Capital Crimes (Will Lee Series #6) [NOOK Book]


Will Lee, the courageous and uncompromising senator from Georgia, is back-now as President of the United States-in this fifth book of the New York Times bestselling series that began with Chiefs.

When a prominent conservative politician is killed inside his lakeside cabin, authorities have no suspect in sight. And two more seemingly different deaths might be linked to the same murderer. From a quiet D.C. suburb to the corridors of power to a ...
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Capital Crimes (Will Lee Series #6)

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Will Lee, the courageous and uncompromising senator from Georgia, is back-now as President of the United States-in this fifth book of the New York Times bestselling series that began with Chiefs.

When a prominent conservative politician is killed inside his lakeside cabin, authorities have no suspect in sight. And two more seemingly different deaths might be linked to the same murderer. From a quiet D.C. suburb to the corridors of power to a deserted island hideaway in Maine, Will, his CIA director wife, Kate, and the FBI will track their man, set a trap-and await the most dangerous kind of quarry, a killer with a cause to die for...


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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Keeps you turning page after page.
An action-packed puzzler.
Publishers Weekly
In this humdrum political thriller, the latest in the Will Lee series (The Run, etc.), William Henry Lee IV, former senator from Georgia, has graduated to the presidency of the United States. He's living comfortably in the White House with his wife, Katharine Rule Lee, director of the CIA, when a series of murders threatens the nation's political equanimity. Ex-CIA man Ted Fay has begun a lone wolf vendetta against selected right-wing big shots. Ted opens the hostilities by sniping hypocritical Republican Sen. Frederick Wallace of South Carolina, a known bigot who spends his free time committing adultery in a remote mountain cabin with his lover of 20 years, African-American Elizabeth Johnson. President Lee turns to longtime Deputy Director Robert Kinney of the FBI to investigate the murder. When Kinney is asked who shot the senator, his answer gives some measure of Wallace's popularity: "We've narrowed the list of people with a motive to about ten thousand." Assassin Ted has a Web site with a rogue's gallery of politicians, judges, media personalities and others whose policies he deems objectionable. As he ingeniously does away with each in turn, a large X is placed over the corresponding picture. Because Will and Kathy are staunch Democrats and Ted is such a partisan killer, the reader knows that neither is in any danger; this defuses suspense other than that generated by a standard cat-and-mouse hunt. And as Ted is the most interesting character in the book, one begins to secretly root for him and his mission, thus confusing the issue even further. This is not Woods's best, but he's such a pro even a lackluster outing still delivers a mildly diverting read. Agents, Morton Janklow and Anne Sibbald. (Oct.) Forecast: Woods's core readership and fans of the series will assure large numbers, even though he's sleepwriting on this one. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Georgia senator Will Lee has become President, but he and his wife, Kate, director of the CIA, still have crimes to solve. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Liberal? Feeling alienated from the political process? A disenchanted Lefty is taking matters into his own hands by murdering right-wing politicos. The execution of Sen. Frederick Wallace (R., S.C.) is so expertly handled and the crime scene so clean that the Feds are convinced from the starting gun that it's the first of a series, and sure enough, a sequence of victims is soon dispatched in increasingly improbable ways. Right Radio talk-show star Van Vandervelt's car is blown up; conservative New Jersey TV commentator Tim Brennan is poisoned by the old umbrella ferrule; another dose is planned for televangelist Dr. Don Beverly Calhoun. As Republican lawmakers denounce the killings as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy with links to President William Henry Lee IV (The Run, 2000, etc.), the First Lady, CIA director Katharine Rule Lee marshals her troops to generate leads. Their first suspect, a retired CIA agent with a liberal bent, would be perfect if he hadn't been crippled by a stroke, and their second, another ex-CIA type, has vanished without leaving behind a single photo or fingerprint. But the Woods regulars are not without their resources. Felicity Devonshire, of Her Majesty's Military Intelligence, is helping tie the unknown to a radical British group, and Kate's old mentor Ed Rawls, now doing hard time for treason, swears he knows the perp's identity and location, and he'll swap his information for a full pardon and a million dollars. Will Robert Kinney, the colorless deputy director of the FBI, and his guys zero in on the assassin before he has ultra-right Supreme Court justice Thomas Graydon in his sights? And if they don't, so what? Mercurial Woods's most recent thrillers(The Short Forever, 2002; Blood Orchid, 2002) have been so ludicrous that it's a pleasure to report that this fleet, workmanlike entry is merely uninvolving and unbelievable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101209967
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/6/2004
  • Series: Will Lee Series , #6
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 30,348
  • File size: 776 KB

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods
Stuart Woods was born in the small town of Manchester, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in sociology and moved to Atlanta, where he enlisted in the Air National Guard. In the fall of 1960, Woods moved to New York in search of a career in writing, and remained there for a decade working in advertising, with the exception of ten months spent in Mannheim, Germany with the National Guard during the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961-62.

An attack of wanderlust drew Woods to London, where he worked in advertising agencies until the idea of writing a novel called him to a small flat in the stableyard of a castle in County Galway, Ireland. There, Woods completed one hundred pages of a novel before he discovered sailing, after which, “everything went to hell. All I did was sail.”

Woods took his sailing to a higher level, competing in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, and the catastrophic Fastnet Race in 1979 in which fifteen competitors died. In October and November of that year, Woods sailed his friend’s yacht across the Atlantic, calling at the ports of Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, before finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

The next couple of years were spent in Georgia, where Woods wrote two non-fiction books: Blue Water, Green Skipper, an account of his Irish experience and the subsequent transatlantic race; and a travel guide entitled A Romantic Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland, which Woods says he wrote “on a whim.” W.W. Norton in New York bought the rights to Blue Water, Green Skipper, and published Woods’ first novel, Chiefs, in 1981. Chiefs won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America that year, was nominated for Palindrome, and was made into a six-hour television drama starring Charlton Heston for CBS. In 2006, Woods had two New York Times national bestsellers with Dark Harbor and Short Straw, and repeated the feat in 2007 with Fresh Disasters and Shoot Him If He Runs.

Woods, who has written thirty-three novels, currently resides in Florida, New York City and Maine.


Stuart Woods was born in 1938 in Manchester, Georgia. After graduating from college and enlisting in the Air National Guard, he moved to New York, where he worked in advertising for the better part of the 1960s. He spent three years in London working for various ad agencies, then moved to Ireland in 1973 to begin his writing career in earnest.

However, despite his best intentions, Woods got sidetracked in Ireland. He was nearly 100 pages into a novel when he discovered the seductive pleasures of sailing. "Everything went to hell," he quips on his web site "All I did was sail." He bought a boat, learned everything he could about celestial navigation, and competed in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, finishing respectably in the middle of the fleet. (Later, he took part in the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, a yachting competition that ended tragically when a huge storm claimed the lives of 15 sailors and 4 observers. Woods and his crew emerged unharmed.)

Returning to the U.S., Woods wrote two nonfiction books: an account of his transatlantic sailing adventures (Blue Water, Green Skipper) and a travel guide he claims to have written on a whim. But the book that jump-started his career was the opus interruptus begun in Ireland. An absorbing multigenerational mystery set in a small southern town, Chiefs was published in 1981, went on to win an Edgar Award, and was subsequently turned into a television miniseries starring Charlton Heston.

An amazingly prolific author, Woods has gone on to pen dozens of compelling thrillers, juggling stand-alone novels with installments in four successful series. (His most popular protagonists are New York cop-turned-attorney Stone Barrington, introduced in 1991's New York Dead, and plucky Florida police chief Holly Barker, who debuted in 1998's Orchid Beach.) His pleasing mix of high-octane action, likable characters, and sly, subversive humor has made him a hit with readers -- who have returned the favor by propelling his books to the top of the bestseller lists.

