OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
As a black person born and raised in the north, with most of my adult life lived in California, moving to metro Atlanta about 15 years ago was quite a culture shock. Everything that I'd ever read about the south was still alive and kickin' in Georgia. I normally shy away from books about good ole boys, the Klan, and (the lack of) civil rights. But in "Chiefs", the south and the southern way of thinking is captured in a way that I have never come across in my life. Stuart Woods' descriptions of the people and the places puts the reader on Main Street. You feel as if you are an integral part of the community. And if you are African-American, you will find yourself getting pissed off, while looking furtively over your shoulder out of sense of survival because Woods makes you think that the Klan is right outside your "shack"!
It was hard for me as a black person to keep my mind on the story, to keep everything in the proper perspective - that was then and this is now. I kept losing my place because I would get my "black back" up, allowing my intellect and reason to recede in the background. I can't begin to report on how white people take such stories - are they ashamed or do they just believe this is the natural order of life. Who knows? I don't. But if everyone just puts their personal feelings - good or bad - on the shelf, this will be one of the most amazing rides that a reader can take. It is only made better by the amazing vocal talents of narrator Mark Hammer who can be both soothing and menacing but always with the "bless your heart" tone of the true south.
This is about crime and deception and sexual depravity - all of the same things that we experience everyday in 2008. Sit back, get a glass of good bourbon or iced tea (sweet, of course!), and take a trip back to the early 1900s. Nothing has changed in this country. I'm not referring to the state of race relations - I'm talking about good old crime storytelling.
Woods wrote two or three amazing books before he devolved into the James Patterson-like, formulaic book a year for the money-type author (Stone Barrington-drechhhh). This book is a total classic, great characters, intricate and compelling plot line, awesome story telling and a very satisfying long length. An interesting picture of the old south in a small town in rural Georgia.
I read the book back when it first came out, and bought the audiobook recently on a whim during a down month for new titles with an about to expire credit. I was not disappointed.
I wanted to comment on the slow reading other reviewers have mentioned. I groaned when this book started. I thought the reader was reading too slow and his voice sounded too old for the story, but it became one of those audio books I never wanted to end. I got absorbed into the lives of the people in the book. I adjusted the audio book speed of my ipod, but I quickly changed it back. The readers slow reading seemed to make the story better for me.
This book is like a 2 lane country highway through the hills, you can't go fast, but whenever you get tired of the pace, a hill appears and you have to know what's on the other side.
The narrator does a very nice job - reminds me of George G.
I'm sure if I'd read this in hard copy I would have "cheated" and skipped ahead to see if the fox gets his ears pinned.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book was written in 1981 and won the Edgar Award. After listening to it I sure can see why it received the award and how it launched Woods career. I also under stand that in the 1980's CBS made it into a mini-series starring Charles Heston. The book is the first one in a series about Will Lee. The book opens up in 1919 Delano Georgia (near warm Springs --FDR died there) with the appointment of the first police chief of Delano, a farmer Will Henry Lee it covers his years as Chief and his accumulating evidence on two boys who were murdered and his suspicions of Foxy Furderburke as the murder. Lee was shot down in line of duty and the next Chief was Sonny Butts a returning WWI solder he added to the file on Foxy but he had problems, you need to read the story, I do not want to give away the story. Tucker Watts became the third Chief and the first black, he also is a Army veteran. His term was in the 1950-60 and time of Civil Rights in the South. Lots of action, suspense, politics, family interaction, history and life in a small town in the racial divided South. Woods took the time to build the characters and the background in the story as it is the beginning of a series. The Narrator Mark Hammer did a great job. His voice is familiar to me but I can not place it. I shall download the second book in the series, I hope it will be as good as this one.
Read the book, or listen to get my headline question answered. This is a very good book, to start a series of novels about generations of the Lee family. It's actually about 3 separate and very different police chiefs, starting with the first police chief of Delano, Ga. They end up with one case in common.
The book spans approximately 50 years, and can be a very disturbing look at life in the old south. I found myself emotionally involved and fearful for the characters at times. That fear is well founded, as anything can happen.
It's a long narration, read rather slow, so I did skip back and forth with reading and listening, but didn't mind. It was well worth my time.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
This is only the second five star book I've listened to (All The King's Men by the great Robert Penn Warren was the first). It is a masterpiece. First off.. the plot is watertight. A thriller murder mystery, political drama, and police procedural that holds your attention rigid throughout. But... while good enough, this novel is so much more than well crafted... it borders upon being one of the Great American Novels.
These characters are so spot on perfect. Deep yet simple... Good smack up against evil. Each side scores devastating punches. Frequently I gasped.
And the historic sweep is essential to every nuance of the developing ensemble. In fact the sense of place and evolving moment are.. well part of the ensemble each sewn together into a tapestry of emotion.
When the pitch-perfect reader Mark Hammer muttered... "The End"... I moaned, close to tears. "NO!" I exhaled, "You've got to take me farther along the development of the town of Delano. I need the next generation. Don't leave me." And yet... yet.... Stuart Woods ended at the perfect moment for my imagination and emotions to continue to ride the story arc on my own. I'll wonder now for the rest of my life about the Chiefs, their friends, and their enemies.
Art without wonder is merely craft.
Stuart Woods is our Robert Penn Warren. Hmmm... did I write "Borders upon being one of the great American novels?" Thats a very very very thin border. Yeah.... 5 stars!
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
This is an excellent crime story with a interesting premise that a serial killer is almost caught twice by the police chief only to escape capture for decades or longer each time. If you like James Lee Burke novels, you will like this one. It is well written and narrated.
Because the book takes place over several decades spanning from the 1930s to 1990s it also is a good historical novel, recreating the tensions between whites and blacks in the south. Never having lived in the south I do not now if the attitudes expressed in the book are real or just fiction. The book takes a great turn when chief #3 is black
There are several great scenes in book, especially when the police arrest their new police chief not knowing who it is. "get out of the car boy", he is told on a routine police shakedown. After reading this I have a better understanding why blacks don't trust the police to often. I would say it's just fiction, but the police in my town arrested a black man for sitting in a car outside a nice home. He was just waiting for his daughter and was a prominent Boston attorney.
This amazing novel of murder and racism in a small southern town grabbed me and did not let me go. It takes place at three different times, in the 20's, 40's and 60's, with different chiefs of police in Delano Georgia playing a big part in each segment. Each shift in times brings about both a continuity of characters as well as new ones. This novel starts at a slow pace, introducing the reader to the characters and way of life without rushing into the crimes that would run throughout the novel. I found myself caring about the characters, making gut-wrenching tragedy so much more powerful. I don't want to give away any plot details, so I will not say more. I have read a lot of crime fiction in my life, and find myself a little bored with so many popular novels of that genre now. Not this. "Chiefs" is one of the best crime novels that I have either read or listened to. I so wanted the experience to last, but I was driven to listen so much that I finished this novel much too soon. At first, I did not like the reader. He spoke too slowly, but gradually I got used to his slow drawl and found it added to the authentic atmosphere. I give this story a 5+!
Avid listener of mysteries, thrillers, a little sci fi. Also enjoy self improvement titles. Mom, wife, Social Media Coordinator for biz.
This book is a bit epic as it spans 40+ years. However, now that I have finished it, I realize that I truly enjoyed it. Yes, Mark Hammer speaks very slowly and makes everyone sound 65 years old, but since so many characters age so much in the course of the story, it is appropriate.
The story is well crafted with plenty of dramatic and even comedic points. If you are looking for a who-dunnit, this is not it.
Characters are fascinating and different and well thought out. I recommend this audiobook.