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Below the Belt

Cover of Below the Belt

Below the Belt

A Stone Barrington Novel Series, Book 40
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Stone Barrington lands in hot water in the new adventure from the celebrated author of more than fifty New York Timesbestselling novels.

Newly ensconced in his Santa Fe abode with a lovely female companion, Stone Barrington receives a call from an old friend requesting a delicate favor. A situation has arisen that could escalate into an explosive quagmire, and only someone with Stone's stealth and subtlety can contain the damage. At the center of these events is an impressive gentleman whose star is on the rise, and who'd like to get Stone in his corner. He's charming and ambitious and has friends in high places; the kind of man who seems to be a sure bet. But in the fickle circles of power, fortunes rise and fall on the turn of a dime, and it may turn out that Stone holds the key not just to one man's fate, but to the fate of the nation.
From the Hardcover edition.
Stone Barrington lands in hot water in the new adventure from the celebrated author of more than fifty New York Timesbestselling novels.

Newly ensconced in his Santa Fe abode with a lovely female companion, Stone Barrington receives a call from an old friend requesting a delicate favor. A situation has arisen that could escalate into an explosive quagmire, and only someone with Stone's stealth and subtlety can contain the damage. At the center of these events is an impressive gentleman whose star is on the rise, and who'd like to get Stone in his corner. He's charming and ambitious and has friends in high places; the kind of man who seems to be a sure bet. But in the fickle circles of power, fortunes rise and fall on the turn of a dime, and it may turn out that Stone holds the key not just to one man's fate, but to the fate of the nation.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Stuart Woods

    1

    Stone Barrington landed the CJ 3 Plus smoothly at Santa Fe Airport at midafternoon. Holly Barker sat next to him in the copilot's seat. "Very nice," she said.

    "Thank you," Stone replied, and taxied to the ramp, where a rental car was waiting for them. He transferred their luggage to the car, and Stone went inside and made arrangements for regular hangar space. Back in the car, he drove through the automatic gate.

    "Excited?" Holly asked.

    "I guess so, yes."

    "If I had just bought a new house, sight unseen, I'd be terrified."

    "It's not exactly sight unseen," he replied. "I've visited there a few times. It was owned by Ed Eagle's wife's sister."

    "Are we going to have a bed to sleep in?"

    "We are. I bought it substantially furnished."

    "What does that mean?"

    "We're going to find out in about twenty minutes," he said, turning onto the Santa Fe bypass. Twenty minutes later they turned off the main highway at the Tesuque exit.

    "What street is it on?"

    "This one—Tesuque Village Road." They passed the Tesuque Village Market, and a quarter mile later, Stone turned into a drive and reached out his window to enter the gate code into the keypad. The gate slid silently open, and they drove up a fairly long drive and parked in front of the house.

    "From here, it looks like every other house in Santa Fe," Holly said.

    "It's true, all Santa Fe houses look a little alike—it's the architectural style and the mock adobe finish." He unloaded their luggage, carried it to the front door, and saw that the key was in the lock, as promised. They entered a long hallway and found a large living room on their right. The big pictures that had hung over the fireplaces at either end were gone. Otherwise, things seemed as he remembered them.

    He gave Holly the tour of the kitchen, dining room, and his study, then led her to the master suite and showed her her bath and dressing room, where he left her luggage, then he took her into the bedroom. "Look," he said, "a bed to sleep in."

    "Now?" Holly asked mischievously.

    "Later. Unpack." He found his own bath and dressing room and unpacked his things, and they met in the study for drinks.

    "Thank God she left liquor," Holly said, sipping her bourbon.

    They had hardly sat down in the comfortable leather chairs when the phone rang. "I expect that's for the previous owner," Stone said, "but I'd better answer it." He pressed the speaker button. "Hello?"

    "Mr. Stone Barrington?" a woman's voice asked.

    "Yes."

    "This is the White House operator. Will you accept a call from President Lee?"

    "Which President Lee?" he asked.

    "I beg your pardon, the former President."

    "Of course."

    "Stone?"

    "Will, how are you?"

    "Very well, thank you. How's the new house?"

    "I moved in half an hour ago. How the hell did you find me here?"

    "Didn't you know? The White House operators can find anybody."

    "How's the other President Lee?"

    "Thriving."

    "And William Henry the Fifth?"

    "Rambunctious. I wanted to invite you to something in Santa Fe tomorrow evening—a fund-raiser, actually, but never mind that. It's dinner at the home of friends, followed by an evening at the Santa Fe Opera—La bohème."

    "Sounds wonderful, we'd love to."

    "Oh, yes, and give Holly my best."

    "Thank you, Mr. President," Holly said. "You're the only person at the White House who will talk to me."

    "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Stone. We all have orders from the...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 21, 2016
    At the start of bestseller Woods’s thrilling 40th Stone Barrington novel (after 2016’s Dishonorable Intentions), the debonair New York lawyer agrees to do a favor for his friend former U.S. president Will Lee, who’s visiting Santa Fe, N.Mex., where Stone has just bought a house. All Stone has to do is drive into the nearby mountains and retrieve a strong case (a sort of high security suitcase) from another ex-president, Joe Adams, and deliver it to Will at the Santa Fe opera after that night’s performance. When a rock slide on the mountain road prevents Stone from making his rendezvous, he ends up spending a lot of time looking after the strong case, which contains a retired CIA agent’s memoir with explosive secrets. One person whose reputation could suffer from the memoir’s revelations is charismatic Nelson Knott, who’s considering a run for president as a third-party candidate—and whose wealthy supporters are prepared to go to any lengths on his behalf. Woods keeps the suspense high all the way to the dramatic conclusion. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2016
    A favor New York attorney Stone Barrington agrees to do for a friend who's a powerful political veteran causes an unexpected amount of grief to everyone but Stone. Joe Adams used to be vice president and then, more briefly, president. Now that the Alzheimer's that took him out of politics is finally catching up with him, he wants Stone to take custody of a dauntingly reinforced briefcase filled with--well, he won't say exactly what. It turns out that an awful lot of other people are interested in the contents of that case, from former Russian CIA mole Ed Rawls, who's been living below the radar near Stone's Maine digs, to Christian St. Clair, who's willing to spend a significant fraction of his obscene wealth to bankroll the presidential campaign of online entrepreneur Nelson Knott. As Knott launches the Independent Patriot Party, which promises to take an outsider's wrecking ball to the D.C. establishment, diverse hirelings' increasingly determined attempts to wrest the locked case away from Stone make him wonder whether its contents could compromise his old friend Kate Lee's re-election bid--or whether the threat is to Knott's own straight-shooting candidacy. The stakes are so high that Stone has hardly a free moment to propose marriage to CIA chief Holly Barker, the most durable of his recent stable of lovers, before dashing the hopes of the would-be thieves for good. An unusually strong premise, and this time Woods keeps his eye on the ball, ignoring the siren call of consumer spending that sank Sex, Lies & Serious Money (2016) and so many others, plotting as if he actually means it. Warning, though: some ripped-from-the-headlines elements may extend fans' post-election blues.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2016
    Another Stone Barrington adventure, and no word yet on plot, but with over 1.2 million copies of novels by Woods sold in 2015 it doesn't really matter.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Below the Belt
A Stone Barrington Novel Series, Book 40
Stuart Woods
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