Riding the Snake

Riding the Snake

by Stephen J Cannell

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Riding the Snake by Stephen J Cannell

Wheeler Cassidy, charming prankster and scion of a wealthy Beverly Hills family, has never done much with his life except play golf, drink, and seduce other men's wives. But after his politically connected brother's mysterious death, Wheeler embarks on a perilous journey to find himself and the Chinese gangsters who murdered the only member of his family he ever really loved. Along the way, he teams up with Tanisha Williams, a beautiful African-American detective raised in South Central and now assigned to the L.A.P.D. Asian Crime Task Force. Born just fifteen minutes from each other but worlds apart, the two make a combustible pair.

Together, they face the violence and corruption that stretches from Hong Kong's most notorious criminal Triad to the highest reaches of American government. It's an international conspiracy of huge proportions which will take Wheeler and Tanisha halfway around the world and into the most dangerous adventure of their lives...

Sweeping from the exclusive enclaves of Beverly Hills to the mean streets of South Central to the deadly labyrinth of Hong Kong's mysterious walled city, Riding the Snake is an irresistible web of intrigue and roller-coaster action, with author Stephen J. Cannell at his twisty, cinematic best.

Boyd Gaines, a graduate of the Julliard School, made his Broadway debut in The Heidi Chronicles, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He went on to star in She Loves Me, winning Best Actor in a Musical, and performed in many other New York theater productions including The Shawl, Spring Awakenings and The Show Off. Boyd has also appeared in manyfeature films and on television in such shows as One Day at a Time, L.A. Law and Frasier.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380800162
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/01/1999
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

Stephen J. Cannell is the bestselling author of the political thriller The Plan and the psychothriller Final Victim, as well as the creator or co-creator of over forty television shows, including The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Wiseguy, andSilk Stalkings. He currently heads the Cannell Studios.

Read an Excerpt

The locker room at the exclusive Westridge Country Club was Wheeler Cassidy's "spot."He arrived every morning around ten and flopped down on the tan leather sofa, then browsed the L.A. Times. Of late, he had just been scanning the front page, then going directly to sports, reading the racing results and ball scores. The rest of the paper failed to interest him. He used to read it cover to cover, but now the pointless articles on the Metro page about police brutality or campaign finance abuses didn't concern him anymore. He had been vaguely aware of the fact that his world had been narrowing but had managed to flush those thoughts with Scotch shooters.

The beige couch was also good because it was in front of the picture window that overlooked the tennis courts, which afforded him a prized spear-fishing spot. He could either tag up on a new member's wife coming back from her tennis lesson or pick up a golf game with some middle-aged walk-over. By one P.M., he had usually moved from the comfortable On-Deck Circle to Home Plate, which was the last stool at the bar in the grill. From there, he would swing lazily at the slow curves that wandered past in sexy tennis skirts.

Wheeler was thirty-seven, tall and good-looking in a careless, bad boy sort of way that women of all ages seemed irresistibly drawn to. His curly black hair hung loosely on his forehead. His square jaw and white teeth were babe-magnets, although his once rock-hard abs were beginning to take on some extra padding and his hands were starting to shake at eleven each morning. Once he got his first Scotch shooter — Blended Vat 69 — they calmed down.

Wheeler had notturned out the way he was supposed to. He had not lived up to his father's expectations. His first spectacular failure had been sixteen years ago when they'd thrown him out of the University of Southern California for being drunk and disorderly, and according to one University Regent, "an unredeemable scholastic project." The final incident that propelled his expulsion was a fist fight he'd gotten into at Julie's Bar after the S.C. Stanford game. He had endured three Bay area assholes for almost two hours before slipping his thousand-dollar Cartier watch off his left wrist and putting the misplaced Stanford alumni in the U.S.C. Trauma Ward. Wheeler had a solid punch and, even drunk, he could still bang one off you. His left hook was lethal. He preferred talking to hitting, but occasionally had to "step outside" with somebody. Fighting was a necessary skill when you were periscoping other people's women.

Wheeler Cassidy had been famous at U.S.C. He was that guy that everybody talked about... the tuna fisherman's tuna fisherman. The stunts he'd pulled were legendary: like jumping off the roof of the Tri-Delt House on a dare or driving his VW into the L.A. Coliseum at half-time during the U.C.L.A. game. On the side of his paintbrushed-cardinal-and-gold VW Rabbit, he had written, "Have one on me, Bruins." Then he sprayed the U.C.L.A. rooting section with warm beer from a supercharged keg. He'd been arrested six times for various violations and pranks before finally being expelled. His exploits were written up in the Cardinal and Gold, the student paper, at least once a month during his colorful three-year academic career, but that was a long time ago. Now he was what some people would call a country club burn. The Westridge Country Club in Bel Air, California, was his haunt.

