends lighthearted banter among Stone and his pals with deadly battles, whose casualties are nearly all generic bad guys. Series fans will eagerly await Stone’s next adventure. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Dec.)