Book Review – Choppy Water by Stuart Woods – Mundane Thriller
My Rating – 3 out of 5
Plot Summary – Choppy Water
This is 2020’s Stone Barrington installment, number 54 at that! There are many who’ve never heard of Stuart Woods or his main protagonist Stone Barrington, so here’s a small recap – Stone is an ex-cop, lawyer cum investor – particularly in real estate and a multi-millionaire to boot. He has grand residences New York, Maine, London and Paris to name a few. His girlfriends (he’s divorced and not looking to get hitched) are numerous, one everywhere he goes and sometimes they flock to him (even more than one at a time). He’s also an outside consultant to the CIA and is very nearly the Stuart Woods’ version of James Bond!!
Holly Barker, another ex CIA agent, is the current President-elect and she is also Stone’s on-off girlfriend. Together they come to Dark Harbor, Maine, for a quiet weekend or short holiday. A small retinue of Secret Service agents secure Stone’s property, and this being the off season, trudge off to the nearby Yacht club for refreshment and stay. The weather is bad and a cyclone which was earlier slated to miss the island is expected to make landfall nearby. The incessant rains are a precursor to that and more rain is predicted.
But their idyllic vacation plans are shattered when unknown assassins breach the security and make an attempt on Holly’s life. In a surprise attack, the Secret Service agents are killed and Holly’s life is in danger! The same group of right wing white supremacists led by an ex-military nutjob – Col. Wade Sykes continues to take potshots at her – hoping that they will get lucky one of these days. Their motivation? America’s getting too liberal for their liking and the top guy in the country – in this case Holly Barker – has to die to make their point.
A rookie FBI agent, Elizabeth Potter has ingratiated herself with Sykes, while being undercover, and is getting good information out to the Bureau. While being there, she also feels that there is another person in Sykes’ team who is also a double agent, but cannot be sure if that is correct. What follows is a cat and mouse chase, with Potter walking a tightrope, to get close to Sykes and earn his trust as well, all the while managing to relay the information to her Bureau bosses – away from Sykes’ prying eyes. This part, is according to me, the most interesting part of the novel!
Conclusion – Book Review of Choppy Water
The rest, like all other Stuart Woods novels, are a little convenient and include a few leaps of faith. There are certain incidents which happen to coincidentally benefit the protagonists, and some of them are hard to digest. The pace of the novel is quite breathtaking, and you do not realize how the time has passed so soon! What the story lacks in substance, the author makes up in style and pomp – what with people hopping onto choppers and Gulfstreams as you would take an Uber!
Another one which will not move any literary nerves in your brain, but still acts as a fast filler between two good reads, while you wait to lay your hands on them. Go read it if you have free time on your hands and nothing worthwhile to read.
* I hope you have liked reading this book review, as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *