cover image Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief

Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-33172-9

Bestseller Woods’s lighthearted 60th Stone Barrington novel (after Foul Play) opens at a Manhattan restaurant, where the suave attorney is waiting for his old pal Dino Bacchetti, New York City’s police commissioner. After Dino phones to say he won’t be there because of an emergency, an attractive young woman at the bar, Tink Dorsey, persuades Stone to buy her a drink. They wind up in bed back at Stone’s townhouse. The next day, Dino’s wife sets up Stone on a blind date with Kitty Crosse, who also wastes no time hopping into the sack with Stone. Coincidentally, both Tink and Kitty have the same investment broker, Viktor Zanian, who turns out to be running a Ponzi scheme. When Zanian flees the law on his private jet, Stone pursues Zanian in his own private jet, accompanied by a female FBI agent who likewise finds Stone irresistible. The plot amounts to an extended chase scene that reaches the Pacific and eventually the Middle East. Stone’s slugging Kitty’s nasty ex-husband is about as violent as the action gets, no one’s ever in real danger, and there are few surprises en route to the upbeat ending. Woods fans will get their money’s worth. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Dec.)