Under the Lake

( 8 )

Overview

John Howell, a former investigative journalist trying to escape from his past, finds a perfect sanctuary in a lakeside home in the North Georgia mountains. But little does he realize the town harbors a dark and evil secret, hidden deep within the lake's waters...

A fascinating cast of characters comes together in a remote Georgia town: a burnt-out reporter, a passionate young woman from an outcast family, a lawman guilty of crimes of his own, and a ruthless ...

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Under the Lake

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Overview

John Howell, a former investigative journalist trying to escape from his past, finds a perfect sanctuary in a lakeside home in the North Georgia mountains. But little does he realize the town harbors a dark and evil secret, hidden deep within the lake's waters...

A fascinating cast of characters comes together in a remote Georgia town: a burnt-out reporter, a passionate young woman from an outcast family, a lawman guilty of crimes of his own, and a ruthless power-broker with no respect for human life. A web of lies, obsessions and dark deceit draws them toward a chilling confrontation with the truth Under the Lake.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen King
Part detective story, part ghost story, part Southern gothic. . . . It scared the living hell out of me!
Andrew Greeley
A marvelous book. . . . One of the best I've read in a long, long time.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Edgar Award-winning author of Chiefs (basis of a TV miniseries) and the bestselling Deep Lie now offers a highly readable if somewhat overheated thriller-cum-gothic that includes murder, drug smuggling, faith healing, hallucinations, revenants and incest. A one-time ace reporter rents a cabin in a backwoods Georgia town, then stumbles upon and determines to solve the town mystery, which involves a seemingly affable sheriff, an autocratic town father and an incest-ridden family whose once-prosperous farm now lies under a lake. He joins forces with a plucky female reporter bent on proving that the sheriff is ``dirty,'' and there's never a dull moment as the story surges toward its exciting climax. The conclusion is a little too far-fetchedbut by that time readers have had more than their money's worth. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (May 18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451233462
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 265,292
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods

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.

Biography

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

Chapter One

John Howell stirred to the sound of a familiar voice. Elisha Cook, Jr., he registered immediately. He kept his eyes shut and listened to the next voice. Sidney Greenstreet. He had the scene before Bogart even spoke: The Maltese Falcon and Bogart had just been drugged. Howell sat up and, throwing up a hand against the morning sunlight, stared at the television set in disgust. The Maltese Falcon was a midnight, not a mid-morning movie. Where did these people come off putting a black movie like that on at ten o'clock in the morning? Probably some post-grad Bogart freak of a programmer at the station. He should be waking up to I Love Lucy reruns, not The Maltese Falcon. What was the world coming to? There was no sense of fitness, of propriety, anymore.

He looked about him at the seedy room above the garage. It was a mess, as usual; manuscript paper scattered over the desk and floor; the typewriter, its keys dusty from disuse, waiting. The sight of it filled him with the nameless dread that seemed to start most of his days lately. The inside of his mouth felt like the inside of his head; swollen, inflamed, dirty. There was an empty Jack Daniel's bottle and a second, one-third empty, on the desk next to the typewriter, silent evidence of the origin of his condition. No, not the origin, just a symptom. The origin was harder to pin down, required more thought than Howell felt able to muster. He fixed his mind on the only thing that would move him off the old leather sofa and get him into the house: a toothbrush. He would kill for a toothbrush.

He squinted to bring hiswristwatch into focus: eleven fifteen. Shit, he had an appointment at noon. He struggled upright, slipped his feet into his sneakers, grabbed the empty bourbon bottle and headed for the house, dropping the bottle into a trash can next to the back door. He didn't want the maid picking up empties.

"Afternoon, Mr. Howell" the maid said dryly as he passed through the kitchen. Bitch. He didn't need that from her. He ran up the stairs to the bedroom. She had left it pin neat, the maid wouldn't have to lift a finger. He dug a suit out of his dressing room, flung it on the bed, brushed his teeth violently for two minutes, then dove into a hot shower.

Forty-five minutes later, miraculously on time, he sat flipping idly through the pages of Poultry Month magazine and wondering what the hell he was doing there. The reception room was a perfectly normal, even tasteful one, with plush carpets, leather furniture and decent art. Only the seven-foot-high fiberglass chicken seemed out of place.

The phone on the reception desk buzzed, and the young woman lifted it and turned toward Howell. "Mr. Pitts will see you now," she said. She rose and opened the office door for him.

Lurton Pitts came at him from behind the huge desk like a baseball manager comes at an umpire after a questionable call. Only at the moment his hand shot out did the man smile. "John...can I call you John? I'm awful glad to meet you. I've admired your work for an awful long time, I can tell you. I've been reading your stuff ever since you won the Pulitzer Prize for the stories about those murders. I read your book about it, too. Fine stuff, that was."

"Well, thanks, Mr. Pitts."

"Call me Lurton, son, everybody does. Can we get you a glass of iced tea or something?"

Howell supposed that a man who had on his office wall a warmly autographed photograph of himself with the Reverend Jerry Falwell would not have a bar in the same office. "No thanks, I'm just fine, uh...Lurton."

"Good, good," Pitts said, directing him toward a chair and circling the desk to find his own. "I'm grateful to Denham White for arranging this meeting. I know how valuable your time is, and I'll get right to the point. What do you know about me, John?"

"Well, only what I read in the papers, I guess." Howell knew that the man had over a thousand Little Chickie fried chicken parlors all over the country, that he was the quintessential self-made man, and that he espoused causes and gave money to charities and officeholders that were all over the political ball park, from far right to far left field. It was hard to get a fix on Lurton Pitts.

"I've had a rewarding life," Pitts said, leaning back in his high-backed leather chair and gazing out over the Atlanta skyline. "My daddy was a one-mule fanner until I showed him how to get in the chicken-raising business. I was fourteen when I figured that out. By the time I was twenty-one I was the biggest chicken farmer in the state. I opened my first Little Chickie that year, too. It's grown by leaps and bounds, and I don't mind telling you we're snapping at Colonel Sanders's ass, if you'll pardon the expression."

"Mmmm," Howell said. He couldn't think of anything else to say. Why was he here?

"But my interests have always been broader than the chicken business," Pitts continued. "I'm interested in foreign relations; bet you didn't know that."

"Nope" Howell replied, trying not to giggle.

Pitts leaned forward and fixed Howell with an intense gaze. "John, can I confide in you?"

"Oh, sure" This was some bizarre joke of Denham White's. He would arrive at lunch and there would be six guys around a table, drinking martinis and speechless with laughter. He tried to think of some graceful way just to leave, but failed.

Under the Lake. Copyright © by Stuart Woods. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    Predictable

    Just like the three star rating says.... Okay, but not great. It was the first time I've read anything by Stuart Woods and if this, as other reviews suggest, is his best I probably will not try another. His characters are interesting but story line was very predictable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2001

    This is my favorite stuart woods novel

    You won't be able to put this one down. A great read for mystery fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    Best of Stuart Woods

    The best Stuart Woods Novel I have yet to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

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    Posted June 2, 2013

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    Posted December 30, 2012

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    Posted March 9, 2009

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    Posted March 5, 2013

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