Grass Roots (Will Lee Series #3)

Grass Roots (Will Lee Series #3)

4.3 22
by Stuart Woods
     
 

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Attorney Will Lee has returned to his roots to kick off his campaign for the Senate. He has come back to his hometown of Delano, Georgia, to plan his strategies, and to argue a case that has the potential to seriously damage his political career. For his hometown is a place with a dark secret, and the violent, evil forces here will stop at nothing to keep the

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Overview

Attorney Will Lee has returned to his roots to kick off his campaign for the Senate. He has come back to his hometown of Delano, Georgia, to plan his strategies, and to argue a case that has the potential to seriously damage his political career. For his hometown is a place with a dark secret, and the violent, evil forces here will stop at nothing to keep the candidate out of office. But Will Lee isn't about to back down, even though it may cost him his career—and his life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three compelling plot lines are woven into a tautly drawn suspense novel by the author of Chiefs ; not a whodunit or a howdunit, but a how-does-it-all-connect. After years as chief of staff for a venerable Georgia senator, Will Lee decides to run for the seat himself when a stroke cripples his mentor. Standing in his way are an ambitious governor in the Democratic primary and, possibly, a far-right fundamentalist in the general election. In addition, Will must interrupt his campaign to serve as the defense lawyer in a controversial race-murder trial, while elsewhere, a dedicated ex-cop pursues the head of a Klan-like vigilante group that's been carrying out gangland-style killings. Woods builds these plots to reach their climaxes--an election, a verdict and a shoot-out--simultaneously, and links the stories with an ingenuity that runs out of steam only in the final few chapters. Nonetheless, his headlong storytelling style is stoked with enough sex and violence to ignite a TV miniseries. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.)
Library Journal
When Georgia Senator Ben Carr has a stroke, his chief of staff, Will Lee, decides to run for Carr's seat. Concurrently Lee has been appointed public defender for a white man accused of murdering a young black woman--a case full of explosive racial tension. The election campaign is a nasty one involving a militaristic right-wing group, a TV evangelist with a mission, and a power-hungry governor. The various plot lines, though a little too contrived, move the story at a smart pace. A consummate storyteller, Woods ( Under the Lake , LJ 6/1/87) demonstrates his narrative ability by intertwining contemporary southern politics and the murder trial into a most satisfying tale.-- Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061711565
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/30/2008
Series:
Will Lee Series, #3
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
203,403
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Grass Roots

Chapter One

Will Lee flashed his identification at the guard and nodded toward the car. "Can I park out front for just a few minutes? I've got to pick up some stuff from the office."

The guard came down the steps and walked around the Porsche—not new, not clean—and carefully inspected the parking sticker on the windshield. Taking his time, he walked back to where Will shivered. "Ten minutes," the man said. "No more."

Everybody in Washington loved power, Will reflected as he got out of the car and slammed the door. Not least, Capitol guards. Seven-thirty on a Saturday morning in December, Congress having recessed the day before, and the man was worried about traffic. Will raced into the Russell Building, under low, leaden skies, the cold nipping at his neck. He paused to sign in at the inside guard's desk, then entered the building, his steps echoing off the marble floor as he headed toward the elevators. In a hurry and almost without thinking, he did something he had never done before: he pushed the members' button, guaranteeing express service. He leaned against the paneling as the car rose, taking in a faint odor of varnish and cigars, and allowed himself a ten-second reverie: he was not an interloper in this car, but an elected member, leaving the press gathered at the elevator door as he rose to his suite of offices to take a phone call from a worried President. It made him laugh that he was no more immune to the lure of power than the building guard. The car eased to a stop, and Will walked quickly down the hallway to the office. To his surprise, the door swung open before he could turn the key.

Will dismissed the thought of anything sinister; the cleaners must have forgotten to lock it. He strode quickly through the small reception area and past the staff desks that crowded the main room of the suite, then turned right past the Senator's closed door to his own small office. Even a senator's chief of staff did not rate much space in the crowded Russell Building. He had got behind his desk and was opening a drawer before he noticed the light coming from under the other door, the one that opened into his boss's room. Someone was in Benjamin Carr's office.

Will hesitated, then put aside his caution. He walked to the door and opened it, prepared to accost an intruder with righteous indignation, at the very least. His eye fell first on the collection of photographs of Ben Carr with each of the last nine Presidents of the United States, starting with an ill-looking Franklin Roosevelt, on the front porch of the Little White House, in Warm Springs, Georgia. Then his attention went to the figure hunched over the Senator's desk.

Ben Carr looked up, surprised. "What're you doing in here this time of day, boy?" he asked in his gravelly voice.

"Morning, Senator," Will replied, surprised himself. "I was on my way to the airport. I forgot something." He frowned. "What on earth are you doing in here at this hour on a Saturday?"

The Senator looked sly. "How do you know I'm not here every Saturday morning?" He waved a hand. "I know, I know, because you're here yourself. Naw, I'm here for the same reason as you. I've got a nine-o'clock plane to Atlanta; Jasper's waiting in the garage."

"How'd the physical go?" Will asked. He had not seen his boss for two days, since the Senator had spent Friday at Walter Reed Hospital.

"Sound as a—yen," the Senator replied, chuckling at his own joke. "They say I'm fighting fit."

"Now is that a fact, sir?" Will asked. "You know I'll find out if it isn't." Ben Carr was seventy-eight, and he had been looking tired lately.

"Hell, you sure will," Carr laughed. "Can't keep a secret anymore in this town. Used to be, a member of Congress could keep a girl in Georgetown or screw a colleague's wife, and the press didn't write about it. Not anymore, though." He raised a calming hand. "Don't get worried, now; my blood pressure's up a little, that's all. They gave me some pills; I might even take 'em."

"You're sure that's all?"

"That's all. They tell me I'll live through another term. We'll announce right after Christmas, I think. We don't want the Republicans to have too much time to get excited, do we?"

Will grinned. "No, sir. We'll let 'em down early."

Ben Carr placed his palms on his desk and pushed himself to his feet. Tall, bald, a little stooped, he walked around the desk. "I'm glad you came by this morning, Will. Sit down for a minute; I want to talk to you."

Will took a seat at one end of the leather sofa, and the Senator arranged his lanky frame at the other end, drawing a knee up beside him.

"Will, we've never really talked about this—I mean, right out in the open, but you want this job, don't you?"

"Not your job, sir," Will replied honestly.

"I know, I know," Carr said. "But you'd like Jim Barnett's seat next time, wouldn't you?" James J. Barnett was the lackluster Republican who had become the junior senator from Georgia two years before.

"Yes, sir, I think I would," Will said, grinning.

"Good, good," Carr said, slapping the back of the sofa. "You'll do it damned well, too."

"Thank you, sir." Will tried to meet the Senator's gaze and failed. "I thought I'd . . . after you're reelected, of course, I thought I'd better go home and get some red mud on my shoes." It was Ben Carr's own phrase for moving among the Georgia electorate, and Will had chosen it deliberately. "I've been in Washington nearly eight years now, and I'm a little out of touch."

Carr nodded. "You're right to want to do that, Will. I don't know about New York and California, but in Georgia, you win elections at the grass roots. Remember that and live by it, and you're halfway to elected office." He fell silent.

Grass Roots. Copyright © by Stuart Woods. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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