Good To Know

Some fascinating facts about Stuart Woods:

His first job was in advertising at BBDO in New York, and his first assignment was to write ads for CBS-TV shows. He recalls: "They consisted of a drawing of the star and one line of exactly 127 characters, including spaces, and I had to write to that length. It taught me to be concise."

He flies his own airplane, a single-engine turboprop called a Jetprop, and tours the country every year in it, including book tours.

He's a partner in a 1929 motor yacht called Belle and spends two or three weeks a year aboard her.

In 1961-62, Woods spent 10 months in Germany with the National Guard at the height of the Berlin Wall Crisis.

In October and November of 1979, he skippered a friend's yacht back across the Atlantic, with a crew of six, calling at the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands and finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

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    1. Hometown:
      Key West, Florida; Mt. Desert, Maine; New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 9, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Manchester, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Georgia, 1959
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2003

Stuart Woods
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-399-15090-0

Chapter One

Senator Frederick Wallace of South Carolina rose at
dawn from the bed in the lakeside cabin that he had shared
with his African-American lover for more than twenty years.
He went into the bathroom and relieved himself noisily. His
lover, Elizabeth Johnson, liked to sleep later than he.

Freddie and Elizabeth had produced two sons early in
their relationship, both of whom were enrolled in Ivy League
universities. Freddie's wife, Betty Ann, disliked coming back
to Chester, their putative home, preferring the social life and
shopping of Washington, D.C., which made it easy for Freddie
to make weekend trips back to South Carolina, ostensibly
for constituent services. He did a bit of that, of course, but
mostly he and Elizabeth did each other. It was the only completely
satisfying sexual relationship of his entire life, and he
cherished it above everything else in his existence, except his
status as a conservative Republican U.S. senator. Since he was
a politician, the hypocrisy of his position weighed lightly
upon him. Once, a couple of years before, someone had found
out and had tried to expose the relationship, but Freddie had,
by a previous plan with Elizabeth, denied everything and
fought the rumor to a standstill. He had been unable to see her for
three months, and that had hurt him badly.

Ted, who had been sitting in the trees for more than an hour before
first light, caught sight of the senator through the leaves, as he
apparently relieved, then weighed himself in the bathroom. He
didn't like the sight line - too many branches in the way-so he
bided his time.

Freddie Wallace tied his robe around him and walked into the
kitchen. Since Elizabeth slept later, he always made his own breakfast.
First, though, he attended to a little ritual that had been suggested
to him by Harry Truman, a president whom he would not
admit admiring. He went to a kitchen cupboard and removed a
bottle containing an amber liquid, with a hand-printed label. It
was a private-batch bourbon, 100 proof, that an old friend kept
him supplied with, as many old friends kept Freddie supplied
with many things, from suits to Cadillacs. He had once, in a reflective
moment, calculated that if the value of all the gifts he received
each year was made known to the Internal Revenue Service, the
resulting income tax would exceed his income as a U.S. senator.

Ted had him in the kitchen, now, and the line was good. He
moved the tripod a couple of feet to his left, and sat down, cross-legged,
behind it, tightening the mount adjustment and bringing
the barrel to bear on the kitchen window. He had, on a previous
visit, measured the distance from his present position to the center
of the house, which came to three hundred and four yards, give or
take, and he had already sighted in the weapon for that distance.

The appearance of the rifle, which he had made himself, would
have puzzled even an experienced shooter, since the weapon was
bereft of any material that did not contribute to its accuracy-no
walnut stock, just an aluminum rod; no trigger guard; no visible
bolt. The long, fat flash suppressor and silencer would have
seemed totally out of place; only the large, light-gathering telescopic
sight would be familiar. Ted loaded a single, .22-caliber,
long-rifle cartridge into the chamber and closed it, then took his
first sight through the scope.

