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Chiefs [Mass Market Paperback]

Stuart Woods
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
HUGH HOLMES, president of the Bank of Delano and chairman of the Delano City Council, was a man who, more than most, thought about the present in terms of the future. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars very intriguing...but a bit too slow June 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book by Stuart Woods that I've read. The first being Orchid Beach which was paced like lightning. This one was a bit slower.
It reminded me of a Ken Follett book in that it spans over the course of many years, decades even, intermingling a central location and all the characters who populated that location over the years.
I thought the dialogue was a bit on the dry side. Everyone had their own voice and I got the feeling from the style Woods used that people were indeed southern, but there wasn't that much personality to the characters. In other words, I didn't get that much feeling of emotion from their words as I do other books.
The book is only about 427 pages long but it seemed like it was alot longer than that.
I liked the theme overall..I found the premise of the story very interesting. But the pacing and the lack of focus or time spent on the 'main event' of the book (the common theme that drives the whole story and its characters through the years) kind of killed it for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woods right up there with Cather May 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a Broadcast Journalist in Portland, Maine. I am primarily a storyteller and frequently write stories about my childhood in Somersworth, New Hampshire on a web site devoted to that City. I also maintain a website where I tell Franco-American stories. My favorite writer until I saw the Made for TV movie "Chief's" in 1983 had been Willa Cather (Pioneer, My Antonia etc.) Now Stuart Woods joins her. My co-workers will tell you I can recite from memory the entire "Chief's" screenplay...almost. Patiently waiting for it to come out on DVD I delight in the paperback while waiting for that big day. I select chapters at random and enjoy the extra detail cut from the movie. I always wondered how Foxy Funderburke lived with no visible means of support. It's all in the book. Writer Stephen King, though a magnificent benevolent person, sometimes reveals his social awkwardness in his writing..(Kingdom Hospital is a good example)..Stuart woods reveals his social savvy. Billy Lee's proposal to his British War bride epitomizes what I mean. If all these characters lived for real...they would walk and talk as scripted by Woods.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Essentially, this novel is about three generations of police chiefs in Delano, Georgia, who attempt to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of several young men, and capture the elusive serial killer who victimizes them.
However, Edgar Award-winning novelist Stuart Woods has written not only a riveting mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, compulsively turning pages, he has described the history and culture of a small Georgia town from 1919 through the 1960s, and created such a realistic a populace that, at times, it is difficult to believe this is a work of fiction. Woods' characters are well defined and complex. There are many good moral people who live in Delano, but there are also the corrupt and perverse, those who have many secrets to hide. The story of the town's growth, as well as that of its inhabitants, over the years is absolutely fascinating, as are the details and intrigues of Georgia's state politics. And the history of the tense race relations during the entire period recalls a time of gross injustice that most of us would like to forget.
This is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long, long time, and, to my mind, Stuart Woods' best novel.
JANA
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good crime novel plus a lot more Sept. 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Chiefs" is the story of three police chiefs in a small Georgia town: one was the town's very first Chief of Police in the 1920's, the second in the 1940's, and the third in the 1960's. The common thread among the three is a series of disappearances of teenage boys who were traveling through the vicinity of the town when they disappeared.
The book isn't really a mystery, since the reader knows the solution to the crime fairly early in the book. What sets the book apart is the well-drawn characters and the unerring and evocative portrayal of the evolution of a small Georgia town from the 1920's up to the middle of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's.
Woods has perfect pitch when it comes to dialogue. Every conversation, every confrontation, every characterization rings vividly true. Politics, on a local, state, and national level, is a sub-theme of the book, and the author has obviously done his homework on those topics as well. But the book's most noticeable strength is in its ability to transport the reader almost physically into a sultry Georgia town. Even if you read this during a winter in North Dakota, you'll feel the heat, the tension, the passion, and the fears of a sleepy Georgia town during the mid-20th century for as long as you're reading "Chiefs".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended May 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of Woods' earlier works, CHIEFS, reads like the work of a veteran author. Woods is one of the masters at pacing and it is obviously a skill he possessed early in his career. If you are a fan of his more recent books like THE RUN or DEAD IN THE WATER, you will surely not be disappointed by this one.
A serial killer exists virtually unsuspected over the span of three generations of police chiefs in the small farming community of Delano, Georgia. CHIEFS is divided into three separate books, one for each police chief, but the divisions are more complex than merely who is running the department. Delano, the town itself, experiences its own changes in each phase of the story. We see the town flourish in times of economic prosperity, and then struggle as its farming inhabitants grapple with the blight of the boll weevil which destroys their cotton fields. There is the ever-present race clashes, the black and the white fighting for their dignity and place in the rural desegregated South. And Delano's proudest son aspires to establish himself as a viable candidate for the Governor's seat in Georgia.
All this provides an intricately textured backdrop in front of which the killer is defying both time and the law. Each new chief of police stumbles across clues left behind by his predecessor, but will the third one figure it out? The killings and the killer's ability to go undetected so long are certainly the focus of the narrative, but the reader becomes just as fascinated by the political, industrial, and cultural development of Delano as well.
Once you get into it, you can't help but get hooked. You can read CHIEFS in a weekend's time, because you won't want to put it down.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History/ Mystery Novel
Chiefs is a great introduction to the Stuart Woods' novels. After I read Chiefs, I have been hooked on all his books. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
This is the story of a succession of police chiefs in Delano, Georgia, a small town. It reminds me of a James Michener novel in that the main characters change as time progresses,... Read more
Published on May 15 2004 by DWD's Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic epic
This is a novel that I have been wanting to read for quite sometime, and it was well worth the wait. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Chris Polson
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Book!
This was a well written book thar made an excellent movie as well.You have the history of three police chiefs in the state of Georgia that covers a 45 year period. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2003 by Melvin Hunt
2.0 out of 5 stars so-so
This was a decent read. I think the plot was a bit scattered and the dialogue shift between some of the characters was over used and cliché, but for the most part the book... Read more
Published on June 27 2003 by Todd E.Waters
2.0 out of 5 stars so-so
This was a decent read. I think the plot was a bit scattered and the dialogue shift between some of the characters was over used and cliché, but for the most part the book... Read more
Published on June 27 2003 by Todd E.Waters
1.0 out of 5 stars Very good reading
Stuart Woods is great again. I thought it was one of his more current books, only to find it was written some time ago. I must say I enjoyed the book very much. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2003 by Asa Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life!
The audiobook of this award-winning novel is superbly read by Mark Hammer. While his manner is slower than most narrators, it lends to the story, by making a listener impatient, as... Read more
Published on July 18 2002 by scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This was without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. It is more a combination of history and mystery. Very interesting story along with some interesting charactors. Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2001 by Robert B. Ressler
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