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Mounting Fears (Will Lee Series #6)

Mounting Fears (Will Lee Series #6)

3.2 39
by Stuart Woods

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New York Times– bestselling author Stuart Woods returns with another page-turning thriller.President Will Lee is having a rough week. His vice president just died during surgery. Confirmation hearings for the new vice president are under way, but the squeaky-clean governor whom Will has nominated may have a few previously unnoticed skeletons in his closet.


New York Times– bestselling author Stuart Woods returns with another page-turning thriller.President Will Lee is having a rough week. His vice president just died during surgery. Confirmation hearings for the new vice president are under way, but the squeaky-clean governor whom Will has nominated may have a few previously unnoticed skeletons in his closet. And Teddy Fay, the rogue CIA agent last seen in Shoot Him If He Runs, is plotting his revenge on CIA director Kate Rule Lee—the president’s wife.Plus there are some loose nukes in Pakistan that might just trigger World War III if Will’s diplomatic efforts fall short. It’s up to President Lee—with some help from Holly Barker, Lance Cabot, and a few other Stuart Woods series regulars—to save the world, and the upcoming election.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Woods's uninspired sixth Will Lee thriller (after Capital Crimes), the incumbent U.S. president, William Jefferson Lee, faces a series of crises in an election year: his vice president has died during surgery; a nuclear warhead is missing in Pakistan and believed to be in the hands of a terrorist group possibly connected to al-Qaeda; and an independent presidential candidate, a charismatic minister, has erased Lee's once significant lead in the polls. To make matters worse, Lee's newly appointed vice president, the former governor of California, has got himself entangled in a messy divorce as well as a sordid love triangle that, if exposed, could become front-page fodder for the tabloids and all but destroy Lee's re-election bid. While Woods exhibits his usual brilliant sense of pacing, two-dimensional characters, a mechanical plot and an improbable ending far from satisfy. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
President William Jefferson Lee IV's reelection campaign turns out to be just one darned thing after another. What could possibly go wrong for Will Lee, who enters the Democratic convention enjoying a 62 percent approval rating? His loyal and talented Vice President, George Kiel, could sicken and die. The new VP he appoints, California Gov. Martin Stanton, could turn out to be divorcing (a private matter he shares with Will) and be a serial womanizer (an even more private matter he doesn't), and his phone calls to his inamorata could be recorded and end up in the files of the National Inquisitor. Black Atlanta Mayor Henry King Jackson could withdraw from the Democratic party and announce his independent campaign for president. Charlene Joiner, the actress whose ex-boyfriend, Larry Eugene Moody, Will defended unsuccessfully years ago on charges of rape and murder, could throw herself at Will-literally, at a Democratic fundraiser, right in front of a fortuitous press photographer-in an attempt to get him to pardon Moody. Ex-CIA operative Teddy Fay, that freelance assassin of right-wing politicians who's been repeatedly reported dead (Shoot Him If He Runs, 2007, etc.), could surface yet again in Panama. Oh, and would you believe it? On top of everything else, the Taliban could seize a nuclear device in Afghanistan, along with the codes and personnel necessary to detonate it. Will and his wife Kate, director of the post-Teddy CIA, deal with each crisis calmly, decisively and with humor. Wildly erratic Woods's latest won't be news to anyone except folks who think that all presidential elections, especially if they're fictional, have to be as exciting as the 2008 election was in real life.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Will Lee Series , #6
Product dimensions:
6.94(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WILLIAM JEFFERSON LEE IV, SAT STRAIGHT up in bed. It had been the nuclear nightmare wherein some unidentified country had launched missiles on the United States and he had to decide at whom to strike back. It was not the first time.
Will wiped the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his nightshirt, then tried to get out of bed without waking his wife. He was halfway to the bathroom when he remembered that Kate, who for the past four years had been director of intelligence, head of the CIA, had left for work two hours before, after an urgent phone call in the early hours.
Will stared at himself in the bathroom mirror while he waited for the water in the sink to get hot for shaving. How was he different from four years before? Considerably grayer, but Kate thought that lent him gravitas. His face was relatively unlined, still, and he took some pride in the fact that his waist size had not changed, in spite of only sporadic efforts to exercise.
He ran hot water onto the shaving brush, lathered his face, and began shaving while reviewing the high points of the day to come. Most important was a nine a.m. with the vice president, George Kiel, and he thought he knew what the meeting would be about.

FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER, dressed in a standard chalk-striped suit and a red-and-blue-striped necktie, Will walked through the door of the White House family quarters to be greeted by the young naval officer who carried the “football,” the briefcase containing the codes for a nuclear launch, and two Secret Service agents, who escorted him down the hallway and into the elevator.
Will had become accustomed to never being alone outside the family quarters and, sometimes, the Oval Office; he also had become accustomed to traveling to the airport in a large new helicopter, and from there in an outrageously well-equipped Boeing 747 with a bedroom and shower and conference room and telephones and Internet hookups and everything else that the minds of electronics experts could conceive. It had been harder to become accustomed to constantly being the most looked-at person in any room, up to and including Madison Square Garden. He had learned never to scratch his nether regions, because the video would be on the Internet within seconds.
The elevator reached the lower floor, and then, instead of being walked to the Oval Office, Will was walked to the press room in the basement of the White House. No preparation had been necessary, because the press had not been invited. Instead, the auditorium was filled with White House staffers.
Will stepped to the lectern. “My God,” he said, “who’s answering the phones?”
Tim Coleman, his chief of staff, stood up in the front row. “Nobody, Mr. President,” he said, then sat down again. Everybody laughed.
“Well, good morning to you all,” Will said. “As I expect you may have heard, I’m headed for New York today to accept the nomination tonight, and I wanted to say just a few words to you before I go.” He looked around at the happy faces. “It may surprise some of you that I got the nomination.” Everybody laughed again. “But I guess being the incumbent helps. What was even more of a help was the successful nature of our first term, and I use the pronoun advisedly. The people in this room had as much, maybe more, to do with that success than anyone else, and I wanted to thank you, personally, for that help.
“Now, assuming that I win a second term for us—and that’s only an assumption at this point—I’m going to be faced with being called a lame duck for the next four years. It’s my fervent hope that you will all be here to face that with me, but I understand that practically all of you have served for the past four years at a considerable financial sacrifice and that the call of the private sector, as the Republicans like to call the defense contractors and the Washington lobbying firms, will be ringing in your ears.
“It’s my hope that you will all be here during the campaign, because somebody has to run the White House, and that you’ll be here early in the next four years to help break in your replacements—should you choose to leave. I know, of course, that the last year of the next administration the rats will all be swimming for shore, and I can’t blame them. I just want you to know that every one of you here has proved your value to the White House and to your country, and I would be delighted if you all decided to stay on for another four years.
“That said, be sure to tune in to the convention tonight to learn if any of your suggestions made it into the speech. Bye-bye for now.”
Will walked off the platform and was followed by Tim Coleman and Kitty Conroy, his director of communications. These two had been his aides when he was in the Senate, and they were closer to him than anyone else on the staff.
Will walked through the reception room outside the Oval Office. His secretary, Cora Parker, spoke up. “Mr. President, the director of Central Intelligence and the deputy director for operations of the CIA are waiting in the Oval Office.”
This was a surprise. “Please send the vice president in when he arrives,” he said. Kate and her DDO, Lance Cabot, were waiting for him, and they both stood as he entered. Will waved them to their seats and hung his coat on a stand by the door.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“Mr. President,” Kate said—she always addressed him formally in meetings with others—“we have a report that a Taliban group, possibly aided by Al Qaeda operatives, have captured a missile site in northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border.”
Will stopped in his tracks. “A nuclear missile site?”
“Yes, sir,” Kate said.
“Are the Taliban able to fire the missiles?”
“They also captured most of the technicians alive.”
“So it’s possible they could fire at something?”
“Just possible,” Kate said. “Not likely, but possible.”
“Have they made any demands?”
“No, but we’re expecting that shortly.”
“Has the story broken?”
“Not yet. The Pakistani president has clamped a tight lid on it, but I don’t think we can count on that for long. When the occupiers of the site start making demands, they’re very likely to make a lot of noise about it.”
“Why are there no military people here?”
“They’re on the way, sir,” Kate replied. “Their departure from the Pentagon was delayed by what they hope is new information coming in.”
Cora Parker ’s head appeared from behind a door. “Mr. President, the vice president and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Army chief of staff are here with their aides.”
“Send them right in,” Will said, then stood up to receive the group. There was not a happy face among them.
Cora came back in behind them. “Mr. President, President Mohammed Khan of Pakistan is on the phone.”
Will walked to his desk. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” he said, “I’d better take this. Maybe he’ll have something new.”


