Stone Barrington becomes involved in a 25 year old robbery case that turns into murder and revenge. Stone Barrington is a retired NYPD detective turned attorney. Once put in charge of law firm Woodman and Weld's somewhat seedier clientele, Stone has now become a full partner and is considered to be a “stand up guy.”
Click here to see the rest of this review
Stone receives a visit from would-be client John Fratelli. Fratelli has just completed 25 years in Sing Sing for being a getaway driver in a heist. During his time in prison, Fratelli befriended Eduardo Buono, the mastermind behind a robbery at JFK some years earlier. Buono and his cronies got away with $15 million only Buono's share was never found. Fratelli was Buono's protector while he was in prison. As a reward for his protection and friendship, Buono leaves Fratelli $2 million shortly before he dies in prison.
Fratelli has been out of jail for a day. He collects the money left in Buono's safe deposit box. On his way to see Stone for legal advice, Fratelli is shot at by an unknown assailant. Fratelli wants to know if the money is legally his and, if so, what he should do with it. Stone says the statute of limitations has run out of the robbery so, yes, the money is legally Fratelli's to spend as he wishes. Stone suggests that Fratelli get out of town to avoid being shot. Fratelli pays stone in cash and goes on his way.
After Stone's secretary deposits the money from Fratelli, Stone receives a visit from the Secret Service. The bills have been earmarked by the bank because they are 25 years old and suspected to be from the JFK heist. Stone plays coy and the men go away.
As is Stone's habit, he becomes involved with Henrietta “Hank” Cromwell, a beautiful woman who is also an expert chef. Stone and Hank have a whirlwind affair during which Stone tells her about the money and the heist. Fratelli is safe in Florida getting on with his life so Stone feels as if that business is over and done.
Stone learns that Onofrio “Bats” Buono wants his Uncle Eduardo's share of the money. Hank tells Stone she used to be involved with Bats and that he is a violent man. Soon people are taking shots at Stone and trying to find Fratelli to get at the money.
Meanwhile, Stone maintains his friendship with the President of the United States Will Lee and his wife, First Lady and former director of the CIA, Katherine Rule Lee. Kate has decided to run for President and has enlisted Stone's help.
Bats Buono kidnaps Hank Cromwell and demands that Stone pay $7 million to have her returned unharmed. Stone tries to explain that Buono only left $300,000 to Fratelli and that Fratelli is gone. Bats doesn't care. He knows Stone is very wealthy and will not miss $5 million if it means getting his girlfriend back. Stone agrees to pay the ransom. Stone enlists the aid of his best friend and former partner, Dino Bachetti to help him deal with the Buono situation. The Connecticut state police become involved when it is learned that Bats has taken Hank to a cabin in the state. When they get to the cabin, Buono is nowhere to be found. Hank is unharmed. Later, Buono's body is found behind the cabin. Hank becomes a suspect but Stone remains involved with her. This is a mistake as Hank is the one who killed Buono and has planned the entire heist all along. She is working with her real partner, Marty, who was also Bats' business partner. Together, they tie up Stone and steal the $5 million.
Dino and Stone figure out that the couple probably returned to the cabin. When they arrive, they find Marty dead and Hank is nowhere to be found. They track Hank to an airport where she lay dead in her van. At the same time she was killing Marty, Marty shot Hank and she finally bled out. Stone retrieves all but $500,000 of his money.
Stone meets an insurance adjuster named Crane Hart. They immediately begin an affair. Crane is terrified of her estranged husband so Stone protects her and pushes the divorce through quickly. Crane seems eternally grateful until the next day when she decides to get back together with her violent husband, leaving Stone out in the cold.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the wit and the pace of the story because there are many layers to keep one's interest.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is the one in which Stone borrows a baseball bat from a guy in Central Park to "discourage" two goons planning to attack him.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Stone because he is witty and smart while remaining more than a little gullible.