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The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

3.9 33
by Sidney Sheldon, John Rubinstein (Performed by)

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The Best Laid Plans tells the explosive story of the beautiful and ambitious Leslie Stewart, who learns that for some men power is the greatest aphrodisiac, and of Oliver Russell, the handsome governor of a small southern state, who finds out why hell has no fury like a woman scorned. With the unexpected twists and turns that are the hallmarks of his novels,


The Best Laid Plans tells the explosive story of the beautiful and ambitious Leslie Stewart, who learns that for some men power is the greatest aphrodisiac, and of Oliver Russell, the handsome governor of a small southern state, who finds out why hell has no fury like a woman scorned. With the unexpected twists and turns that are the hallmarks of his novels, Sidney Sheldon spins a tale of two equally determined people headed on a collision course. Oliver has a strategy to win the White House; Leslie has a scheme to make him wish he'd never been born. They both should have known that even the best-laid plans can go dangerously astray...with deadly consequences. The Best Laid Plans takes readers inside two of America's most powerful and ruthless institutions: the world of politics with its scandals, corruption, and cover-ups; and that of newspaper publishing, where it is not unusual to use the power of the press to destroy lives -- or bring down heads of state -- in pursuit of a story or to settle a score.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Washington politics, a jilted woman's revenge and the war in Bosnia plague an idealistic but lecherous president in Sheldon's latest tale of beautiful people, money and deception. On his way up the ladder of success, Oliver Russell breaks his engagement to Leslie Stewart, a stylish, intelligent public relations executive who knows how to nurture a grudge. Leslie marries a rich old man, turns her husband's fortune into a news empire, waits to go after Oliver until he occupies the White House and then hits him with every scandal-ridden headline she can muster. Sheldon ("Morning, Noon, and Night", etc.) peoples his story with familiar yet colorful supporting characters: the old-style back-room politician, the go-getter young journalist, the self-serving spin-doctor. The plot twists will fool very few readers, yet they manage to keep the pages turning, while scenes like the first encounter between the journalist and the Bosnian orphan boy she takes into her care are touching despite their unoriginality. In short, Sheldon once again proves himself the master of the made-for-TV novel. The vindictive heroine, a cross between Katharine Graham and Farrah Fawcett, provides the one special element that sets this work apart from other easily read and easily forgotten fiction by this eternally bestselling writer. Literary Guild selection.
Library Journal
A power-hungry Southern governor and his scorned lover collide in this latest from the ever-popular Sheldon.
Venture too far into 'Plans', you'll probably be up late flipping pages.
New York Daily News
When you want a novel you simply cannot put down, go to Sheldon.
Kirkus Reviews
Schlockmeister Sheldon ("Morning, Noon and Night", 1995, etc.) outdoes himself with an overcharged (albeit eminently readable) tale about a randy American president and the vengeful newspaper heiress he done wrong.

Leslie Stewart, a brainy and beauteous ad agency exec, falls hard for a handsome client, attorney Oliver Russell, whose campaign for the governorship of Kentucky began foundering when he lost the support of Senator Todd Davis after two-timing Davis's daughter Jan. The crafty, powerful lawmaker soon engineers a reconciliation between Jan and Oliver, who unhesitatingly sacrifices Leslie on the altar of his political ambition. In short order, the happy pair find themselves the Bluegrass State's first couple while embittered Leslie heads to Arizona, where she eventually becomes the trophy wife of wealthy businessman Henry Chambers. Henry obligingly dies two years later, freeing Leslie to expand his media holdings in aid of her obsessive desire to get even with the inconstant Oliver. Years later, as the Russells are moving into the White House, the vindictive publisher acquires influential newspaper/television outlets in D.C., which she uses to rake up old scandals that put her erstwhile lover in a bad light. Further disclosures of adultery, murder, and other high crimes have the embattled chief executive on the ropes. In a startling reversal of fortune, however, the true villain of the piece is exposed on live TV, leaving Leslie with egg and more on her lovely face, and allowing Oliver to pursue a semi-noble agenda calculated to bring peace to the Middle East.

A twisty yarn with few real surprises: Sheldon continues to exploit his special talent for getting down and dirty with the high and mighty.

