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The Run (Will Lee Series #4)

The Run (Will Lee Series #4)

3.1 24
by Stuart Woods

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A respected senator from Georgia, Will Lee has loftier aspirations. But a cruel stroke of fate thrusts him onto the national stage unexpectedly, and long before he's ready for a national campaign.

The road to the White House will be more treacherous—and deadly—than Will can imagine. A courageous and principled man thrust into the spotlight, he


A respected senator from Georgia, Will Lee has loftier aspirations. But a cruel stroke of fate thrusts him onto the national stage unexpectedly, and long before he's ready for a national campaign.

The road to the White House will be more treacherous—and deadly—than Will can imagine. A courageous and principled man thrust into the spotlight, he suddenly finds himself the target of clandestine enemies who will use all their money and influence to stop him . . . dead.

Now Will Lee isn't just running for president, he's running for his life.

Editorial Reviews


As I've mentioned before, Stuart Woods started his career at the top. Not necessarily in terms of sales or recognition, but certainly in terms of ambition and achievement.

Chiefs, a murder story that spans three generations in the American South, is just about as good as crime fiction gets. I can't think of another historical crime novelist, in fact, who takes the chances Woods does with this one. And he pulls them off.

In some ways, Woods's latest novel, The Run, returns to his roots, involving as it does the Lee family of both Run Before the Wind and Grass Roots. If this novel doesn't have the depth of the former or the sheer brute passion of the latter, it is nonetheless a quick, clever, and shrewd take on our political system involving a vice president with Alzheimer's and a comatose president. Not exactly a slow news day.

Our hero, and the man who must decide how to steer a course through these turbulent and muddy waters, is Senator Will Lee, who wants to be president himself. He has some tough decisions to make. Woods is particularly good at showing us the mixture of ego, cunning, and fear that goes into making the kind of decision that can end a political career if the least thing goes wrong. Talk about night sweats.

Woods has spent the last several years writing popcorn thrillers of a very high order. Lots of cliffhangers, lots of glitz, lots of derring-do. If you think making these things work is easy, try it sometime. Woods is an adroit craftsman.

The Run combines some of the dark introspection of Grass Roots with the dash of the recent thrillers. The fusion is a fetching one; it turns into one hell of a good read, and a very serious look at the fragile state of our political system now that it has been turned over to consultants and talking heads.

A very enjoyable and accomplished book.

—Ed Gorman

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
From best-selling author Woods, comes a "lively political potboiler" featuring a presidential hopeful, a web of "venal politicians, cult crazies, and moral conundrums, all pitched at the reader with masterful timing." "A perfect election-year beach read." A sole dissenting reviewer called it a "good read, but doesn't quite reach the boiling point."
Chicago Tribune
Woods is a no-nonsense, slam-bang storyteller.
Boston Globe
He tells a terrific yarn.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If at times a bit unbelievable, Wood's account of an idealistic politician's presidential campaign moves quickly and provides readers with many intriguing plot twists. By unusual circumstance, Will Lee, a well-respected senator from Georgia, is thrown into a run for the United States presidency. Though Will remains courageously true to his principles as campaign staffers cobble together his strategy, the path to the presidency proves fraught with difficulties and danger. For, in addition to unscrupulous political adversaries, Will must contend with an affair from 10 years past and an assassin from a right-wing militia group. Howard fluctuates between reading the story straight and acting out its characters. This is not a problem, however, as his pacing is superb and his deep voice is the perfect timbre for this suspenseful tale. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 24). (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
From Chiefs to Grass Roots to The Run: popular Woods protagonist Sen. Will Lee gets ready for the presidency. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
—Thomas Davis, Arizona State University, Tempe
Kirkus Reviews
Woods, most often seen recently in the company of lawyer/sleuth/adventurer Stone Barrington (Worst Fears Realized, 1999, etc.), pushes the scion of the Lee family (Grass Roots, 1990 paperback) into a run for the presidency. It happens like this: Vice President Joseph Adams, the presumptive Democratic nominee, secretly tells Georgia Senator William Henry Lee IV that he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and plans to withdraw from the race in Will's favor, if only the senator will run. Will agrees—but before he can announce, a stroke sends the sitting president into a coma and Joe Adams into the White House as an acting president determined not to endorse anybody till after the conventions. But even before you realize that Woods's juicy premise was nothing but an excuse to get his principled hero into a national race despite his scruples, the subplots have started to kick in. A former mole put away by Will's wife Kate, CIA deputy director, offers his secret support in return for a forthcoming presidential pardon. A conservative South Carolina Republican begins a smear campaign designed to insure that Sen. George Kiel takes the nomination away from Will so that he can lose the election to the GOP. A long-buried scandal from Will's past erupts when he refuses the request of his onetime lover, movie star Charlene Joiner, to file a Death Row appeal on behalf of a murderous rapist he unsuccessfully defended, and the rapist accuses him of incompetence. Even if Will gets past all the obstacles Woods has strewn in his path, there's still the survivalist who tried to kill him years ago, and is happy to try again. The result is the most unnuanced, evenclueless,political thriller you'll read all year. On the plus side, Woods's trademark characters, unsurprising and banal, fit perfectly into their roles as political candidates and advisors. Maybe there's some insight here after all.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Will Lee Series , #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Run