Freddie Wallace poured himself a jigger of the superb bourbon,
then recorked the bottle and put it away. He tossed down the
ounce and a half of spirits, waiting for it to hit bottom before he

The target stood absolutely still for just a moment, and Ted,
almost casually, squeezed off the round. The only sounds were the
pffffft of the firing and the tinkle of window glass as the
copper-jacketed round passed through it. Had he been inside the room, he
would have heard a noise like a slap across the face as the bullet
struck the senator's left temple, then the sound of his body collapsing
like a sack of oranges onto the kitchen floor.

Elizabeth Johnson was turning over in her sleep when she
heard the noise. It was one she had heard only once before, but she
had imagined it many times, the sound of a male body hitting the
floor. Given the state of Frederick Wallace's health, she had been
expecting it.

She got out of bed, picked up her robe, and walked toward the
kitchen with some trepidation. "Freddie?" she called, but there
was no answer. She continued into the kitchen and saw him lying
there. It was not until she came near the body that she saw the hole
in the temple and the blood and gore that the exiting bullet had
taken with it. "Oh, shit, Freddie," she said, then she ducked down
below window level and checked his pulse. There was none.

Ted picked up the rifle, with its tripod still connected, and
walked off into the woods. When the house had vanished behind
him, he changed directions by sixty degrees, walked another five
minutes, then switched back, avoiding any bare dirt or branches
he might break along the way. After twenty minutes of walking, he
could hear the traffic on the highway, and he approached the spot
where he had left his other things. He knelt in the leaves, spread
out a piece of army blanket, unscrewed the rifle from its tripod, removed
the scope and the silencer, and packed everything into a
camera bag and two fishing-rod tubes. He got out of his camouflage
jacket, stuffed it into a backpack, and donned his tweed
jacket and matching hat.

He peeked through the underbrush at the traffic, waited until
there was a lull, then ambled to his RV, parked in a little roadside
rest area. He unlocked the cabin door, hid the camera bag and tubes
in the places he had designed for them, got behind the wheel, and
drove away at a moderate pace, not anxious to attract attention.

A few miles down the road, he parked in the lot of a fast-food
restaurant, went to his laptop computer, adjusted the dish on the
roof for contact with the satellite, logged online, using a program
that took him through six portals before finally connecting, and
went to Microsoft Front Page. He made some changes in the website,
then logged off and went into the restaurant for a big breakfast.

Elizabeth Johnson had gone through the house carefully, packing
anything that might be linked to her into two large suitcases.
She and Freddie had talked about this more than once, and his
instructions had been explicit. She got the bags into the trunk of
her car, then went back into the cabin and made another search for
anything of hers. Finally, she went back into the kitchen, knelt next
to the body, bent over, and kissed it lightly on the lips. "Goodbye,
my sweetheart," she said, then she left the house with tears
streaming down her cheeks and drove away.

When she was back in Chester, she pulled over, took out the cell
phone that Freddie had given her, and dialed the sheriff's home

"Hello?" he said.

"Tom, you know who this is?"

"Yep, I do," he replied.

"You better get out to the cabin. Somebody shot him in the head
about half an hour ago."

There was a stunned silence. "Was it you?" he asked finally.

"I was in bed asleep. I heard him fall."

"Anybody know you was there?"

"No, and I cleared out everything of mine. I'm on my way

"Don't you talk to nobody about this, you hear? I'll let you
know what I find out after I find it out."

"Goodbye." She hung up, started the car, and drove to her little
house. She went inside, lay down on the bed, and let herself cry
some more.

Chapter Two

The president of the United States, William Henry Lee
IV, sat on the edge of his bed and contemplated his toenails.
His wife, Katharine Rule Lee, came out of the bathroom and

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"I hate clipping my toenails," he said. "Tell me again why
I can't have pedicures."

"Because the Republicans would find out about it and cast
you as an effete, liberal snob. And I'm not going to clip them
for you. I have a very important meeting in less than an hour,
and I have to get dressed." Katharine Rule Lee was director
of Central Intelligence, appointed to that post by her husband,
after an act of Congress had allowed him to do so.

