Below the belt was chosen by my Mystery Book Club for our October selection. While this is the 40th book in the Stone Barrington series, it was my first time meeting him and my first experience with the author, Stuart Woods. Truth be told, I would never have chosen this book for myself, however I have committed to give every Mystery Book Club selection a fair shot. In this case that commitment paid off!
There are two reasons why I would not have chosen this for myself. First, it is the 40th book in the series, I always prefer to start with the first book as I assume information would be needed from that to enjoy subsequent stories. While at certain times, in the beginning of Below the Belt, I felt there may have been reference to details shared in previous editions, they quickly resolved themselves and were never distracting from the story.
The second reason I would not have chosen this for myself is that it is a political suspense story. I hate politics! I don’t enjoy political novels, fiction or otherwise. However, in the case of Below the Belt, I became so intrigued by Stone Barrington that by the time the politics came in to play, I was already entrenched with the story.
While I typically like to give a short synopsis at this point in my review, I will instead refer you to the Goodreads summary. My disinterest in the political underline of the story would certainly leave my synopsis lacking. Let me just say that I truly enjoyed spending time with Stone Barrington and his “girlfriend”, Holly. Although at times I felt the plot was running flat, never reaching an ultimate climax; the story flowed freely from one event to another allowing the reader to easily transition through the subtle twists & turns. Of course there was that one point when the reader (me) gasps out loud as the red herring is revealed, or rather exploded.
This book, while perhaps not a piece of literary history, was a fun read, easily digested and entertaining. Stone Barrington’s is definitely a story I would read again, perhaps the first one next. Have you read anything good lately?