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Chiefs    by Stuart Woods order for
by Stuart Woods
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 1999 (1982)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Feel like devoting serious time to a good book? One with lots of action, suspense, racial tension, great characters? One you can be sure has good writing and a rip-snorting plot? Pick up a copy of Chiefs by Stuart Woods. Granted it's an older book, but that matters not. The time frame is early 1920, post World War I. The plot moves on to post World War II and then just prior to Kennedy's assassination.

Will Henry Lee leaves his cotton farm when the boll weevil threatens to leave him and his family destitute. Though he has no experience in police work, he manages to become the first Police Chief of Delano, Georgia. During his first moments on the job, he captures two bank robbers! His euphoria at starting off his new career with such success soon dissipates when the naked brutalized corpse of a young man is found. Soon afterwards, another young man is discovered shot in the back. These murders become Lee's driving force and the investigation continues on into the 1960s. Racial tensions abound in this small southern town, especially when a black police chief is hired.

I won't reveal any more of the plot. I want you to arrive at your own conclusions. Suffice it to say, this is a book that I enjoyed very much. I have one small problem that I hesitate to mention when faced with an author who can entertain me so well. I've noticed this in others of his many novels. Too many characters' names either start with the same initial or are similar. This makes for confusion that slows down the pace of the story. Minor problem. I'd read Woods' work even if all the characters had the same name.

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