“Yes, Mr. President.”
“I understand that a nuclear missile site has been taken by the Taliban.”
“That is correct, sir.”
“And that Al Qaeda may be involved?”
“We expect so.”
“How can we help?”
“I am meeting with my military staff in a moment, and I hope to have an answer to that question afterward.”
“I understand that most of the technical staff were captured at the site?”
“Yes, that is true, I’m afraid.”
“Have the occupiers made any demands?”
“No, and they are not responding to our communications.”
“Is there anything I can do for you at this moment?”
“Not yet, sir, but I will be in touch. I just wanted to be sure that you had been made aware of the situation.”
“I have, and my military and intelligence staff have just arrived. I hope to speak to you again when your meeting is over. Good-bye.”
“That was Mohammed Khan,” Will said to the others. “He seems to know little right now, but he’s about to meet with his military staff.”
“Mr. President,” General Boone, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said, “I think it would be best if we moved this meeting to the Situation Room, since we have some electronic intelligence to display, and that room is best equipped for it.”

TEN MINUTES LATER the group had settled in around the conference table in the Situation Room. “Who’d like to start?” he asked.
“I would,” Kate said. “We have some satellite photos to show you.” She clicked a remote control, and an image of mountains appeared; with a laser pointer she indicated a narrow valley. “This is the location of the installation,” she said. “As you can see we have clear weather, so this is a very good photo.” She clicked again and zoomed in until the missile site appeared clearly. “This is the view from about two thousand feet. You can see the cluster of buildings and the array of silos.”
“No people?” Will asked.
“Everyone seems to be inside the buildings, but you can see dead bodies here, here and here, around the perimeter fence.”
“What missiles are present?”
“I can answer that,” General Boone said. “There are six silos, two of which contain nuclear-tipped missiles. The others are conventional high explosive.”
“Do we know the tonnage?”
“We believe no more than ten kilotons each,” the general said, “perhaps less.”
“That’s what, half the tonnage of the Hiroshima bomb?”
“Yes, sir.”
“What range?”
“We think no more than a thousand miles. They could reach all of northwestern India, including Delhi.”
“But not Israel.”
“No, sir. But if they were able to move a missile to the southwestern corner of Afghanistan, they could just about do it.”
“But they can’t move them?”
“There are two mobile missile launchers inside one of the buildings, but it would be quite a job to load a missile onto one and truck it four or five hundred miles, then fire. We think that very unlikely, and if they tried it we could knock out the vehicle and the missile.”
“If they were to attempt such a thing, how long might it take them?”
The general permitted himself a small shrug. “A week, ten days, perhaps.”
“Let’s keep that in mind during our planning.”
The vice president, George Kiel, spoke up. “How far to the nearest Pakistani military base?”
“Thirty miles,” the general replied.
“And what forces are present there?”
“An armored regiment.”
Will spoke up. “I don’t see how they could attack the missile site with that sort of force,” he said, “without risking a launch. They could certainly hit any city in Pakistan.”
“Correct, Mr. President,” the general said. “The key would be speed, to get there before the invaders get a grip on how to fire a missile.”
“That could be a very short time.” Lance Cabot, the CIA DDO, had spoken for the first time, and everyone turned and looked at him.
“They would need time to persuade the staff to start firing missiles,” the general said.
“Not if they had one or more men on the inside,” Cabot said, “and we know there have been terrorist attempts to penetrate the Pakistani nuclear program.”
“That’s troubling,” Will said.
“If it’s true,” the general countered. “Mr. Cabot, do you have any evidence of such a penetration or even an attempt?”
Cabot opened a folder in front of him. “Three weeks ago, we received a report from a source inside the Pakistani government that two technicians at this site had not returned from weekend leave on schedule. They still have not returned. Up to now, at least.”
The room was silent for a long moment.
“General Boone,” Will said, “have you had time to do any planning? And if so, do we have the relevant forces available?”
“Mr. President, we have a detachment of Navy SEALs deployed in the mountains, less than a hundred miles from the missile site.”
“How many men?”
“Thirty, plus support people.”
“Thirty doesn’t sound like many.”
“There may be no Taliban other than the invading party,” Boone said.
“But we have no intelligence on the size of that party?”
“Correct, sir.”
“Do we know which silos contain the nuclear warheads?” Will asked.
“No, sir, but the Pakistanis do. So that information should be available to us.”
“Is it possible, if the SEALs could get into the compound, to destroy the missiles in their silos without setting off a nuclear blast?”
“Theoretically, sir.”
“Certainly,” Cabot said, interrupting. “The warheads are wired not to explode in the silos; they are armed by radio after firing.”
“We don’t know that for sure,” the general said.
“We know for sure,” Cabot replied. “We’ve known since before the missiles were deployed. I would have thought the Pentagon would know it, too.”
“If we sent a few cruise missiles in there with conventional warheads,” Will asked, “could we knock out the nukes before they could be fired?”
“In theory,” Cabot said, looking at Boone. “General?”
Boone turned to the president. “Sir, the site was chosen to make that difficult, with high mountains surrounding it. An air strike would be more vertical—and more precise.”
“What defenses would the site have against an air attack?” Will asked. “I presume that the surrounding mountains would reduce the effectiveness of radar until the aircraft were right on top of them.”
“That’s probable, sir,” the general replied. “There are ground-to-air defensive missiles on the site. We don’t know how many.”

