Amazon.com Review Talk about a bad first day. Major Holly Barker thought she was getting out of a mess when she left the army. She'd been sexually harassed by her superior, but the exigencies of the military legal system wound up wrecking her career. Orchid Beach seemed like the perfect place to start over. Though Chief Marley, an old family friend, was worried about some local increases in the drug trade, the Florida barrier island was not a crime mecca. As the new deputy police chief, Holly would be stepping on the toes of a few Orchid Beach P.D. regulars who were being overlooked for the job, but she would prove her worth in short order. After installing her trailer in Riverview, though, the bad news started to flood the Beach. The chief was found along the side of highway A1A with a bullet through the head, and his closest friend just had his skull blown apart with the chief's shotgun. Now, Holly is the acting chief in a town she hardly knows and with a police force that's full of animosity towards its newly minted leader. Just about the only consolation is that Holly has inherited Daisy, a Doberman who's about the best and most faithful friend a troubled gal could ask for; Daisy's a fierce defender of her master and she knows how to retrieve a beer on command. Holly is a new character for Stuart Woods, and the author wastes no time getting readers into the thick of the mystery. This means that character takes a bit of a back seat to plotting in Orchid Beach, but with a mystery this fast-paced, the tradeoff is worthwhile. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more From Publishers Weekly 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. Agent, Anne Sibbald. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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