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Worst Fears Realized

Cover of Worst Fears Realized

Worst Fears Realized

Stone Barrington Series, Book 5

Not a man to dwell on the past, Stone Barrington has no choice but to rattle old skeletons when the people closest to him start dying, and he has little to go on but the suspicion that the killer might be someone he once knew. The trip down memory lane isn't all bad though, for it reunites Stone with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti, now head of detectives in the nineteenth precinct.

Trying to find a brilliant killer in a sea of old faces is difficult enough without Stone's former love, Arrington, now Mrs. Vance Calder, resurfacing too--especially when she sets off her own fireworks coming nose to nose with his latest flame, a Mafia princess as beautiful as she is dangerous.

Caught on a thrill ride of a case that tests him as none has ever done before, Stone races to find a twisted madman with a taste for blood vengeance, with only a prayer to find him before Stone's worst fears are realized.

Not a man to dwell on the past, Stone Barrington has no choice but to rattle old skeletons when the people closest to him start dying, and he has little to go on but the suspicion that the killer might be someone he once knew. The trip down memory lane isn't all bad though, for it reunites Stone with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti, now head of detectives in the nineteenth precinct.

Trying to find a brilliant killer in a sea of old faces is difficult enough without Stone's former love, Arrington, now Mrs. Vance Calder, resurfacing too--especially when she sets off her own fireworks coming nose to nose with his latest flame, a Mafia princess as beautiful as she is dangerous.

Caught on a thrill ride of a case that tests him as none has ever done before, Stone races to find a twisted madman with a taste for blood vengeance, with only a prayer to find him before Stone's worst fears are realized.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The pain lay buried somewhere in the depths of Stone Barrington's upper body; a cross between a slipped disc and a coronary, it seemed. It had begun after a phone conversation early in the previous winter. The call, from Arrington Carter, had ended everything. Now she was the wife of another man, living in his house, rearing his son. He would never see her again, except in her husband's company, and he would never think of her again without feeling the pain.

    He had never believed it would persist into the following spring, but it had. If anything, it was worse. He saw Dino a couple of times a week, always at Elaine's. Dino was his closest friend--sometimes, he felt, his only friend. Not true, of course. Elaine was his friend, and the evenings in her restaurant, with Elaine and Dino, were the only bright spots in his week. His law practice had lately been boring, a personal injury suit that dragged on and on, a bone thrown to him by Woodman & Weld, because there wasn't enough meat on it to nourish a firm with thirty partners and a hundred associates. They were ready to go to trial, and the expected settlement offer had not materialized. It was depressing. Everything was depressing. And the pain continued, assuaged only by bourbon, and he had done too much assuaging lately. He sat at table number five, at Elaine's, with Dino, and ordered another assuagement.

    "Let's go to a party," Dino said. "Have your next one there."

    "I don't feel like going to a party with a lot of cops," Stone said.

    "It's not a cop party."

    "You don't know anybody but cops," Stone said.

    Dino caught the waiter's eye and signaled for a check. "I know lots of people," he said.

    "Name three who aren't cops or Mafiosi."

    "It's not a Mafia party, either," Dino said, dodging the question.

    "Whose party is it?"

    "It's at a deputy DA's."

    "Oh. Then we get to bring our own booze."

    "His name is Martin B-r-o-u-g-h-a-m," he spelled, "pronounced 'Broom,' and he's got some money, I think."

    "Isn't he handling the Dante trial?" Dante was a crime boss, and his trial was the most important since Gotti's.

    "He got a conviction this afternoon."

    "I hadn't heard."

    "Don't you watch the news anymore?"

    "Not much."

    "The party is to celebrate the conviction."

    "How come I don't know Brougham?"

    "Because he runs with a classier crowd than you're accustomed to. The only seedy lawyers he meets are in court."

    "Who are you calling a seedy lawyer?"

    "How many lawyers are at this table?"

    "I am not a seedy lawyer; I just take seedy cases. There's a difference."

    "Whatever you say," Dino said, standing up and reaching for his raincoat. "Let's get out of here."

    "I don't want to," Stone grumbled.

    "You don't want to do anything, you desolate fuck, and I can't stand it anymore. Now put your coat on and come with me, or I'll just shoot you here and now. Nobody would ever prosecute me; it would be justifiable homicide."

    "Oh, all right," Stone said, struggling to his feet and grabbing his coat. "One drink, if the guy serves decent booze. Then I'm out of there."

    The apartment was a duplex in the East Sixties, definitely not the preserve of an assistant DA.

    "You're right," Stone said, as they handed their coats to a maid. "He's got money. There's at least a million dollars of art hanging in this room."

    "What are you, his insurance agent?" Dino whispered. "Try and have a good time, okay?"

    "Tell me more about this guy," Stone said.

    "Word is, he's up for chief deputy DA, and he's going to run for DA, if the old man ever retires."

    "He'll grow old waiting," Stone said.

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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 30, 1999
    There's an adequate crime tale embedded somewhere among the excess of upscale home, fashion and dining commentary here. Woods's (Orchid Beach) new novel opens on a high note as series hero Stone Barrington--attorney and ex-cop, he of the large wallet and larger libido--suffers a date from hell when his pickup, an attractive ADA, gets her throat cut while Stone is stepping out for Chinese food. The next night, Stone and a visitor, his former partner, NYPD Lt. Dino Bachetti, witness from Stone's window another woman getting her throat slashed. The murderer escapes, but the two men think they recognize him as a wife killer they put away 12 years ago. The problem is, Herbert Mitteldorfer is still in prison. Intrigue heightens as an old love reenters Stone's life, Mitteldorfer is paroled and the mysterious slasher attempts to kill Dino's wife. Dino's father-in-law, Eduardo Bianchi, a godfather-like philanthropist, ensure that Dino's wife and son are safe-guarded while he feeds Stone inside information. But Stone's romance isn't protected, and when the lawyer's girlfriend flees to England, he recklessly beds Bianchi's daughter, Dolce, even as the chase for the elusive killer heats up. This wan action is padded by much description of sumptuous meals (with lots of name brands), Stone's purchase of a luxury car and Connecticut retreat, and myriad scenes drawn from the society pages--Elaine of the famed Elaine's restaurant even turns in an extensive cameo. Woods still can write smart dialogue and knows how to pace, but it's hard to believe that the man who began his career with the dramatic, Edgar Award-winning Chiefs is tossing off inane stuff like this. Author tour; simultaneous audio and large-print editions.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 30, 1999
    Woods's breezy and irreverent brand of detective fiction, full of mischievous asides, plays especially well as audio drama. He's in top form here, having returned to his popular hero, Stone Barrington, a retired cop-turned-investigator who works in tandem with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti. Barrington, a lady-killer, is the ultimate smoothy, while Bacchetti, streetwise and jaded, is a rough diamond. Together, the two track a killer on a wanton Manhattan murder spree. He's left a trail of beautiful women with their throats slashed. What's more, the killer is waging a personal vendetta against the investigators, holding a grudge from a long-ago case they worked. Barrington, ever the flirt, gleans essential knowledge by wooing well-placed ladies along the way: amorous hijinks play against murderous mayhem. Narrating is veteran Broadway actor Roberts (he has read several previous Woods titles for Harper Audio), who spiritedly pushes his characterizations to the hilt. For Barrington, however, Roberts reserves a world-weariness befitting the fatigue of a lifelong dick who has seen all too many murders. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover.

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Stone Barrington Series, Book 5
Stuart Woods
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