I am an avid reader. Avid might not be a strong enough word. Obsessive, compulsive, addicted . . .you get the picture. Until recently anyway. I've been having a hard time completing books, which is not usually a problem as I am afflicted with "must finish the book no matter how bad it is" syndrome. But lately . . . well, I have two books that I have started and not finished. Both seem to be good books so far. I just can't get excited about reading them, or anything else for that matter. Except I did breeze through Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods recently.
At first I thought this book was the cause of my reading malaise (did I use the word correctly?). I wanted to read it, but was trying to stay away from it because I had been EXTREMELY disappointed with the last several Stone Barrington novels by Woods. I know I used to really like his work. I remember thinking Chiefs was fabulous (note to self: reread this one, just to be sure) and many of the earlier books were also good. His books can't always have been this bad or I never would have read as many as I have, or feel compelled to keep reading them even when my expectations are so low.
So did Hot Mahogany disappoint? In a word, yes.
The plot had potential, but it didn't seem to be fully thought out or else the reader wasn't given enough to follow the path. The characters, which should feel as real and multi-faceted as a living person, considering the number of books Woods as written about them, were flat, stale, stereotypical and one-dimensional.
In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Woods thanks his editor for her light touch. I'd say, his editor should work a little harder at helping her author put out respectable work or look for a new line of work. Just because he's been writing and published for 25 years does not mean everything he writes is worthy of publication. Someone should stop giving Stuart Woods a free pass and I suppose that should start with me.
I will not purchase Woods' next novel. If I absolutely must read it, I will find it at the library.