Book Review of Jackpot by Stuart Woods – Fast-Paced
My Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – Jackpot
This is a collaboration between Stuart Woods and Bryon Quartermous, and not his staple Stone Barrington series either. This is Teddy Fay #5, though Stone, Dino Bachetti and others of that universe, do make an appearance, they are not too much of a significant factor. Though this is part of a series, there is little reference to the earlier books of the series and at no point of time during reading this, do you feel that you should have read the others before this as well. Like all his other books, there is one thing common in all the Stuart Woods’ novels that I have read, they are all breathtakingly pacy!
Teddy Fay is an ex-CIA agent, who in his alter ego version is Billy Barnett, Hollywood producer with Centurion Studios – headed by Stone’s son Peter Barrington and Dino’s son, Ben Bachetti. Both are good friends, as are their fathers. They are in Macau, off the coast of Hong Kong, preparing for the shooting of a movie and also a Film Festival. It would be Macau’s first as the Movie Industry there is nascent and Hong Kong is their only respite for silver screen entertainment. Macau has large and popular Casinos and people – Tourists, from all over the world, come to Macau to partake in this guilty pleasure!
Here, in this sinful and extravagant setting, Peter and Ben have been duped by unknown people with an unknown agenda. Stone was here, and he doesn’t take kindly to people threatening his family and friends. A deep-fake video of Peter and Ben have been shot, gangs have been threatening extortion at the shooting locations and the owner of the biggest Casino in Macau, Arrow Donaldson, is mixed in all this somehow. Before leaving for LA, Stone entrusts Teddy with the job of getting to the bottom of this, thus putting an end to the harassment Centurion Studios, is facing in Macau.
Throw into this mix, a Chinese dissident Li Feng – CFO of Quitel, a large Chinese telecom company, looking to establish its footprints on mainland US. The company has been accused of invading the privacy of its consumers at the behest of the Chinese Government, and Li Feng is an important witness to its wrongdoing and is slated to appear as witness against the company. This is a dead ringer for the real-life controversy surrounding the international operations of Chinese Telecom major, Huawei, whose lady CFO was arrested in Canada. Arrow, is supposed to hand her over to a CIA team, in return of certain business favors.
Conclusion – Book Review of Jackpot
The plot is rather complicated, unlike quite a few Stone Barrington novels, where the plots are sometimes convoluted. That way this is a refreshing change, though like all the others, this also races away from the get go. There isn’t much of character build up or too much of location description – the islands of Macau and Hong Kong are rather picturesque. In keeping with the general trend of all Stuart Woods’ books, this will also have his fan base appreciating his work but there is a lack of depth that is evident.
Good read for a weekend when you do not have anything substantial to read. Stuart Woods is an established peoples’ story writer, whose stories are as breezy as they are fun and leave no lingering taste behind, good or bad.
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