Product Details

NewStar Media, Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 7.03(h) x 0.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

The first entry in Leslie Stewarts diary read:

Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am going tomarry.

It was a simple, optimistic statement, with not theslightest portent of the dramatic chain of events that was aboutto occur.

It was one of those rare, serendipitous days when nothingcould go wrong, when nothing would dare go wrong. LeslieStewart had no interest in astrology, but that morning, as she was leafing through the Lexington Herald-Leader, a horoscope in an astrology column by Zoltaire caught her eye. Itread:


Be prepared to enjoy what? Leslie thought wryly. Today wasgoing to be like every other day. Astrology was nonsense, mindcandy for fools.

Leslie Stewart was a public relations and advertising executive at the Lexington, Kentucky, firm of Bailey & Tomkins.She had three meetings scheduled for that afternoon, the firstwith the Kentucky Fertilizer Company, whose executives wereexcited about the new campaign she was working up for them.They especially liked its beginning: If you want to smell theroses... The second meeting was with the Breeders StudFarm, and the third with the Lexington Coal Company. Red-letter day?

In her late twenties, with a slim, provocative figure, Leslie Stewart had an exciting, exotic look; gray, sloe eyes, high cheekbones, and soft, honey-colored hair, which she wore long and elegantly simple. A friend of Leslies had once told her,If youre beautiful and have a brain and a vagina, you can own the world.

Leslie Stewart was beautiful and had an IQ of 170, andnature had taken care of the rest. But she found her looks a disadvantage. Men were constantly propositioning her or proposing, but few of them bothered to try really to get to know her.

Aside from the two secretaries who worked at Bailey &Tomkins, Leslie was the only woman there. There were fifteenmale employees. It had taken Leslie less than a week to learnthat she was more intelligent than any of them. It was a discovery she decided to keep to herself.

In the beginning, both partners, Jim Bailey, an overweight, soft-spoken man in his forties, and Al Tomkins, anorexic and hyper, ten years younger than Bailey, individuallytried to talk Leslie into going to bed with them.

She had stopped them very simply. Ask me once more,and Ill quit.

That had put an end to that. Leslie was too valuable anemployee to lose.

Her first week on the job, during a coffee break, Lesliehad told her fellow employees a joke.

Three men came across a female genie who promised togrant each one a wish. The first man said, I wish I weretwenty-five percent smarter. The genie blinked, and the mansaid, Hey, I feel smarter already.

The second man said, I wish I were fifty percentsmarter. The genie blinked, and the man exclaimed, Thats wonderful! I think I know things now that I didnt know before.

The third man said, Id like to be one hundred percentsmarter.

So the genie blinked, and the man changed into awoman.

Leslie looked expectantly at the men at the table. Theywere all staring at her, unamused.

Point taken.

The red-letter day that the astrologer had promised began ateleven oclock that morning. Jim Bailey walked into Lesliestiny, cramped office.

We have a new client, he announced. I want you totake charge.

She was already handling more accounts than anyone elseat the firm, but she knew better than to protest.

Fine, she said. What is it?

Its not a what, its a who. Youve heard of Oliver Russell,of course?

Everyone had heard of Oliver Russell. A local attorney andcandidate for governor, he had his face on billboards all overKentucky. With his brilliant legal record, he was considered, atthirty-five, the most eligible bachelor in the state. He was onall the talk shows on the major television stations in LexingtonWDKY, WTVQ, WKYTand on the popular local radiostations, WKQQ and WLRO. Strikingly handsome, with black, unruly hair, dark eyes, an athletic build, and a warm smile, hehad the reputation of having slept with most of the ladies inLexington.

Yes, Ive heard of him. What are we going to do forhim?

Were going to try to help turn him into the governor ofKentucky. Hes on his way here now.

Oliver Russell arrived a few minutes later. He was even moreattractive in person than in his photographs.

When he was introduced to Leslie, he smiled warmly.Ive heard a lot about you. Im so glad youre going to handlemy campaign.

He was not at all what Leslie had expected. There was acompletely disarming sincerity about the man. For a moment,Leslie was at a loss for words.

Ithank you. Please sit down.

Oliver Russell took a seat.

