Stuart Woods is a master of the glitzy, high-concept, suspense thriller, and Stone Barrington, hero of five previous mysteries, is the kind of private cop who glides gracefully between lavishly detailed dinners, private jets, fancy parties, sexy assignations in luxury hotels, and the occasional murder investigation. Occasionally he gets his hands dirty, but more often it’s his sheets. L.A. Dead finds him in Venice, where he’s about to marry the beautiful (but seriously crazy) daughter of a high-ranking Mafioso, whose other daughter happens to be married to Stone’s best friend-an NYPD cop, naturally. The civil ceremony’s over, but the church wedding is only hours away when Stone is called to L.A., where his former lover has just discovered her husband’s dead body. The lover is Arrington (an oddity, given Stone’s surname; did Woods just run out of imagination here?), the dead husband is a famous movie star, and everyone believes she killed him. Everyone except Stone, who’s still in love with Arrington. He has a helluva time interviewing (and bedding) all the women in her circle, including the dead husband’s private secretary, Arrington’s best friend, her lawyer’s mistress, and a number of Hollywood wives. Jackie Collins does the ladies better, but Stone manages to save the damsel in distress, get rid of his nutty near-wife without offending her father, and wrap up all the details except the most important one. No doubt he’s saving that for the next book. In the meantime, Woods’s many fans will snap this up and spend the interim wondering: if Stone marries the woman of his dreams, will that make her Arrington Barrington?