Chapter One

United States Senator William Henry Lee IV and his wife, Katharine Rule Lee, drove away from their Georgetown house in their Chevrolet Suburban early on a December morning. There was the promise of snow in the air.

Kate sipped coffee from an insulated mug and yawned. "Tell me again why we drive this enormous fucking car," she said.

Will laughed. "I keep forgetting you're not a politician," he said. "We drive it because it is, by my reckoning, the least offensive motor vehicle manufactured in the state of Georgia, and because Georgia car workers and their union have shown the great wisdom to support your husband's candidacy in two elections."

"Oh," she said. "Now I remember."

"Good. I'm glad I won't have to put you in a home right before Christmas." He looked in the rearview mirror and saw another Suburban following them. "They're there," he said.

"They're supposed to be."

"How did they know?"

"Because I called them last night and gave them our schedule."

The week before there had been a terrorist attack on CIA employees as they had left the Agency's building in McLean, Virginia, and certain Agency officials had been given personal protection for a time; Kate Rule was the deputy director for Intelligence, chief of all the CIA's analysts, and was, therefore, entitled.

"Oh," Will replied, sipping his own coffee and heading north toward College Park, Maryland, and its airport. "They're not going to follow us all the way to Georgia, are they?"

"I persuaded them that wouldn't be necessary."


"It's a little like having Secret Service protection, isn't it?" she nudged. "Does it make you feel presidential?"

"Nothing is going to make me feel presidential, at least for another nine years."

"What about the cabinet? If Joe Adams is elected and wants you for Defense or State or something, will you leave the Senate?"

Joseph Adams was vice president of the United States and the way-out-in-front leader for the Demo-cratic Party's nomination for president the following year. "Joe and I have already talked about that. He says I can have anything I want, but he doesn't really mean it."

"I always thought Joe was a pretty sincere guy," Kate said.

"Oh, he is, and he was sincere with the half-dozen other guys he told the same thing. But I don't really have the foreign-policy credentials for State, and while I think I really could have Defense, I don't want it. I don't want to spend eight or even four years doing battle with both the military and Congress; the job killed James Forrestal and Les Aspin, and it's ground up a lot of others."

"What about Justice? Your work on the Senate Judiciary Committee should stand you in good stead for that."

"I think I could have Justice, if I were willing to fight for it tooth and nail, and there's a real opportunity to do some good work there."


"I think I'll stay in the Senate. Georgia's got a Republican governor at the moment, and if I left, he'd get to appoint my replacement, and we don't want that. Also, if Joe's elected, three or four top senators will leave to join the administration, among them the minority leader, and I'd have a real good shot at that job. And if we can win the Senate back, then the job would be majority leader, and that is very inviting."

"It's the kind of job you could keep for the rest of your career," she said.

"It is."

"But you don't want to spend the rest of your career in the Senate, do you?"

"You know I love the Senate."

"Will, you've been awfully closemouthed about this, but I know damned well you want to be president."

"One of these days, sure," Will replied.

"You mean after Joe has served for eight years?"

"I'd only be fifty-seven. Why not? I might even appoint you director of Central Intelligence."

"Yeah, sure," she said. "The world would fall on you."

