Monday, February 11, 2013

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods


Stone Barrington #23

            I've read a few of the Stone Barrington novels. Some are better than others. This one was pretty good. I always get a kick out of how money is no object to these people. For instance, in one scene Stone and another lawyer, Herbie, meet a client, an investment banker, for lunch. They are virtual strangers, but before lunch is over, the banker has agreed to invest five million dollars for the young lawyer and twenty five million for Stone. They'll just have the funds transferred over in the morning. And that was just a bit of side conversation, not the purpose of the meeting. I wonder if that sort of thing happens in real life. I'd love to find out for myself!

            The main part of the story follows Herb, a young associate at the law firm where Stone works. The aforementioned investment banker has a son who has developed some bad habits and is into a loan shark for nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Herb has been selected to extricate this trust fund baby from his delicate situation since he has some personal experience in sowing dangerously wild oats himself.

            Herb starts with a visit to the loan shark, bearing a briefcase full of cash. He squares Dink's account, and then heads off to confront Dink in his dorm at Yale. Once bearding the Dink in his den, Herb gets the young man to sign a power of attorney form and a voluntary commitment form. Dink is then piled into a van headed toward an inpatient rehab center. En route, Dink manages to escape the van and disappear. Now Herb must track down this wayward son again.

            With advice from Stone, Herb finds Dink and gets him safely deposited into rehab. Once there Dink, begins systematically attempting to snow the staff in an effort to get release ASAP. He also enlists his friend's aid in attempting to ruin Herb's career and life in retaliation for being trapped in the rehab center.

            Eventually, Dink finds a way to escape the rehab center. He has just turned twenty one and now has access to his trust fund. Herb and Dink's father are forced to deal with the reality that Dink is a bad seed, and is not going to become a productive adult despite their best efforts. Dink's father chooses to deal with the situation by committing an "unnatural act".

            This is another book that causes me to wonder if I had brought a monster into the world, how I might have handled the situation. How do you cope with a sociopathic child? What steps would you take to protect the rest of society from such a person? Is it your responsibility as a parent remove such a child from society? I'm glad my child is a kind and responsible person, saving me from having to act unnaturally as a parent.
            Read my review of Stuart Woods' Son of Stone.

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