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Publisher's Summary

In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Story
  • dr Frank
  • Beaver Falls, PA, United States
  • 01-18-15

Slow start but worth finishing

The book starts slow in a small southern town and there are times when I wonder how/if this book will get to the point. At first, I continued because of the reviews but as the story developed, I kept finding ways to listen to it.

The author builds the characters in such a manner that their meaning and usefulness is seen later in the book.

I grew up and lived in the north all my life but have traveled many times to the south and Woods paints a picture that many told me existed but I only experienced through the words of older people during the 60's. The racial tension along with the life of living in a small town are painted in such a manner that I felt as if I were living it with some of the main characters. There were times when I listened that my heart hurt since we have many friends of different races.

Throughout the book many instances of poetic justice take place along with a few laughable moments.

The narrator did a good job of telling the story almost in the manner of a grandfather telling the story to his grandchildren and their friends over a course of many visits.

I recommend the book especially if you want something different than what is common in 2014-2015.

I can understand why Woods won many awards with it and at first didn't understand/like the ending but then I noticed this is the first in a series.

I recommend the book if interested in a good detective novel wrapped in history.

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Satisfying the the end

This may be my new favorite book. The slow and relaxed delivery is deceiving. In fact, the book is packed interesting characters and some startling surprises that literally had my mouth agape more than once as I drove down the road.
Get it.

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Thrilling any engaging every minute of the way.

I was immediately interested in each character in the story, and when the book ended I longed to know the future of all of them, like they were old friends I needed to catch up on. Excellent listen. Sorry it is over.

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Great Story

Had seen the tv miniseies back in the '80's but had forgotten much of the story. Filled with love 'em or hate 'em characters, the tale kept me listening and left me wanting more, despite the nice wrap- up.

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Great story annoying reading

I loved the story but couldn't handle all of the mouth noises coming from reader. Can't they block those out??? Lip smacking, nasal whistle - drives me nuts.

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  • Linda
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • 01-11-15

Great read - best in a long time!

I really enjoyed this book. It held my attention right from the first to the end. The narrator was excellent and brought the story to life.

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SUPERB book

I LOVED this book! Hated to see it end. Narrator was excellent also. Great story though difficult to take at times because of the injustices.

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Excellent listen

I do remember the mini series. However books are so much more than the adaptation to screen. Great narration, awesome story line. Quite suspenseful.

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  • Amy
  • Rockford, MI
  • 10-19-14

Sinister Happenings in Small Town Georgia

Would you consider the audio edition of Chiefs to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version so I can't compare, but Mark Hammer is an excellent narrator. The dialogue, the descriptions of small town Georgia, the depth of racism in the 1920s and the upheaval of integration moving into the 1960s were vividly portrayed through the audio version.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot kept my interest and there were many moments where it kept me on the edge of my seat, mostly because it was told in stages. This is about three police chiefs in a small town in Georgia who gain information about missing boys who have traveled through the area.. Beginning in the 1920s and continuing into the 1960s, each of these chiefs gains information about a predator, but his capture is a long time coming. This momentum toward resolution drives the story.

Which scene was your favorite?

The climax of the story towards which this novel had been building.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The victimization of the young boys.

Any additional comments?

This book is #1 in the Will Lee series and I liked it a lot. I chose to read it after seeing several positive Audible reviews. If I had not read those reviews, I probably would not have chosen this book, because I am not a fan of Stuart Woods "Stone Barrington" series.

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  • pg
  • 09-21-14

One of Stuart Wood's earliest and best

If you could sum up Chiefs in three words, what would they be?

Suspenseful and painful.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There were too many to highlight any particular one.

Which scene was your favorite?

Again, there were too many to highlight any particular one.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I remembered fondly the television mini-series several decades ago and wanted to know what had been left out. The story is a good if painful history lesson about race relations in smaller, more rural areas of the deep South and not-so-deep as the present example of Ferguson, Missouri shows.

Any additional comments?

Very well worth a listen. Mark Hammer is the perfect narrator with a wide range of voices and style perfectly suited to the slower pace and accents of a Southern tale.