"I know you have an important meeting," Will said. "I
expect to be there, too, since you and the director of the FBI
and the military are briefing me."

"Oh, yes, I forgot you'd be there."

The telephone rang, and Will picked it up. "Will Lee,"
he said.

"Sir, this is the White House operator."

"Good morning, Inez," Will said. "What's up?"

"We just had a phone call from a Sheriff Tom Stribling, of
Chester, South Carolina."

"That's where Senator Wallace lives, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir. Sheriff Stribling asked that we inform you that Senator
Wallace was shot to death less than an hour ago."

Will took a quick breath and tried not to think about the ramifications
of such news. "Any details?"

"The sheriff said he is at your disposal, if you want to call him."

"Thank you, Inez," Will said, then hung up.

"What is it?" Kate asked.

"Freddie Wallace is dead. Somebody shot him early this

"Anybody we know? I'd like to send him a box of chocolates."

"I hope to God it was a Republican."

"Well," Kate said, "it would be interesting to sit around and
speculate about who did it and why Heaven knows there are
enough people with enough cause, not to speak ill of the dead. But,
as I said, I have an important meeting to go to."

"I remember," Will said, picking up the phone.

"Put down the phone for a minute," she said.

Will put down the phone. "What?"

"I'll tell you something you don't know about Freddie Wallace,
if you won't ask me how I know."

"Why can't I ask you how you know?"

"Because I'm the director of Central Intelligence, and how I
know is classified."

"Am I not cleared at that level?"

"Maybe. Let's call it need to know."

"Tell me."

"For more than twenty years, Freddie has had an African-American
mistress, with whom he is-was-deeply in love. They
have two sons, one at Brown, one at Harvard."

"Holy shit. I thought that was just a canard."

"It wasn't."

"How do you know this?"

"You promised not to ask me."

"No, I didn't."

"Your promise was implied as part of an oral contract."

"Now you're talking like a lawyer."

"I am a lawyer."

"I forgot. I always think of you as a spy."

"I think I rather like that," she said, walking over to him, raising
his chin with a finger, and kissing him.

"Maybe tonight we can find time to discuss at some length why
you like that," he said, reaching for her ass and missing as she
stepped away.

"I very much doubt it," she said. "We have a very important
White House dinner this evening, and we'll both be worn out by

"I could cancel it because of Freddie's death," he said hopefully.

"I don't think that the prime minister of Japan would think that
appropriate, and since he's the guest of honor-"

"All right," Will said. He picked up the phone again. "Please get
me Sheriff Tom Stribling, in Chester, South Carolina," he said. He
loved never having to find a pencil to write down a phone number;
all he had to do was speak a name, and he was connected to anyone,
anywhere. It was one of the better perks of being president.

A few seconds later, the operator said, "You're connected, Mr.


"Yes, Mr. President, I'm right here."

"Tell me what happened."

"I'm at the scene now, sir," the sheriff said. "The senator took a
small-caliber bullet through the left temple and died instantly, far
as we can tell. Nobody heard a gunshot."

"Who was with the senator?"

"No one, sir, he was alone."

"Then who didn't hear a gunshot?"

"Ah, well-"

"I know about the black lady, Sheriff." It was worth a shot.

Stribling let out a breath, as if he had been holding it. "She was
here, sir. She heard him fall to the floor, but she didn't hear a shot."

"Is she still there?"

"No, sir, she's at her home, and so are all her things."

"I take it she's not going to be a part of any public announcement
or inquiry."

"No, sir. The senator left very clear instructions about that a
long time ago."

"Have you given this to the press yet?"

"No, sir. I expect it will be close to noon before we're finished
with the crime scene. I'll fax an announcement to the Columbia
papers and the AP after that."

"I see. Have you spoken to Betty Ann Wallace?"

"Yes, sir, a few minutes ago."

