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New York Dead

Cover of New York Dead

New York Dead

Stone Barrington Series, Book 1

Everyone is always telling Stone Barrington that he's too smart to be a cop, but it's pure luck that places him on the streets in the dead of night, just in time to witness the horrifying incident that turns his life inside out.

Suddenly he is on the front page of every New York newspaper, and his life is hopelessly entwined in the increasingly shocking life (and perhaps death) of Sasha Nijinsky, the country's hottest and most beautiful television anchorwoman.

No matter where he turns, the case is waiting for him, haunting his nights and turning his days into a living hell. Stone finds himself caught in a perilous web of unspeakable crimes, dangerous friends, and sexual depravity that has throughout it one common thread: Sasha.

Everyone is always telling Stone Barrington that he's too smart to be a cop, but it's pure luck that places him on the streets in the dead of night, just in time to witness the horrifying incident that turns his life inside out.

Suddenly he is on the front page of every New York newspaper, and his life is hopelessly entwined in the increasingly shocking life (and perhaps death) of Sasha Nijinsky, the country's hottest and most beautiful television anchorwoman.

No matter where he turns, the case is waiting for him, haunting his nights and turning his days into a living hell. Stone finds himself caught in a perilous web of unspeakable crimes, dangerous friends, and sexual depravity that has throughout it one common thread: Sasha.

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  • Chapter One

    Elaine's, late. The place had exhausted its second wind, and half the customers had gone; otherwise she would not have given Stone Barrington quite so good a table--number 4, along the wall to your right as you enter. Stone knew Elaine, had known her for years, but he was not what you would call a regular--not what Elaine would call a regular, anyway.

    He rested his left leg on a chair and unconsciously massaged the knee. Elaine got down from her stool at the cash register, walked over, and pulled up a chair.

    "So?"

    "Not bad," he said.

    "How about the knee?" Anybody who knew him knew about the knee; it had received a .22-caliber bullet eleven weeks before.

    "A lot better. I walked up here from Turtle Bay."

    "When's the physical?"

    "Next week. I'll tap-dance through it."

    "So what if you fall on your ass, tap dancing?" Elaine knew how to get to the point.

    "So, then I'm a retiree."

    "Best thing could happen to you."

    "I can think of better things."

    "Come on, Stone, you're too good looking to be a cop. Too smart, too. You went to law school, didn't you?"

    "I never took the bar."

    "So take the bar. Make a buck."

    "It's fifteen years since I graduated."

    "So? Take one of those cram courses."

    "Maybe. You're coming on kind of motherly, aren't you?"

    "Somebody's gotta tell you this stuff."

    "I appreciate the thought. Who's the guy at the bar?" To a cop's eye the man didn't fit in somehow. He probably wouldn't fit anywhere. Male Caucasian, five-six, a hundred and seventy, thinning brown hair, thick, black-rimmed glasses adhesive-taped in the middle.

    "In the white coat? Doc."

    "That his name or his game?"

    "Both. He's at Lenox Hill, I think. He's in here a lot, late, trying to pick up girls."

    "In a hospital jacket?"

    "His technique is to diagnose them. Weird, isn't it?"

    Doc reached over to the girl next to him and peeled back her eyelid. The girl recoiled.

    Stone laughed out loud and finished the Wild Turkey. "Bet it works. What girl could resist a doctah?"

    "Just about all of them is my guess. I've never seen him leave with anybody."

    Stone signaled a waiter for the check and put some cash on the table.

    "Have one on me," Elaine said.

    "Rain check. I've had one too many already." He stood up and pecked her on the cheek.

    "Don't be such a stranger."

    "If I don't pass the physical, I'll be in here all the time. You'll have to throw me out."

    "My pleasure. Take care."

    Stone glanced at Doc on the way out. He was taking the girl's pulse. She was looking at him as if he were nuts.

    Stone was a little drunk--too drunk to drive, he reckoned, if he had owned a car. The night air was pleasant, still warm for September. He looked up Second Avenue to see a dozen cabs bearing down on him from uptown. Elaine's was the best cab spot in town; he could never figure out where they were all coming from. Harlem? Cabdrivers wouldn't take anybody to Harlem, not if they could help it. He turned away from them; he'd walk, give the knee another workout. The bourbon had loosened it up.

    He crossed Eighty-eighth and started downtown, sticking to the west side of the street. He lengthened his stride, made a conscious effort not to limp. He remembered walking this beat, right out of the academy; that was when he had started drinking at Elaine's, when he was a rookie in the 19th Precinct, on his way home after walking his tour. He walked it now.

    A cop doesn't walk down the street like anybody else, he reflected. Automatically, he checked every doorway as he swung down Second Avenue, ignoring the pain, leaning on the bourbon. He had to prevent himself from trying the locks.

About the Author-
  • Stuart Woods is the author of more than forty novels, including the New York Times bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series. An avid sailor and pilot, he lives in New York City, Florida, and Maine.

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