Putnam, April 2003, 25.95, 336 pp.
Stone Barrington serves of counsel to the New York law firm of Woodman & Weld, which means they are one step removed from any dirty work that has to be done for their high paying clients. Stone is asked to find someone to take pictures of Lawrence Fortescue cheating on his heiress wife so that, according to the terms of the prenuptial agreement, she can get a divorce and not pay him a cent in alimony. While the man Stone hires takes pictures, he has dinner with Carpenter, a beautiful espionage agent he met in England last year.
When Stone retrieves the pictures, Carpenter recognizes Lawrence as one of the agents in her unit who quit the service. The woman in the picture Marie-Therese, a deadly assassin who blends as well as a chameleon into her surroundings killed him. She has a vendetta against those people in Carpenter's unit and has killed most of them with the exception of three people. Carpenter intends to get her before Marie-These kills her but Stone is the wild card in this spy game with no rules.
The protagonist of this novel stays true to his own moral code even if it means working against his current lover. Stone brings a touch of class to the spy game, not waiting for foreign nationals who are supposedly the good guys, to make a hit on American soil. The antagonist of this thriller is easy to understand and even sympathetic when she agrees to a truce that Stone arranges. Stuart Woods knows how to tell a good story while showing his audience just how ugly the spy game can get.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner