The character of Stone Barrington may be who Stuart Woods is most well-known for, but he also wrote numerous other remarkable characters. The Stuart Woods books in order are full of fast-paced action and intrigue with a touch of humor. His books are a great recommendation for any mystery fan.
Who is Stuart Woods?
Stuart Woods was born in Manchester, Georgia, in 1938. He graduated from the University of Georgia before briefly joining the Air National Guard. Pursuing a career in advertising he moved to New York in 1960 before moving to England at the end of the 1960s.
It was in England that he began writing his first novel. His dreams were briefly thwarted when he discovered sailing as a hobby and took place in various competitions, including a transatlantic race. Upon its completion he finished his first book, but this was a nonfiction recount of his sailing adventure.
However, when Blue Water, Green Skipper found a publisher in W.W. Norton & Company, the publishing house also agreed to publish the mystery novel Woods had begun in England: Chiefs.
His debut novel went on to win the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best first novel from the Mystery Writers of America. Many years later, after a prolific career that included publishing up to five books a year, Woods received France’s most prestigious award for crime and detective fiction: A Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. It was for Imperfect Strangers.
Is Stuart Woods still writing Stone Barrington books?
Unfortunately, Stuart Woods passed away in July 2022 at the age of 84. With his death the writing of his beloved characters, including Stone Barrington, has passed on to a new author.
Brett Battles and Stuart Woods had collaborated together before his death, so it was a smooth transition for Battles to begin writing in the legacy of Woods.
So, Stuart Woods is not still writing the Stone Barrington books, but Barrington continues to face down new threats and adventures with each new novel. The next book is scheduled for publication in June 2024. However, if you would like to learn more about the series, you can read our article all about the Stone Barrington books in order.
In what order should you read Stuart Woods books?
There are many different orders in which you can read the Stuart Woods books. His Stone Barrington series is by far the majority of his bibliography, but he has also written several other series and standalones.
As is the case with most mystery novels, each book does tend to have a self-contained plot that allows it to be read as a standalone. The most straight-forward reading experience would be to read the series following publication order.
For example, his debut novel in 1981, Chiefs, introduced Will Lee and the seven-book series follows the course of his career from Georgia to Ireland and back again. Each book will contain references to what took place in the previous book, so reading the Stuart Woods books in publication order will be an enjoyable way to appreciate his writing.
However, the second way to read his books is to follow the chronological order. This will largely follow the publication order of his bibliography, but it will flip-flop between his series as he expanded his universe and introduced more characters.
#1 – Stuart Woods Books in Order By Series
Stone Barrington Books in Order
- New York Dead (1991)
- Dirt (1996)
- Dead in the Water (1997)
- Swimming to Catalina (1998)
- Worst Fears Realized (1999)
- L.A. Dead (2000)
- Cold Paradise (2001)
- The Short Forever (2002)
- Dirty Work (2003)
- Reckless Abandon (2004)
- Two-Dollar Bill (2005)
- Dark Harbor (2006)
- Fresh Disasters (2007)
- Shoot Him If He Runs (2007)
- Hot Mahogany (2008)
- Loitering With Intent (2009)
- Kisser (2009)
- Lucid Intervals (2010)
- Strategic Moves (2011)
- Bel-Air Dead (2011)
- Son of Stone (2011)
- D.C. Dead (2011)
- Unnatural Acts (2012)
- Severe Clear (2012)
- Collateral Damage (2013)
- Unintended Consequences (2013)
- Doing Hard Time (2013)
- Standup Guy (2014)
- Carnal Curiosity (2014)
- Cut and Thrust (2014)
- Paris Match (2014)
- Insatiable Appetites (2015)
- Hot Pursuit (2015)
- Naked Greed (2015)
- Foreign Affairs (2015)
- Scandalous Behavior (2016)
- Family Jewels (2016)
- Dishonorable Intentions (2016)
- Sex, Lies, and Serious Money (2016)
- Below the Belt (2017)
- Fast & Loose (2017)
- Indecent Exposure (2017)
- Quick & Dirty (2017)
- Unbound (2018)
- Shoot First (2018)
- Turbulence (2018)
- Desperate Measures (2018)
- A Delicate Touch (2018)
- Wild Card (2019)
- Contraband (2019)
- Stealth (2019)
- Treason (2020)
- Hit List (2020)
- Choppy Water (2020)
- Shakeup (2020)
- Hush-Hush (2020)
- Double Jeopardy (2021)
- Class Act (2021)
- Foul Play (2021)
- Criminal Mischief (2021)
- A Safe House (2022)
- Black Dog (2022)
- Distant Thunder (2022)
- Near Miss with Brett Battles (June 2023)
- Stone Barrington #65 by Brett Battles (Expected: June 4, 2024)
Holly Barker Books in Order
- Orchid Beach (1998)
- Orchid Blues (2001)
- Blood Orchid (2002)
- Reckless Abandon (2004) (Cross-over with Stone Barrington)
- Iron Orchid (2005)
- Hothouse Orchid (2009)
Ed Eagle Books in Order
Herbie Fisher Books with Parnell Hall
- Barely Legal (2017)
Teddy Fay Books with Parnell Hall and Bryon Quertermous
- Smooth Operator (2016)
- The Money Shot (2018)
- Skin Game (2019)
- Bombshell (2020)
- Jackpot (2021)
- Obsession with Brett Battles (October 2023)
Will Lee Books in Order
- Chiefs (1981)
- Run Before the Wind (1983)
- Deep Lie (1986)
- Grass Roots (1989)
- The Run (1995)
- Capital Crimes (2003)
- Mounting Fears (2008)
Rick Barron Books in Order
Stuart Woods Books in Order – Standalone Novels
- Under the Lake (1986)
- White Cargo (1988)
- Palindrome (1990)
- L.A. Times (1993)
- Heat (1994)
- Dead Eyes (1994)
- Imperfect Strangers (1995)
- Choke (1995)
Stuart Woods Books in Order – Non-Fiction Books
- Blue Water, Green Skipper (1977)
- A Romantic’s Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland (1979)
- An Extravagant Life (2022)
#2 – Stuart Woods Books in Chronological Order
All of the Stuart Woods books in order take place within the same universe and feature crossovers with his most popular characters. If you intend on reading all of his novels, then reading the books in chronological order is recommended by readers. With this reading order you will be introduced to characters and experience their interactions in the proper order.
Below you will find the chronological reading order for his Will Lee, Stone Barrington, Ed Eagle, Holly Baker, Teddy Fay, and Herbie Fisher books. The chronological order does match the publication order for these books.
There is one series that we have left off this list: Rick Barron. That is because this series takes place in the 1930s and 1940s, while it was published in the early 2000s. While his Will Lee books do feature a dual timeline with an earlier time period, they do also slot into Woods’s contemporary timeline.
- Chiefs (June 1981) (Will Lee)
- Run Before the Wind (March 1983) (Will Lee)
- Deep Lie (Feb 1986) (Will Lee)
- Grass Roots (July 1989) (Will Lee)
- New York Dead (Oct 1991) (Stone Barrington)
- Santa Fe Rules (Apr 1992) (Ed Eagle)
- Dirt (Sept 1996) (Stone Barrington)
- Dead in the Water (Aug 1997) (Stone Barrington)
- Swimming to Catalina (Apr 1998) (Stone Barrington)
- Orchid Beach (Nov 1998) (Holly Barker)
- Worst Fears Realized (Jan 1999) (Stone Barrington)
- The Run (1995) (Will Lee)
- L.A. Dead (Nov 2000) (Stone Barrington)
- Cold Paradise (Apr 2001) (Stone Barrington)
- Orchid Blues (Oct 2001) (Holly Baker)
- The Short Forever (Apr 2002) (Stone Barrington)
- Blood Orchid (Oct 2002) (Holly Baker)
- Dirty Work (Apr 2003) (Stone Barrington)
- Reckless Abandon (Oct 2004) (Stone Barrington)
- Two-Dollar Bill (Apr 2005) (Stone Barrington)
- Iron Orchid (Oct 2005) (Holly Baker)
- Short Straw (Jan 2006) (Ed Eagle)
- Dark Harbor (Apr 2006) (Stone Barrington)
- Fresh Disasters (Apr 2007) (Stone Barrington)
- Shoot Him If He Runs (Sept 2007) (Stone Barrington)
- Santa Fe Dead (Apr 2008) (Ed Eagle)
- Hot Mahogany (Sept 2008) (Stone Barrington)
- Loitering With Intent (Apr 2009) (Stone Barrington)
- Hothouse Orchid (Sept 2009) (Holly Baker)
- Kisser (Nov 2009) (Stone Barrington)
- Lucid Intervals (Apr 2010) (Stone Barrington)
- Santa Fe Edge (Sept 2010) (Ed Eagle)
- Strategic Moves (Jan 2011) (Stone Barrington)
- Bel-Air Dead (Apr 2011) (Stone Barrington)
- Son of Stone (Sept 2011) (Stone Barrington)
- D.C. Dead (Dec 2011) (Stone Barrington)
- Unnatural Acts (Apr 2012) (Stone Barrington)
- Severe Clear (Sept 2012) (Stone Barrington)
- Collateral Damage (Jan 2013) (Stone Barrington)
- Unintended Consequences (Apr 2013) (Stone Barrington)
- Doing Hard Time (Oct 2013) (Stone Barrington)
- Standup Guy (Jan 2014) (Stone Barrington)
- Carnal Curiosity (Apr 2014) (Stone Barrington)
- Cut and Thrust (July 2014) (Stone Barrington)
- Paris Match (Oct 2014) (Stone Barrington)
- Insatiable Appetites (Jan 2015) (Stone Barrington)
- Hot Pursuit (Apr 2015) (Stone Barrington)
- Naked Greed (July 2015) (Stone Barrington)
- Foreign Affairs (Oct 2015) (Stone Barrington)
- Scandalous Behavior (Jan 2016) (Stone Barrington)
- Family Jewels (Apr 2016) (Stone Barrington)
- Dishonorable Intentions (June 2016) (Stone Barrington)
- Smooth Operator (Aug 2016) (Teddy Fay)
- Sex, Lies, and Serious Money (Oct 2016) (Stone Barrington)
- Below the Belt (Jan 2017) (Stone Barrington)
- Fast & Loose (Apr 2017) (Stone Barrington)
- Indecent Exposure (June 2017) (Stone Barrington)
- Barely Legal (Aug 2017) (Herbie Fisher)
- Quick & Dirty (Oct 2017) (Stone Barrington)
- Unbound (Jan 2018) (Stone Barrington)
- Shoot First (Apr 2018) (Stone Barrington)
- Turbulence (June 2018) (Stone Barrington)
- The Money Shot (Aug 2018) (Teddy Fay)
- Desperate Measures (Oct 2018) (Stone Barrington)
- A Delicate Touch (Dec 2018) (Stone Barrington)
- Wild Card (Mar 2019) (Stone Barrington)
- Skin Game (June 2019) (Teddy Fay)
- Contraband (Aug 2019) (Stone Barrington)
- Stealth (Oct 2019) (Stone Barrington)
- Treason (Jan 2020) (Stone Barrington)
- Hit List (Mar 2020) (Stone Barrington)
- Bombshell (May 2020) (Teddy Fay)
- Choppy Water (Aug 2020) (Stone Barrington)
- Shakeup (Oct 2020) (Stone Barrington)
- Hush-Hush (Dec 2020) (Stone Barrington)
- Double Jeopardy (March 2021) (Stone Barrington)
- Jackpot (June 2021) (Teddy Fay)
- Class Act (Aug 2021) (Stone Barrington)
- Foul Play (Nov 2021) (Stone Barrington)
- Criminal Mischief (Dec 2021) (Stone Barrington)
- A Safe House (Mar 2022) (Stone Barrington)
- Black Dog (Aug 2022) (Stone Barrington)
- Distant Thunder (Oct 2022) (Stone Barrington)
- Near Miss with Brett Battles (June 2023) (Stone Barrington)
- Obsession with Brett Battles (Oct 2023) (Teddy Fay)
- Stone Barrington #65 by Brett Battles (Expected: June 4, 2024)
Were any Stuart Woods books made into movies?
There are two books by Stuart Woods which have adaptations. The first was his debut novel, Chiefs, which was made into a TV miniseries in 1983. It was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.
The starring cast included Charlton Heston, Danny Glover, and Billy Dee Williams among others. Woods also had a small cameo role in an episode of the three episode miniseries.
The second book by Woods to make it to the screen was a TV movie adaptation of his 1989 novel Grass Roots with the same name. The movie aired in 1992 and stars Donzaleigh Abernathy, Claude Akins, Corbin Bernsen, and more.
Summary Of The First 15 Stuart Woods Books In Order
If you’re still unsure about where you should begin with reading the Stuart Woods books in order, below you will find fifteen book summaries. These book descriptions will help demonstrate the scope of Woods’s mysteries and the sticky situations his characters end up in.
1. New York Dead
Everyone is always telling Stone Barrington that he’s too smart to be a cop, but it’s pure luck that places him on the streets in the dead of night, just in time to witness the horrifying incident that turns his life inside out.
Suddenly he’s on the front page of every New York newspaper, and his life is hopelessly entwined in the increasingly shocking life (and perhaps death) of Sasha Nijinsky, the country’s hottest and most beautiful television anchorwoman.
No matter where he turns, the case is waiting for him, haunting his nights and turning his days into a living hell. Stone finds himself caught in a perilous web of unspeakable crimes, dangerous friends, and sexual depravity that has throughout it one common thread: Sasha.
Feared and loathed for her poison pen and ice queen persona, Amanda Dart has made her share of enemies. Then the tables turn. An anonymous gossipmonger is faxing Amanda’s personal and private peccadilloes to anyone who can read.
Desperate to save her reputation, she enlists the help of New York lawyer and private investigator Stone Barrington to learn the identity of the faxer. And everyone in the world of tabloid journalism becomes a suspect.
But the faxes don’t stop. In fact, they get worse. And Stone winds up with more leads than one man can handle, until Amanda takes matters dangerously into her own hands and turns the world of gossip on its head.
As the circle of suspects shrinks, Stone discovers that even the most respected members of the social scene will stop at nothing—even homicide—to clear their sullied names.
3. Dead in the Water
Stone Barrington has barely arrived in St. Marks, a lovely Caribbean island nation, for a planned sailing vacation when something very strange happens: A beautiful young woman sails into the harbor, entirely alone on a large yacht.
Before long she is under the intense scrutiny of local authorities in the very considerable person of Sir Winston Sutherland, the Minister of Justice. The problem is, though she arrived alone, she had departed the other side of the Atlantic in the company of her husband, a well-known writer, who is no longer in evidence.
Evidence is what fascinates Stone Barrington, and before many pages have been turned, he is all that stands between the apparently innocent Allison Manning and the patently evil intent of Sir Winston, whose motives are unclear.
What is clear is that the St. Marks’ system of justice bears little resemblance to the American courts to which Stone is accustomed and that his smallest error could prove fatal to his client.
4. Swimming to Catalina
Stone Barrington thought he’d heard the last of former girlfriend Arrington after she’d left him and New York to marry Vance Calder, Hollywood’s hottest star. The last thing Stone expected was a desperate call from Calder. Arrington has vanished, and he wants Stone to come to LA and help find her.
In a town where the sharks drive Bentleys and no one can be trusted, Stone soon discovers he’s drowning in a sea of empty clues that take him from Bel Air to Malibu to Rodeo Drive. Running out of time and leads, he needs to keep his head above water and find Arrington fast, or end up swimming with the fishes himself.
5. Worst Fears Realized
Not a man to dwell on the past, Stone Barrington has no choice but to rattle old skeletons when the people closest to him start dying, and he has little to go on but the suspicion that the killer may be someone he once knew. The trip down memory lane isn’t all bad though, for it reunites Stone with his ex-partner, Dino Bacchetti—now head of detectives in the nineteenth precinct.
Trying to find a brilliant killer in a sea of old faces is difficult enough without Stone’s former love, Arrington, now Mrs. Vance Calder, resurfacing, too—especially when she sets off her own fireworks coming nose to nose with his latest flame, a Mafia princess as beautiful as she is dangerous.
Caught on a thrill ride of a case that tests him as none has ever done before, Stone races to find a twisted madman with a taste for blood vengeance, with only a prayer to find him before Stone’s worst fears are realized.
6. L.A. Dead
Stone’s trip with a fiery Mafia Princess to Venice is cut short by a panicked phone call from halfway across the globe. Los Angeles is in a state of panic after a celebrity murder. A former flame is desperate for Stone’s assistance in many ways. Stone must search the darkest corners of Hollywood to find the murderer before a trial ends his chance at the life he so desperately desired.
7. Cold Paradise
Luxuriating in Palm Beach’s winter warmth, Stone is stunned to recognize someone he thought was dead. Former client Allison Manning is alive and well—and suddenly very rich.
Now she needs Stone’s help in squaring a charge of insurance fraud that’s been hanging over her head for years—and in getting rid of a recently acquired stalker. Suspects abound, including an elusive writer, an enigmatic businessman, and Allison’s devious former husband.
Only Stone can thwart the sly and greedy plan to steal the millions of dollars at stake and the crafty killer behind it.
8. The Short Forever
Hired by an odd client previously unknown to him, Stone arrives in London, on a mission he thinks he understands, but doesn’t. Soon he finds himself not only out of his territory, but out of his depth as well.
Baffled as he is by the behavior of both his quarry and his client, Stone’s life is further complicated by two, possibly three, murders and the affectionate attentions of two former lovers. When the intelligence services of three countries become involved, he can only hang on for a wild ride and hope for a not-too-bumpy landing.
9. Dirty Work
Hired to prove infidelity in an heiress’s marriage, Stone Barrington goes undercover. But the work turns dirty and catastrophic when the errant husband is found dead and the other woman disappears without a trace.
Now, Stone must clear his own good name and find a killer hiding among the glitterati of New York’s high society.
Enter Carpenter, the beautiful British intelligence agent first encountered in The Short Forever, who has arrived in New York to begin an investigation of her own. Stone suspects that her case is strangely connected to the dead husband. And he and Dino, his former NYPD partner, are set to face the most bizarre and challenging assignment of their very colorful careers.
10. Reckless Abandon
Holly Barker’s come to New York hot on the trail of Trini Rodriguez, a bad guy she thought she’d stabbed to death in an earlier adventure. He’s currently wanted for blowing up a dozen people by hiding bombs in the caskets of two of his earlier victims and detonating them at the funeral. Among other things.
But finding him won’t be so simple: He’s been placed in the FBI Witness Protection Program and is working with the Feds and the CIA to catch an Arab terrorist group trying to employ the Mafia in a money-laundering scheme.
11. Two Dollar Bill
Not long after Stone and his ex-partner Dino make the acquaintance of Billy Bob, a smooth-talkin’ Texan packing a wad of rare two-dollar bills, someone takes a shot at them.
Against his better judgment, Stone offers Billy Bob a safe haven for the night but almost immediately regrets it. The slippery out-of-towner has gone missing and someone has been found dead – in Stone’s town house no less.
Now, Stone is now stuck between a stunning federal prosecutor and a love from his past, a con man with more aliases than hairs on his head, and a murder investigation that could ruin them all.
12. Dark Harbor
Stone Barrington hasn’t heard from his cousin, Dick Stone, in years. Then, an otherwise pleasant meal at Elaine’s is interrupted by the CIA with news of Dick’s death – apparently by his own hand.
It seems that Dick Stone, a quiet family man who doubled as a CIA agent, methodically executed his wife, daughter, and then himself…or did he?
Appointed executor of Dick’s will, Stone must settle the estate and, with the help of his ex-partner Dino and friend Holly Barker, piece together the elusive facts of his cousin’s life and death as a CIA operative. At every step, Stone knows he is being watched by Dick’s family and one of them just may be the killer.
13. Fresh Disasters
Stone Barrington embarks on his most dangerous adventure yet when he takes on a job as a lawyer for a sleazy and clueless con man-and ends up getting embroiled in the underworld of the New York mafia.
It started out as just another late night at Elaine’s, where Stone was eating a porterhouse steak and enjoying the company of his friends. But when Herbie Fisher, a notoriously not-so-sharp swindler, walked in, the pleasant atmosphere turned to ice.
Herbie convinces Bill Eggers, the managing partner of Woodman & Weld, to sign him on as a client – with the goal of taking down the infamous mafia boss Carmine Datilla. And even though Stone doesn’t want to have anything to do with Herbie – or the mafia, for that matter – he is soon coerced into being Herbie’s lawyer.
With the help of his ex-partner, Dino, Stone investigates “Datilla the Hun,” and the rest of the mob family, encountering intrigue and danger at every turn. Will Stone finally take a stand, or will he end up at the bottom of Sheepshead Bay?
14. Shoot Him If He Runs
Rogue agent Teddy Fay has been considered dead for some time now. But President Will Lee thinks Teddy may still be alive. In a top-secret Oval Office meeting, Stone Barrington learns that he and his cohorts, Holly Barker and Dino Bacchetti, are being sent to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Marks, courtesy of the CIA, to track down Teddy once and for all.
St. Marks is a vacationers’ paradise, but its luxurious beach clubs and secluded mountain villas are home to corrupt local politicians and more than a few American expats with murky personal histories. Stone and Holly soon discover that in St. Marks, everyone is hiding something—and that Teddy Fay may just be hiding in plain sight.
15. Hot Mahogany
Barton Cabot’s intelligence career is even more top secret than that of his brother, CIA boss Lance Cabot. But following a random act of violence, Barton is suffering from amnesia – a dangerous thing in a man whose memory is chock full of state secrets. So Lance hires Stone Barrington to watch his brother’s back.
Stone soon discovers that his charge is a spy with a rather unusual hobby: Building and restoring furniture. The genteel world of antiques and coin dealers seems a far cry from Stone’s usual underworld. But Barton is a man with a past, and one event in particular is coming back to haunt his present in ways he’d never expected.
Final thoughts on Stuart Woods books in order
If you’ve read any of Stuart Woods books in order, what was your favorite? Do you have a least favorite book on the list? We would love to hear from you about what makes them so enjoyable.