"If Jack Kennedy could appoint Bobby attorney general, why couldn't I appoint my wife to be head of the CIA?"

"Well, it's a nice thought, anyway," she said.

"Listen, here's a thought; Joe's going to owe me after the election, and if I'm not going to ask him for a cabinet job, I could ask him to appoint you DCI."

"Would you really do that?"

"Let's just say that I know the candidate well and have the highest confidence in her. It's not as though you're not supremely well qualified."

"Mmmmm. I like the sound of it."

"Of course, I'd want my back scratched a lot if I pull this off, and I mean that in the literal, not the figurative sense."

"I'll start growing my nails now." She laughed.

"Promises, promises."

"I think about it sometimes," she said.

"Scratching my back? Less thought, more action!"

"No, I mean your being president."

"And what do you think when you think about it?"

"Mostly about what a huge pain in the ass being first lady would be."

"Oh, it might have its up side—weekends at Camp David, travel on Air Force One, that sort of thing."

"I'd have to make a lot of speeches, and you know how I hate doing that."

"Well, how about this? If Joe has already appointed you DCI, I could reappoint you. Then I could hire a first lady."

"Just run an ad, you mean?"

"Why not?"

"Well, I must admit, the idea of being appointed and then reappointed has its appeal, but the substitute wife doesn't."

"I'm glad to hear it." Will turned into the entrance of the little airport at College Park, which had been founded by the Wright Brothers and was located on the grounds of the University of Maryland. He drove down the taxiway to where his airplane was tied down, got out of the car, and unlocked the cabin door. The airplane was new, a Piper Malibu-Mirage, a six-seat, pressurized single-engine aircraft, loaded with the latest equipment. Will had traded his elderly Cessna for it a couple of months before, and it made trips back to Georgia a lot faster and more comfortable.

