'Chiefs' completely blew me away -- who knew? I've read several of Stuart Woods other books, the Stone Barrington and Ed Eagle series in particular, ..Show More »and they were fine, nothing to really write home about. So I wasn't too excited when I saw this one on Audible. But? It was on sale, and it was long -- a prime requirement for me -- so what the heck? Why not?
Boy, was I wrong. "Chiefs" grabs you from the very first minutes and doesn't let go -- I literally cancelled two appointments this afternoon -- no way was I going to stop listening until I finished it. This was Katherine Stockett's "The Help" meets Robert Penn Warren's classic "All the King's Men", although arguably better than either. As a novel of southern culture, spanning three generations, as viewed through three very different men who served as chief of police in a small southern town, it's hard to imagine anything better than this one.
Few books draw you so completely into the character's lives as does "Chiefs". This is consummate storytelling. As each of the three segments finished, I was sad to see it end, figuring the next segment surely wouldn't be as good as the one I'd just finished. But I was never disappointed. Each was compelling in its own way.
It's really too bad it's being advertised as a "serial killer" book. Yes, that's an element, but that's sort of like saying that chocolate cake is about the sugar. Yes, that's an element, but that misses the point. This is a novel, not really detective fiction, as such. It's a story of courage and cowardice, of home and running away, of race, black and white, good men and evil scattered throughout. True, it's the 'killer' angle that ties the three administrations together, but that's really not the focus of the story.
I couldn't help comparing the whole situation to that of John Grisham. This was Stuart Woods first book -- written long before he published any of the more traditional detective fiction books he's more famous for. Yet "Chiefs" is so far above and beyond anything that Woods has written since, it's sometimes hard to believe it's the same author.
Same with Grisham. The first book he wrote -- "A Time To Kill" -- wasn't published until he'd already written and sold several other more traditional legal thrillers. Similarly, "A Time to Kill" is by far Grisham's finest work, although I'd admit "A Painted House" comes close in terms of literary merit. And also similarly, 'A Time to Kill" isn't really about rape and punishment, it's about the life and times of the people involved, the society in which these things happened. So it is with "Chiefs".
I know I will listen to this book again and again. If you haven't read or listened to it yet, you've got a real treat ahead of you. Don't miss this one. It's a classic.
I have listened to many books and this was one of the most confusing. I think it went back and forth in time but I never knew when the transition happ..Show More »ened. I lost interest but tried to continue listening. Finally just gave up.
George Guidall does his usual outstanding job of narration, but there is no way to salvage this novel. Grass Roots is Book 4 in Stuart Woods' Will Le..Show More »e series. Chiefs , the first Will Lee book, starts off the series well. All of the series was written before Woods began the Stone Barrington series in 1991 (Grass Roots were released in 1989).
Stuart Woods is a mediocre if prolific author of police and legal thrillers. He is likely incapable of writing 5 star thrillers, but he can write mostly 3 star and occasional star novels - Chiefs is a fine example of his best 4 star novels. The major weakness of Woods' writing is poor character development. Another issue is research; he does little research and as a result his books are filled with errors.
I am amazed that Woods has been able to make a living writing novels. This is definitely my last Stuart Woods novel. Since he can not make the effort to develop his characters or do research, I shall not invest money in or take the time to read his books.
Stuart Woods began the saga of Will Lee in his first book, Chiefs, which is, IMHO, way better than The Run. By the time of this book Mr. Woods had bee..Show More »n cranking these out at a really fast pace, and the relationship between quality and quantity is inverse, if I may be slightly obtuse. Mr. Woods knows how to tie the maiden to the railroad tracks, and start the train huffing down at her. He even creates a good Snively Whiplash, for those of you who remember Bullwinkle the Moose. I'll stop being obtuse. By now Senator Will Lee is in his second term as the senator from Georgia. His wife Kate is rapidly rising in the ranks of the CIA. The president falls and slips into a coma. Joe Adams, the Veep, has early Alzheimer's disease, a fact known by only a few Washington insiders. So, Will decides to announce his candidacy for the presidency. Political infighting of the highest order ensues. Senator Lee's life is endangered by a small group of right-wingnuts ensconced in your typical bomb-defense-enforced cabin in the Idaho woods. Political terrorism ensues. This kind of plot is a thing which is being cranked out by the bushels by the Nelson DeMilles and Brad Thors of the world, and fine writers they are. It sells copies. It's not bad writing. Maybe it's just that I recently read All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren, and this stuff, by comparison to that, is thin gruel, indeed. The bonus, quite unexpectedly, is that the narrator of this book is not Ken Howard, but Frank Muller. This is just about the only reason I would buy a book like this. Having listened to so much of Frank's truly marvelous work, I'm afraid I am down to stems and seeds now, if you know what I mean. Frank is a little rushed here by the production people, which happens when he is forced to read sub-par writing, but even this pressure can't push his immense talent down. He makes this stuff exciting, even though we all know that the good guys will win, and the truly sleazy bad guys will lose. Why else do we read? (Wait, There must be a better reason than that.) The secret service intrudes on the lives of Will and Kate, the plot accelerates to the screeching point, and everyone, I guess, is satisfied. If this is the kind of stuff you take to the beach, go right ahead. Don't forget the hat and suntan lotion. Or maybe just fall asleep for a couple of chapters. You won't miss a thing.
I've listened to all the books in this series and have enjoyed the story line. Nothing against Mr Hoye, but his voice did not fit the series. Rather..Show More » than Will Lee as a southern politician I felt Mr Hoye should be reading about the Kennedy's as his voice has an uppity snobbish tone to it.
I have just finished listening to all the Stone Barrington books on audible. Most of them are very entertaining and have good plots. This one is dis..Show More »jointed especially at the end and has a sudden and disappointing end. Skip this one. Also Stone Barrington is not even in this book although Holly and Lance have peripheral parts. Come on Stuart...you can do much better!