Monday, April 20, 2015

Review of Insatiable Appetites

Book 14: Insatiable Appetites, by Stuart Woods. Unabridged audio.

With this novel, I am almost finally caught up with my Stuart Woods reading. The problem is that he has become very prolific in the last few years, as he as at least two more novels coming out in 2015. I suspect that he has done what many popular novelists have done, and brought in a ghost-writer (or two), although a second name does not appear on the book covers.

Whatever the case, as the quantity of his books has increased dramatically over the last few years, the quality has become less consistent. When these books are good, they are still very good, but not every single one reaches those heights. This one falls somewhere in the middle, leaning more towards the “clunker” side of the scale.

After the election of Kate Lee to the presidency, Stone Barrington finds himself distributing the estate of a longtime supporting character. This brings an old flame back into his life, and even Stone has trouble keeping up with the combined pressure of these events.

He has written political books in this series before, and I have found some of them to be quite entertaining. But Woods just doesn’t know enough about the topic to write convincingly. I made that complaint about a recent book, and do so again here. The “scandalous” plot by one of the parties, which literally leads to the murder of a House member, is both small potatoes and common practice for both parties. Besides the bold-faced partisanship on display, this plotline represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how Washington works.

Fortunately, this is not the main plot of the novel. The main plot is mostly solid, the action exciting and the character growth reasonable. Of course, more unbelievably good luck happens to a supporting character, but as a reader I’ve become used to that over the last dozen novels or so.

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