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

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods is the author of more than forty novels, including the New York Times bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series. An avid sailor and pilot, he 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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Run 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
ginnyPA More than 1 year ago
enjoyed it very much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first read of a Stuart Woods novel was a disappointment. Little more than a thinly veiled political polemic, this one wasn't even written well or with much care. My first Woods novel will be my last.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Stuart Woods...Stone Barrington series is wonderful, and the first couple books in the Will Lee series seemed great. However, this series has degenerated into little more than a platform for republican bashing and Mr. Woods political beliefs. It's a shame he can't just continue to write good books and leave the rest to the politicians! I'll always be back for Stone, but I don't know that I'll be bothering with any more of his series in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just started reading Woods' books this year and have taken on all of them. My best are the Stone Barrington series. I enjoy the Run but was looking for more twists and turns. Will lee was too much of an untarnished political hero, he practically had the Presendency handed to him on a gold platter. A bit more work needed with the plotting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all I should state that I am a dedicated Stuart Woods reader. I have read and enjoyed all of his previous novels. However, The Run is a novel in which Author Woods uses fictional characters to promote his political opinions. The good guys are the current Democratic Vice-President and the front runners for the Democratic nomination, Senator George Kiel and the main character Democratic Senator Will Lee. The bad guys are: 1) The Republican Govenor of GA - He commuted the sentence of a rapist after sleeping with the prisoner's former girlfriend. Her previous affair with Senator Will Lee when he was her boyfriend's lawyer appears to be of little ethical consequence. 2) A Republican Senator from South Carolina who had two illegitimate black children with his secret mistress. 3) Republican Senator Efton who opposed Senator Will Lee. In the final chapter Author Woods states that 'He (new Democratic President Will Lee) has a twenty-two vote majority in the House of Representatives, a result he knew, of the reaction of voters to the disgraceful Republican conduct of the Clinton-impeachment proceedings.' There is nothing wrong with writing a political biased book but let it be clearly stated so that those of us who disagree with Democratic liberal ideals can pass and wait for the next Stone Barrington Novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big Woods fan, but this one left me feeling betrayed. The book has none of the great style that is Wood's trademark, and seems as if it was thrown together over the weekend to make it on the shelves for this election. Wood's political views color every page using spin we've been hearing for the past 7 years, and it is indeed wearing thin. I won't forget this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently redisovered Stuart Woods and I'm very happy that I did. The Run is a first rate, suspense-filled novel which brings back one of my favorite characters -- Will Lee. It grabbed me from the first sentence and held me all the way to its exciting end. One of the best political suspense novels I've read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to get a new Stuart Woods book to read. I couldn't be more disappointed. No twists and turns and excitement that most of Mr. Woods books have had.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have any interest in politics, you'll love this latest work by Stuart Woods. As jaded as we get about slimy politicos, we keep hoping for a real candidate like Will Lee, with very few skeletons in his closet. The stalking of Lee by a right-wing extremist is very believable, and it is gratifying to see Lee's wife Kate stand by him through thick and thin. All in all, Woods hits the political nail on the head! (By the way, does anyone know if Stuart Woods is related to Caroline Woods, the 16-year-old author or HAUNTED DELAWARE? With such incredible talent at such a young age, I thought there must be a connection.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who likes Stuart Woods at all just has to love this book. It keeps you up on the Lee family and also has an air of suspense as to just what will happen next as Will Lee is almost forced to run for president before he wants to. I love the way that he has brought some characters from some of his other books into this. It brings them back to the front of your mind and that is like having old friends around again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, the fourth with this line of characters from the Lee family, was not up to the standards we are used to in Stuart Woods' books. There was no tension in it, a lot of loose ends and far too much of the author's personal political beliefs. Most characters had little depth to their personalities... many of the readers who are familiar with this series of books might not have as much of a problem as a first time reader would in developing some rapport with Will Lee and his family. THE RUN barely skips the surface.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt compelled to write a review of The Run after reading several reviews of Worst Fears Realized where readers claimed that Mr. Woods was losing it, and not writing as well as he has in the past. I was fortunate enough to have gotten a copy of The Run several weeks before its release to the public. (I have an issue with waiting.) For those that claim Mr. Woods is not writing up to par, you MUST read The Run. He is at his very best here, and I believe he is setting us up for something wonderful in the future. In the Run, Mr. Woods uses characters from other stories (Swimming to Catalina, Grass Roots) and incorporates then into The Run. Something is brewing and I can't wait to find out what it is! (perhaps we will find out in L.A. Dead?) Thanks Mr Woods, I had a blast!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Will Lee (a character introduced in the novels 'Run Before The Wind' and 'Grassroots') returns. Will is now a senator in Georgia with hopes of one day running for president, until fate pushes him closer to his dream. This opportunity comes too soon, and as Will begins his campaign, he will learn there are people behind closed doors looking to destroy him. Stuart Woods has created a suspenseful political thriller, that will keep you turning the pages. I finished the book in one sitting. Great entertainment!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Everyone in the Democratic Party assumes Vice President Joseph Adams will be the nominee to replace the current incumbent. However, Joe does not plan to run as he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer¿s. He asks highly regarded Georgia Democratic Senator William Henry Lee IV to make a run for the presidency and he will publicly support him. Though he has some doubts as he fears to be elected he will have to give up much of his ethics, William decides to run. However, the current PROTUS suffers a stroke and Adams as acting president delays his support.

Will¿s primary run is filled with nastiness even as he and his campaign team take the moral high road. A South Carolina Republican arranges a dirty campaign to insure unelectable Senator Kiel becomes the Democratic nominee. Will¿s past ignites headlines when his lover from ten years ago movie star Charlene Joiner demands he file a Death Row appeal on behalf of a murderous rapist he once defended; both try to pressure him to acquiesce to their wishes. Even his wife, the Deputy CIA Director¿s past, intrudes on the run. Finally an assassin who failed to kill him years ago is back for a second attempt.

Though the timing is a bit late as the campaign is over, the reprint of this exciting political thriller remains a fun read even if Will¿s run for PROTUS goes off the plausibility scale; than again when Obama started he was even further off the scale. Will is an intriguing lead character as he insists on an ethical run though his staff places their values on what that means; while his stereotypical opponents prefer disinformation taking events out of context. Although health enables Will to run was also used in GRASS ROOTS to make him a senator, fans of Stuart Wood¿s Lee saga will enjoy his presidential campaign.

Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was expecting more intrigue from a plot that had a president on his death bed and a vice president in the early stages of mental illness. The ending had a little too much of a "they lived happily ever after" theme.