cover image Black Dog

Black Dog

Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-54000-8

Bestseller Woods’s slick 62nd novel featuring suave New York attorney Stone Barrington (after A Safe House) opens with the arrival of recently widowed Annetta Charles at Stone’s Manhattan townhouse. Annetta wishes to make changes to her will regarding her stepson, Eddie Charles, “the black dog of the family.” When Stone says you mean “black sheep,” she replies, “He’s all dog, all the way through, and a mean one, at that.” Annetta wants Stone to set up a trust paying Eddie $100,00 a month for her lifetime, because she believes it’s the only way to stop Eddie from killing her. Annetta’s been receiving threatening notes she’s sure are from Eddie, with whom she wants no further contact. It’s Stone’s job as trustee to deal with Eddie. Thereafter, Eddie, despite being a smart Yale Law School graduate, keeps doing stupid things like showing up unexpectedly at P.J. Clarke’s, where Stone and best pal Dino Bacchetti, the New York City police commissioner, often dine, to annoy Stone. A couple of murders, glimpses into the lifestyles of the ultrawealthy, and comic if at times edgy banter between Stone and Dino keep the pages turning. As usual, Woods gives his fans exactly what they want. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Aug.)