Lets start at the beginning, Leslie suggested. Why areyou running for governor?

Its very simple. Kentuckys a wonderful state. We knowit is, because we live here, and were able to enjoy its magicbut much of the country thinks of us as a bunch of hillbillies.I want to change that image. Kentucky has more to offer thana dozen other states combined. The history of this country began here. We have one of the oldest capitol buildings in America. Kentucky gave this country two presidents. Its the land of Daniel Boone and Kit Carson and Judge Roy Bean. We havethe most beautiful scenery in the worldexciting caves, rivers,bluegrass fieldseverything. I want to open all that up to therest of the world.

He spoke with a deep conviction, and Leslie found herselfstrongly drawn to him. She thought of the astrology column. The new moon illuminates your love life. Today will be a red-letterday. Be prepared to enjoy it.

Oliver Russell was saying, The campaign wont work unless you believe in this as strongly as I do.

I do, Leslie said quickly. Too quickly? Im really looking forward to this. She hesitated a moment. May I ask youa question?


Whats your birth sign?


After Oliver Russell left, Leslie went into Jim Baileys office. Ilike him, she said. Hes sincere. He really cares. I think hedmake a fine governor.

Jim looked at her thoughtfully. Its not going to be easy.

She looked at him, puzzled. Oh? Why?

Bailey shrugged. Im not sure. Theres something goingon that I cant explain. Youve seen Russell on all the billboardsand on television?


Well, thats stopped.

I dont understand. Why?

No one knows for certain, but there are a lot of strangerumors. One of the rumors is that someone was backing Russell, putting up all the money for his campaign, and then forsome reason suddenly dropped him.

In the middle of a campaign he was winning? Thatdoesnt make sense, Jim.

I know.

Why did he come to us?

He really wants this. I think hes ambitious. And he feelshe can make a difference. He would like us to figure out acampaign that wont cost him a lot of money. He cant affordto buy any more airtime or do much advertising. All we canreally do for him is to arrange interviews, plant newspaper articles, that sort of thing. He shook his head. Governor Addison is spending a fortune on his campaign. In the last two weeks, Russells gone way down in the polls. Its a shame. Hesa good lawyer. Does a lot of pro bono work. I think hed makea good governor, too.

That night Leslie made her first note in her new diary.

Dear Diary: This morning I met the man I am going tomarry.

Copyright ) 1997 by The Sidney Sheldon Family Limited Partnership

Meet the Author

The late novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world's top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. Are You Afraid of the Dark? is his most recent in a long line of huge bestsellers. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar. The Guinness Book of World Records heralds him as the most translated author in the world.

Brief Biography

Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
February 11, 1917
Date of Death:
January 30, 2007
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Northwestern University, 1935-36

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Best Laid Plans 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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I have read this twice which i almost never do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this years ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. I thought i had it all figured out, but I should have known better. Love the way Mr. Sheldon wrote. A constant surprise. Always captivating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love the plot and admired the author
MsTiptress More than 1 year ago
The beginning was slow. Too many pieces were being put together out of nowhere. But very nice twists and turns as always Sidney delivers on tales from the Corrupt. Another tale of fame, fortune, murder, and revenge. This one was a little harder to guess the "whodunit".ust when I thought everything was coming to an end Wham, I was slapped across the face with more intriguing twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I didn't see the twist at the end coming and absolutely loved it. Great book! --K--
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i bought this book i think more than months ago and since it was an old book, i concentrated on new ones first. it's a good thing that i read it because this is a good book with a lot of twist, though less action and a little bit of fun. i was flat on my stomach then suddenly standing upright then sit after. i guess i moved a lot in my room while reading this. I highly recommend this book and more than my thumbs up for mr. sheldon
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow,this is the first of his novels that i have read and i loved it.So many twist and turns,a book you will remeeber.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very good but could have been better with more action
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book when it came out...i love it more reading it for the second time... :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very fast, engrossing read. However, by the last fifty pages, I was prepared to be seriously unimpressed by the story as a whole. I was wrong. The ending is completely unpredictable. I even went back and read a few scenes to see if it fit with everything that had happened previously. It does. Great work. Could be five star material if the plot and characters were a little more original.