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods is the author of fifty novels, including the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series. He is a native of Georgia and began his writing career in the advertising industry. Chiefs, his debut in 1981, won the Edgar Award. An avid sailor and pilot, Woods lives in New York City, Florida, and Maine.

Brief Biography

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

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Mounting Fears (Will Lee Series #7) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
luvs2readBC More than 1 year ago
I felt like I was missing something at the end. I love all his books - but my favorites are the Stone Barrington novels. This one left you wondering where the rest of the book was. First one that I was disappointed in.
PrudentMan More than 1 year ago
In the first twenty pages I found eight editorial errors and/or factual errors. I was inclined to throw the book away but was intrigued by how many more I could find. Factual errors continued throughout the book along with contradictions.

I finished the book last night and am stil attempting to understand what the plot was. If you read this book and understand what he had in mind, please let me know. In my estimation, except for making a few bucks, it is a pointless novel and, except or some of the absurdity of the politicians and disingenuous Will Lee, spending the time reading this is a waste.

Scratch off another writer from my reading list. It seems, like Patterson, the more books they pump out the less value somewhat like out Treasury printing money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anytime I see a book written by Stuart Woods, I purchase it without reading the jacket because I know that it will be a good read with interesting characters and great plot. But I must say, this recent book, Mounting Fears was unfortunately, a total disappointment...It was almost like he didn't write this story himself. It didn't feel like a Stuart Woods book and I actually was so glad when I finished it, I certainly wouldn't pass this book on to friends. Mr. Woods, you can do much better.

Next time, I'm reading the jacket. Pres. Will Lee is a character that Mr. Woods should retire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As most other readers, I enjoy all of Stuart Woods' works. However, this one lacks his usual quick start and remains sluggish through out. Tying up the ends at the finish is quick and dirty giving little justice to the effort getting there. Hopefully this is just an exception and does not become the rule.
Technothriller_Fan More than 1 year ago
Woods¿ starts the story with a presidential nightmare¿a nuclear nightmare. Perhaps the nightmare has something to do with Kate¿s (his wife) rushed departure for Langley in the early morning hours after receiving an urgent phone call. Kate is the director of the CIA. Will Lee, President of the United States, is preparing for the Democratic convention where he expects to be selected as the parties candidate for a second term. A few hours later, Will Lee is giving his staff a pep talk when he is notified that the DCI and DDO are waiting for him in the Oval Office. Trouble in Pakistan¿nuclear trouble. Al-Qaeda has been naughty. The story is off to a very good beginning.

Will Lee has a second problem. His vice president is ill, cancer, and he must quickly find a replacement before the convention. A short list is prepared and quickly pared down to Martin Stanton, the governor of California. Ah, but, in our politically correct world where candidates are scrutinized under an electron microscope, can Stanton pass the ¿smell¿ test? There are two problems: his place of birth and women.

