CB7 #1 – The Maryest Sue to Ever Mary a Sue

Insatiable Appetites by Stuart Woods

Actors read while on set.  Well, a lot of them “network” which mostly involves humblebragging about other projects they’ve worked on and trying to sound important.  But a bunch of us, we read.  So while I was working on Raising Hope, I started a convo with another actor, who also clutched his Kindle.  And he started recommending series to me.  Now, he gushed about how much he loved James Patterson’s NYPD Red, which was an immediate flag.  But I figured, ah, fuck it, I’ll take his suggestions.  And so, among others, he suggested I read Stuart Woods.

Stone Barrington was pitched to me like this: A cop, he sees a dead body land in front of him one night and then ends up quitting the force and becoming a lawyer and then it goes from there.  Sounded promising.  And that’s what it is.  But it’s really the ultimate fucking Mary Sue.  The Mary-est fucking Sue to ever Sue a Mary.  He’s a lawyer who becomes super ultra mega, mega rich.  Who eats at the finest restaurants, who bags more cooter than a redneck grocer, who flies airplanes, fires guns, owns houses in several countries, has a Cayman islands account.  It goes on.  Each progressive book.

But what drew me to Stuart Woods was that, like many of my other favorite authors, he ties all of his books together. So as I did with the Dark Tower, I read the Dark Woods.  And no matter the gender, the background, even the premises, all of Woods characters become fucking professional pilots, who bed starlets, eat the finest foods, and fire weaponry.  It’s like this amalgamation of the 1%.  And to even spoil this by explaining to you where we are with all of these characters would ruin you.  With laughter.

Woods is an airport author.  He drops a book every three months.  They’re all Stone Barrington’s now, and they number in the 40’s.  They aren’t good.  But they’re formulaic and fast like an episode of SVU.  The latest one involves the president, and lawyering.  They all do.  This one actually makes great use of the long pedigree of characters, while re-introducing and re-using a great villain.  For some reason, it feels like Woods might be winding down.  And that’s to our benefit.  Yet, I know he’s got at least three more books coming out this year.

And to his credit, I mislabeled him a conservative 1%-er.  He touts the highlife, but this book’s premise was way more surprising to me.  While he cascades around the rich and fabulous and old school (seriously, Stone has rampant sex on an adjustable bed), he manages to use his vast cast to great strides.

If you’re looking for a quick way to up your read count, you’ll gun through these books in as long as it would take you to marathon Law & Order.  And I would highly recommend reading them in order of publication.  Including the early books, The Will Lee series, the Ed Eagle series, the Holly Barker and the two Rick Barron books.  They all tie together, and then eventually settle in on the Stone Barringtons.  It’s telenovella shit, it’s so disposable, but there’s a reason why there are McDonald’s in Los Angeles.

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