The W. C. C. had all kinds of strict membership requirements: Your family and ethnic background had to be acceptable; you needed to be well placed in society; and no members of the entertainment community were ever accepted. Wheeler got in on a junior membership when he turned twenty-one because his father, Wheeler Cassidy, Sr., had been a longtime member.

However, Wheeler Jr. was currently up before the W.C.C. disciplinary committee. They were trying to decide whether to kick him out for a one-nighter he'd had with the beautiful but restless wife of a senior member who was also, unfortunately, head of the club's rules committee. The affair had resulted in the couple's messy divorce. It was the memory of Wheeler's late father that so far had stayed the axe, but this time it looked like his expulsion from the club was inevitable.

Wheeler Sr. had been an investment broker and portfolio analyst who had made it big, eventually opening his own brokerage firm. Wheeler Sr. had died last year, taking with him Wheeler Jr.'s sole reason for being. There was something exhilarating about being the bad seed son of a domineering, humorless father that lost its thrill when Dear Ol' Dad hit Boot Hill. Now all of Wheeler's pranks seemed more desperate than funny. His father's anger had always been the rimshot that saved the joke.

Wheeler started drinking more after his father died, and now, in the morning when he got up, his head was dull as racial humor. His eyes were filled with grain, his stomach always on the edge of revolt. He was approaching middle age and, apart from three years at U.S.C. and another two in the Marines, he'd never accomplished anything.

He'd joined the Marine Corps only to fend off his father's threat that he would lose his inheritance for being chucked out of college. Then, just when it looked like he'd straightened out, being accepted for elite Special Forces training, he'd been dishonorably discharged from his unit for fornicating with his Commanding Officer's wife. Since then, he had never finished anything. except for hundreds upon hundreds of bottles of blended Scotch. He'd once read about an old eccentric in the desert who had built a house out of empty beer bottles. If Wheeler had had any architectural ambition, his empties could have built a small city.

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Riding the Snake 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
ThePolyBlog More than 1 year ago
PLOT OR PREMISE: Stephen J. Cannell is an expert at pulling PR successes with fluff on the TV airwaves. This book is no exception. It takes a wealthy playboy (who never measured up to his father's standards) and a black female cop (who came from the streets) and throws them together to investigate a crime committed by Asian tongs. About the only thing missing from the demographics are gays because we also have Russians and international intrigue. The short plot summary is that playboy Wheeler Cassidy loses his seemingly straight-laced brother to an Asian tong war involving immigrants "riding the snake" to America and the "free" elections in Hong Kong as it reverts to Chinese rule. Along as his investigative partner is a black cop, Tanisha Williams, being investigated for having ties still to her "hood", and therefore assigned to a desk in the Asian bureau of the LAPD. She investigates the death of Cassidy's brother, and the brother's secretary, and it all leads off to Hong Kong -- taxi! . WHAT I LIKED: A weird series of events leads from Hong Kong back to L.A. and more fights with the tongs, and a Russian nuclear bomb that has been smuggled into L.A. . WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Basically, the writing is fine, but the story is what happens when you take a Tom Clancy-type story, and replace the spooks with characters from your average cop story on TV, and run it along the same TV format plot lines. No depth here, but he hits all the major story headlines from popular press. . BOTTOM-LINE: Holes all over the place but fun ride . DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him / her on social media.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it very much. I liked how Mr.Cantrell really brought the character's to life. I'll never think about illegal immigration the same way again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down. Ignored my family for 3 days reading it from cover to cover. Great description of characters, settings, cultural differences. Plot moves quickly with twists and turns, eventually surfing to an action packed ending. Loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Coming from me that is really good. I never read, infact this is probably the third or forth book ive finished. I think it was very well thought out and I was intrigued throughout the book. I'm especially interested in the Chinese culture aspect of the book aswell as the locations visited in the book. I will most surely try find the time to read more of this authors books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Man, this book is the best book I have ever read in my entire life, and I rarely even read. This book is action pack with exotic erotic scenes everyone should read it. And you may learn something new about the Chinese Language.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book a strain to read, the characters lacked depth or any credibility. For an author who is supposed to be clued in the workings of law enforcement I felt he really fell flat. I wouldn't recomment this book