Where was Governor Stanton born? Everyone agrees it was near the Mexican-U.S. border, but on which side? Governor Stanton can¿t say for sure, for he was a little too young to remember. An old radio show began with, ¿Only the Shadow knows.¿ In the story, only the chauffer knows, because Stanton was born in the back seat of a Cadillac on the way from his parents home in Tijuana to a hospital in San Diego. A nefarious person coaches the chauffer on what to say. Will the opposition find out? Stuart Woods has hit a major nerve, one that can be described as ¿grabbed for the headlines.¿ For those who don¿t know, President-elect Obama¿s place of birth is in question.

Stanton¿s place of birth story line had great possibilities, however, Woods let it die at this point. Did Woods know about the pending Obama birth certificate issue when he wrote the book? Woods had to have completed MOUNTING FEARS in 2007, because we discussed the nuclear detonation at a book sighing in January 2008.

Governor Stanton is getting a divorce, and so far there is no other woman on the radar screens. But, is there a second woman? If so, how would she be discovered. This part of the story is well plotted with interesting characters.

Teddy Fay returns, and his adventures provide a good element of the story. Will Teddy always lurking in the shadows of Will Lee¿s world?

While Will Lee and his staff cope with Stanton¿s growing problems, al-Qaeda is busy in Pakistan. Two Pakistani missile site with nuclear warheads are attacked and things get interesting. Lee has to decide whether or not to intervene.

Woods is not a military thriller author, so take the nuclear stuff as fiction. Accurate information pertaining to nukes can be found in THE RINGS OF ALLAH and \ BEHOLD, AN ASHEN HORSE.

My problem with MOUNTING FEARS, and the reason for four stars, is that the ending appeared to be rushed, cut off in order to meet a deadline. All of the subplots were very good, and deserved to be better developed. Writing three books a year, even for a master like Stuart Woods, is a very daunting task. Writing three excellent books even more so.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book lacked luster and direction. The plot was so shallow you could easly guess what was around the next corner. Give us more but put some challenge in it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sad excuse of a Stuart Woods book. While most of his work is mindless, most nonetheless has been entertaining. He misses on the latter in this case. The lack of credible plot and an abundant shallowness that should carry a "do not dive in the shallow end" warning makes one wonder where his ideas come from! Unlike Woods most of the time, it's a book noire but opaquely so. The characters go beyond that in being transparent and not credible. Overall a very, very weak effort - or may be lack thereof!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should have been much better, actually. I knew it was going to be pretty bad when in the first sentence of the book, you meet William Jefferson Lee IV. Woods may have been thinking about an actual president, because the name of his fictional president is William Henry Lee IV. Woods has written an entire book, Chiefs, where the two main characters were William Henry Lee, Jr. and William Henry Lee IV. How he missed this exscapes me. But it's become somewhat routine in his books on the Lees to have some mistakes. By the time Will Lee is running for president, if you do the math you realize that Woods has de-aged Billy and Patricia Lee, Will's parents, by at least ten years. This book, however, isn't really terrible. It just doesn't strike you as one thing or another. It's like an outline for a book that never materialized. Woods wrote my favorite book of all time, "Chiefs", and has written at least two really good follow-ups, "Grass Roots" and "Run Before The Wind." Maybe instead of chucking out several books a year, he should concentrate on one book at a time. Seems to have worked really well for Pat Conroy and Dan Brown.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed most of Stuart Woods' books. This one was alright. I didn't see any purpose in the Pakistan/Nuke storyline. It was just thrown in there. The other storylines were good, with a very quick ending. Overall, just OK. --K--
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the usual characters, Will Lee, Katharine Rule Lee, Lance Cabot, Holly Barker, Teddy Fay ... and some new characters are introduced. The book introduces some interesting political scenarios and questions, I find it thought-provoking considering some real-life political issues at hand. Mr. Woods earlier books use to have some 'resolve' at the end but this one leaves you waiting for more; keeps the series alive. Overall, it is an easy read. If you like Stuart Woods book series, you will enjoy this. His writing style is easy and entertaining; yet thought-provoking for those that wish to go there..... A nice beach / pool read for the summer. Pour yourself a drink and enjoy the fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay, but I definitely enjoy his other series more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago