Holly Barker knows that a good police chief is always on duty, but she expected that her wedding day would be an exception. When a bank robbery (and a murder, to boot) occur not far from her wedding, Holly searches for the culprits with a sense of vengeance. Another bouquet-worthy novel in the Orchid series.
This second thriller in the series Woods inaugurated with Orchid Beach starts with a bang a literal one. While series heroine Holly Barker, a former military police commander turned police chief of smalltown Orchid Beach, Fla., waits at the local courthouse to marry lawyer Jackson Oxenhandler, her fianc? gets himself killed in a shoot-out at Orchid Beach's bank. Once past this shocker of an opening, the thrills quickly deflate. Holly stifles a few sobs, gets back into uniform and sets off to track down the gunmen, a gang of highly organized robbers who planned to heist $4 million in payroll cash. It soon becomes clear that they aren't ordinary robbers, however, appearing to have some connection to a weird little town in a neighboring county, where the average resident is white, male and a gun nut. In the course of his meandering tale, Woods deepens his portraits of Holly and her father, Ham, a retired army noncom, and dog lovers should enjoy the antics of Daisy, the Doberman diva who is Holly's constant companion. Stone Barrington, the cop-turned-lawyer from such Woods bestsellers as L.A. Dead, makes a couple of important cameo appearances. But pages of lifeless dialogue and too much dead air in an already thin narrative eventually stifle most of the book's energy. Woods knows how law enforcement agencies from local cop shops to the Secret Service work, and his action scenes are clean and sharp. But in between there are a lot of empty spaces. 16-city author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Readers Dick Hill and Susie Breck bring excellent talent to this thrilling audio account of Woods's novel, which features Holly Barker, a retired Army Military Police Battalion Commander, now the police chief of Orchard Beach, FL, and her father, Ham. When Holly's fianc is killed as an innocent bystander in a bank robbery pulled off by a highly trained and well organized band of thieves, her world is shattered. With Ham, a retired Army Special Forces master sergeant, she investigates the crime and works with an FBI contact, Harry Crisp. Their prime suspects are part of a large, well-armed national organization of neo-Nazi types that has set up an operation in the Florida swamplands not too far from her town. Ham goes undercover to infiltrate the organization while Holly and the FBI wait to take appropriate action. The plot takes several twists, and the suspense is excellent, ending in an exciting standoff at a Miami hotel and a remote airport. The different voices used by the narrators to bring forth each character add to this entertaining experience. A good choice for library users who are about to take a long and monotonous road trip. Recommended. Steven J. Mayover, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
How could Florida's Orchid Beach Police Chief Holly Barker outdo her action-packed debut (Orchid Beach, 1998)? By losing her bridegroom to the lunatic terrorists who, having failed to kill presidential candidate William Henry Lee in The Run (2000), are trying again now that he's been elected. En route to his wedding to Holly, Jackson Oxenhandler visits a branch of Southern Trust just in time to stop a shotgun blast an otherwise highly professional robber fires against his chief's orders. (Readers who take this as a clue to some deeper design don't know Woods very well.) Luckily, though improbably, Jackson's spent his last few minutes chatting with visiting Woods superhero Stone Barrington (Cold Paradise, p. 289, etc.), who's able to give Holly some wonderfully precise descriptions of the four robbers. A check on the branch's recent hires reveals another amazing coincidence. Two separate employees seem to have been in cahoots with the misguided patriots calling themselves The Elect, one to provide inside dope for the robbery, the other to embezzle funds for the sort of large-bore weapons Holly and her dad Ham stumble on when their attempt to trace a vanished teller brings them to a major-league gun show run by a cadre of survivalists so impressed with Ham's Army pedigree and delivery of terms like "Desert Storm" and "Vietnam" that they take him to their bosom. It's Ham, groomed as a sharpshooting assassin by The Elect, who emerges as the real star of the show, as the lame whodunit disappears with no more trace than Holly's grief for the fiance she lost on their wedding day, leaving a standard anti-terrorist tale that's a custom fit for Woods's comic-strip approach to character. Saturdaymatinee fodder that'll keep you turning pages faster than an Elect recruit can field-strip a sidearm-though it'll help if your own capacity for critical reflection is just as low. Author tour
Praise for Orchid Blues
“Punchy...engaging...genuinely suspenseful...Holly and Ham are engaging...with a lot of gumption and tough-talking banter between them.”—The New York Times
“Starts with a bang...his action scenes are clean and sharp.”—Publishers Weekly
“Fast paced and exciting...sure to please his fans.”—Booklist
“[Will] keep you turning pages.”—Kirkus Reviews
More Praise for Stuart Woods
“Stuart Woods is a no-nonsense, slam-bang storyteller.”—Chicago Tribune
“A world-class mystery writer...I try to put Woods’s books down and I can’t.”—Houston Chronicle
“Mr. Woods, like his characters, has an appealing way of making things nice and clear.”—The New York Times
“Woods certainly knows how to keep the pages turning.”—Booklist
“Since 1981, readers have not been able to get their fill of Stuart Woods’ New York Times bestselling novels of suspense.”—Orlando Sentinel