Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review of Cut & Thrust

Book #2. Cut & Thrust, by Stuart Woods. Unabridged audio.

As Stuart Woods’ productivity has exploded over the last few years (I assume with co-writers, but I don’t know that), his output has varied in quality. Unfortunately, this book is one of the weaker ones.

The core problem is that there is not one book-length story going on in this book. Yes, lots of little things are happening, but it’s hard to figure out the exact plot. It seems as if Woods had a lot of plot ideas, but couldn’t figure out how to develop them into novel-length plots, so he put them all in this book. Whatever the genesis of book was, the overall novel falls a bit short.

Stone Barrington is the lead character, but most of the plot involves Catherine Lee’s run for the Democrat party Presidential nomination. Much of the story takes place at the party’s nominating convention, and there were enough shortcuts and simplifications of the process to make these parts of the novel annoying. I spent a few years as a C-SPAN junkie, and I know that that is NOT how the nominating process works.

That story wraps up about two-thirds of the way through the book, at which point Ed Eagle moves to the forefront of the narrative. He has been the lead of a handful of Woods’ prior novels including Santa Fe Edge, reviewed here. His storyline wraps up in a nice manner. Stone’s best friend Dino is not in the book very much, just long enough for him to take the next step in his career. 

 And of course, since this is a Stuart Woods novel, everything works out for every character in the best way possible – Dino is just one example. I noticed that this started happening about a dozen novels ago, but there are times that the good fortune of Stone Barrington and his friends is simply unbelievable.

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