Chiefs

Chiefs  - Stuart Woods, Mark Hammer Stuart Woods' Chiefs traces the history of Delano, Georgia from 1920 through 1963 through the eyes of three very different men who become chief of police in the small town. Over the forty-three-year time span of the book broods the shadow of a serial killer whose existence is only briefly suspected at different times but whose reign of terror continues throughout. Will Henry Lee, a WWI veteran, becomes the first chief in 1920 and dies in the line of duty. The second chief, Sonny Butts, is a veteran of WWII and, though nowhere near as admirable a man as his predecessor, also meets a tragic end. Finally, Tucker Watts, the town's first black chief and a man with secrets of his own, signals the coming of the civil rights era to Delano. Will Henry's son Billy, a lawyer and later lieutenant governor of the state, is also a central character. Woods does an excellent job of portraying the intertwined, even claustrophobic, relations of business, government and law enforcement in this small Southern town, as well as the complicated nature of race relations.


I enjoyed Chiefs very much, but would have liked to see more attention paid to the female characters, such as Billy's wife Patricia, who makes a brief appearance and seems like a fascinating person, but then essentially disappears after she's played her big part in advancing her husband's political career.

I've also enjoyed Woods' Grass Roots, also featuring the Lee family, and his stand-alone Under the Lake, but have never been able to get into his Stone Barrington series.