cover image Unbound


Stuart Woods. Putnam, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1717-1

Hollywood producer Billy Barnett (aka former CIA agent Teddy Faye) takes center stage in bestseller Woods’s inventive 44th Stone Barrington novel (after 2017’s Quick & Dirty), while Stone offers guidance from the sidelines. After a drunk driver kills Billy’s wife while she’s crossing the street in Beverly Hills, Billy takes a leave of absence from his studio and starts driving east. He ends up stopping in Santa Fe, N.Mex., where, coincidentally, nasty film mogul Dax Baxter, the husband of the woman who ran down his wife, is making a western. Dax has the connections to ensure that his wife, now in rehab, doesn’t get prosecuted. Under yet another alias, Billy succeeds in securing a job on Dax’s movie and starts exacting his revenge in small ways on the set. After figuring out that Billy is a threat and why, Dax hires a Russian thug to take care of him. Thanks to his CIA training, Billy proves more than a match for the bad guys as the action escalates in a series of tit-for-tat reprisals. Newcomers will find this installment an easy entry into Woods’s alluring world of wealth, power, and crime. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)