Ok, I admit it. I’m a big fan of cheesy pulp fiction mysteries (no offense intended Mr. Woods). One of my favorite authors, Stuart Woods has done it again with the release of his latest Stone Barrington novel entitled “Hot Mahogany“. I am absolutely addicted to the audacious life style of the main character, who as an ex NYPD cop let go on a job related injury turns in to a lawyer that routinely falls into women and money in a seemingly endless string of adventures.
Not one to let a little case work interfere with his other pursuits, Stone has dinner four or five nights a week with his best buddy and former partner, NYPD Detective Dino Bacchetti. They dine at Elaine’s in New York’s upper east side; usually very late. The old Italian joint that seemingly never closes, is run by Grande Dame “Elaine Kaufman” who still devotedly attends to her guests each night. Regulars at this real restaurant featured in Wood’s books have included Michael Caine, Woody Allen, Jackie Onassis and many other celebs.
The Author at Elaine’s
While on a visit to the City last year, my wife and I, along with our friends Chuck and Elaine (not the same Elaine) had the opportunity to dine at Elaine’s after the theater one night. We arrived about 10:30 and the place was just beginning to fill up. It was elbow to elbow at the bar and about four deep in three-piece suits and LBD’s. We were enthusiastically greeted by Elaine who was sitting toward the front at a table with other guests and were quickly whisk off to a table in the back by one the head waiters.
As we leisurely ordered drinks and soaked in the atmosphere which included several photos and book covers from Stuart Woods, the place started to really pick-up. It wasn’t long before I spotted a couple of guys in dark suits, dark glasses and big muscles just kind of standing around looking at everyone. When the head waiter came back to our little corner of the world and searched under the few remaining empty tables I knew something was up. I’d watched enough “Godfather” movies to know what he was looking for. I sure hope he checked the restrooms..
We ate our dinner in the relative quiet of a very crowded room. The ambiance was perfect; Loud. The food was excellent; just what you’d expect from a nearly 50-year-old Italian resturante. I had the Osso Buco of course; it’s Stone’s favorite dish.
We finally realized what all the body guards were for when we spotted Victoria Gotti seated nearby. You remember, the “Teflon Don”, John Gotti? And Victoria, the recent reality series star of “Growing Up Gotti.” Reality Show? A short time later the wives spotted “BIG.” Who is ”BIG” I stupidly asked? I figured he was a rapper or something. No no the ladies chastise me, BIG is actor Chris Noth from “Sex and the City” which happened to be filming in the City at the time.
Well, the wives were duly impressed with my choice of a restaurant that night and we all had a great time.
What happened to the book you ask? Well I tried to read it slowly but I still finished it in 3 short sittings. It was typical Stone Barrington. He fell into the sack with two new women and one old friend while pocketing a million dollars by the end of the adventure. I love it! The bad news is I’ll probably have to wait another year for a new Stone Barrington escapade.
But, I’ll still have my night at Elaine’s.
P.S. If you’re going to pick up one of Wood’s books to read, it’s ok to read them out of order since they all stand alone as good stories. However, I really recommend that you start from the beginning with each character as they all evolve like real people (well, not really real people).