Author Stuart Woods' riveting novel spans three generations while also probing deep into Southern small-town attitudes and behavior. The residents of Delano, with their reluctance to disturb a familiar social order, provide the perfect backdrop for this tale of dark secrets and murder.
Over 40 years ago, Woods found a battered chief-of-police badge in his grandmother's house. It had belonged to his grandfather, who had been shot in the line of duty. The story of the lawman's death inspired Woods to write Chiefs, which won an Edgar Award and was made into a popular TV miniseries.
©1981 Stuart Woods; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
"A riveting story of the Deep South that mixes murder mystery with political intrigue." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating, compelling tale." (The New York Times)
"The homey wisdom of [Hammer's] voice, coupled with Woods's engaging story, makes this audiobook memorable." (AudioFile)
I've read all of Stuart Woods books over the years and this by far is his best work. This book contained some of Stuart's own family history and it was definately written from the heart. Read all of his other books if you want a great read you can't put down. His style flows without huge descriptive sections that can put you to sleep. By far my favorite author.
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!
I am retired and I love having more time for audio books. I also enjoy hiking, birding, gardening, and genealogy.
If you haven't listened to this book yet, you are really missing something wonderful and unforgettable. Yes, it has been around for a long while which means there are alot of reviews. So don't just take my word for it. Look at the reviews here. (My favorites are from Karen and Linda Lou.)
But let me add a few words of my own. This is a story that engulfed me, one of those books I just couldn't remain on the surface of. The characters are so well-developed that I felt I knew them. I came to really have strong feelings about them--whether I liked them or hated them, there was so much emotion evoked. And when I really care about a character, I feel such fear when they are in danger. At one point--no, at a couple of places--I had to turn the book off, as I couldn't bear to know what happened next. Of course, I braced myself and I went back, as I had to know. I kept telling myself to trust the author and the other reviewers.
Listening to this first book from well-known author Woods was a very rewarding experience. The narration was the best you can find, in my opinion. What is this nonsense about it being too slow? Ridiculous. Mark Hammer had it down perfectly. His cadence and speed matched perfectly what you would expect of the old south. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Perhaps that is why the story was so believable. He is a genius!
Read the story description about the dead police chiefs. There is really SO much more than that here. Look at all the glowing reviews. And do yourself a favor and get this book. I am so glad I did.
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+!
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