"How did she take it?"


"She's in Washington?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'll call her," Will said. "Thanks for letting me know, Tom."

"I'm glad to be of service, sir."

They both hung up.

Will got the operator back. "Get me Senator Wallace's wife, at
their Washington home." He waited while he was connected,
dreading the conversation ahead.

Chapter Three

Will was in his little study off the Oval Office at
eight-thirty, and his secretary, a tall, thin African-American
woman named Cora Parker, was waiting with his schedule
and a number of other items.

"Good morning, Mr. President," she said, taking a seat
next to his desk and setting the folder on his desk.

"Good morning, Cora," Will replied. "There's some
news: I just learned that Senator Freddie Wallace was shot
around dawn this morning. He died instantly."

"Oh, my God," Cora said, putting a hand to her mouth.

Since nothing ever fazed Cora, Will looked at her closely.
"I know you're from South Carolina, but I wouldn't have
thought that Freddie's death would upset you all that much."

"No, sir, it doesn't, exactly," Cora replied. "I was just
thinking about-"

"Cora, do you know about the senator's friend?"

"What friend would that be, sir?"

"The lady friend."

She sighed. "Yes, sir, I know. I'm from Columbia, but I've
got a first cousin who lives in Chester, and she and the lady are
friends. That's how I know her."

"What's the lady's name?" he asked.

"Elizabeth Johnson. She's a widow."

"And they had two sons together, is that correct?"

"Yes, sir, George and Johnny, named after her two brothers.
Their last name is House, Elizabeth's maiden name."

"Do the boys know who their father is?"

"I believe they do," Cora replied.

"Is there anything else I should know about all this, just to keep
from putting my foot in it?"

"Not that I can think of, Mr. President. Do they know who
shot him?"

"No, not yet. This isn't going to be announced until around
noon today so keep it to yourself until you hear it on the news."

"Can I call Elizabeth?"

"Not on a White House phone," Will said. "We don't want that
call logged, and don't use your staff cell phone, either.

Excerpted from CAPITAL CRIMES
Copyright © 2003 by Stuart Woods.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    Liberal Venom harms good writing

    I've always enjoyed the characters of Will Lee & Kate Rule - until, that is, they began using hate speech toward any member of the opposite political party. In this book, only the Democrats are people of upright moral character. (Perhaps it's just a delayed stress reaction to the Clinton debauchery). I was a Stuart Woods fan before but will be no longer as it is obvious he has nothing but contempt for those of us across the political aisle. And they accuse Republicans of hate speech? My Marine son will defend your rights Mr. Woods, but I don't have to buy your venom.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exhilarating political suspense thriller

    The first person executed is South Carolina Republican Senator Frederick Wallace, an extreme right wing politician. The crime scene is clean and the kill is professional. The next victim is right wing radio talk show host Van Vandervelt whose car explodes. The killer attains official serial status when conservative TV commentator Tim Brennan is poisoned. The republicans, borrowing a page from Senator Clinton, blame the murders on a vast left-wing conspiracy to destroy the United States. Of course politics must be included so they tie the killers to President William Henry Lee IV. <P>First Lady Katharine Rule Lee as the CIA director leads a thorough search for clues and any ties besides extreme right wing beliefs of the victims. The usual left wing suspects fail to pass the test as clever killers. Leads are almost non-existent though Her Majesty's Military Intelligence believes there is a link to a radical British group. Ed Rawls, in jail for treason, offers the identity of the murderer in exchange for a full pardon and a million dollars. Pondering deals with the devil and who will be next, Katharine and FBI agent Robert Kinney must find a way to stop these left wing terrorist assassinations. <P>Though quite exciting, readers will have to accept several premises such as the First Lady remaining as CIA director, etc. The story line is fast-paced, but requires loads of acceptance that events play out the way they do in the plot. Still Stuart Woods provides an exhilarating political suspense thriller that if one belies reality will still find pleasurable. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 25, 2003



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