#1 New York Times bestselling author Stuart Woods delivers a riveting thriller that introduces his first female protagonist, Deputy Chief of Police Holly Barker.
Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, attractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a military cop for the badge of deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. But below the sunny surface of this sleepy, well-to-do island town lies an evil that escalates into the cold-blooded murder of one of Holly's new colleagues.
An outsider, Holly has little to go on for answers and no one to help her—except Daisy, a Doberman of exceptional intelligence and loyalty that becomes her companion and protector. The closer Holly gets to the truth, the more she knows that it'll take one smart dog with guts to sniff out this killer—before he can catch her first.
After a string of successes based on the escapades of the redoubtable Stone Barrington, Woods (Swimming to Catalina) shifts to a female protagonist in this police procedural, with mostly smooth and satisfying results. Woods's new heroine is Holly Barker, a 37-year-old MP supervisor whose army career comes to a halt when she loses a sexual harassment suit against her superior officer. A friend of her father's offers her a position as a deputy in the small Florida town of the title, but life becomes even more problematic when she gets there and finds that her benefactor is in a coma after having been shot. The body of his best friend is discovered next. The clues quickly lead to an exclusive community for the ultra-rich within Orchid Beach that bears a suspicious resemblance to a military installation, and the trail gets hotter when several corrupt Miami ex-cops turn up on the community's roster of security workers. Aided by local defense attorney Jackson Oxenhandler, Barker gathers a raft of evidence that she turns over to the FBI, which organizes a well-planned assault on the fortress. The climactic raid is somewhat lacking in suspense, but Woods compensates by introducing a charming romantic subplot between Holly and Jackson, and the story gets extra bite from Holly's intriguing relationship with an inherited canine named Daisy, the clairvoyant Doberman that belonged to her mentor.
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I really wish I'd started reading earlier in the day...I ran out of hours and had to wait until morning to finish this superb book.
This is my first book by this author and probably my last. The plot and main character were interesting enough for a quick read but the action was too unrealistic. At least a dozen times some plot point was so inaccurate or unlikely that it would throw me out of the story. I kept reading so that says something positive, but I doubt I'll read another book by this author.