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Below the Belt: A Stone Barrington Novel


Below the Belt: A Stone Barrington Novel

Stone Barrington and his latest "love," Holly Barker, have just landed in Santa Fe. They are seeking some alone time when suddenly the phone rings. It's Will Lee. Stone is a good friend of the former President and his wife, the current President, Kate Lee, who is also Holly's boss. Will invites them to the opera, and Stone accepts.

When Stone and Holly arrive at the location to which they've been invited, Stone is stopped by a Secret Service man who escorts him to an SUV parked not far from the house. Will is waiting for him and has a story to tell.

"Stuart Woods can always be depended upon to deliver a page-turner, and BELOW THE BELT certainly fits into that category."

Years ago, Kate was the deputy director for intelligence at the CIA. She reveals that a man named Ed Rawls, who was a CIA mole for the Russians, went to prison. Will pardoned him after he had served seven years. Before Will ran for president, Kate had a meeting with Ed, who told her that the man who dropped out of the race for his second presidential term, Joe Adams, was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Nobody else knew except for Ed. Joe had picked Will to make the run.

Will's story is a long one. One part of it is the revelation that "while Ed was in prison he wrote an account of his years at the Agency, including the end of his career and how he surreptitiously helped Kate's campaign." What he wrote is explosive information that cannot be released to the public; it is a book written from memory in prison. He gives Joe "the manuscript and all the backup documents and computer discs." Joe and his wife want the material out of their house. "Joe appears to believe that some of Ed's revelations might hurt [Will’s] legacy" and interfere with Kate's reelection.

Will tells Stone that he must pick up the package that very night. He gives Stone the address, and this starts the propulsion of suspense. Stone arrives at the Adams' house, and before he knows it, he is handcuffed to a suitcase with a long chain. Joe will not reveal what the case contains, but Stone agrees to put it in his safe. Soon Stone meets with Ed, who tells him that the package is his insurance "against the wrong people getting a hold of the wrong case." The suspense continues until a murder is committed.

Stuart Woods can always be depended upon to deliver a page-turner, and BELOW THE BELT certainly fits into that category. His characters are limned with a strong hand, and the plot is attention-grabbing.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on February 3, 2017

Below the Belt: A Stone Barrington Novel
by Stuart Woods

  • Publication Date: August 29, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0399573984
  • ISBN-13: 9780399573989