Friday, February 1, 2008

Santa Fe Dead-Stuart Woods

Santa Fe Dead
Stuart Woods
Putnam, Apr 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399154904

No one is more surprised than Santa Fe lawyer Ed Eagle when his ex-wife, who is on trial for two murders and sundry other charges, escapes from the courtroom just before the verdict was to be announced. Not concerned except for some pampering, Barbara visits a nearby spa to relax under the alias Eleanor Wright. There she meets billionaire Walter Keeler, who is interested in her. After a couple days together, he whisks her away and marries her. A legal acquaintance tells Ed who sends a letter to Walter warning him not to change his will

Ed worries that Barbara will come after him and his lover as she once hired a hitman to kill him. His current client Don Wells is in Rome where he receives a call informing him his wife and stepson were killed. Ed goes to Don’s home where he finds the pair with a bullet in each of them. Walter dies in a car accident, but his will fails to provide Barbara what he promised her. His lawyer explains that Walter changed his mind when he read Ed’s letter. Barbara plans to make Ed pay by hiring a hitman to kill his lover and Walter’s attorney; Ed knows she is coming.

Although readers will wonder where the police fit in except to do what Ed says, Stuart Woods can always be counted on to provide his audience with a fast-paced thriller that holds reader attention from start to finish. Fans of the Barrington tales will also appreciate the appearance of a character from that series; a trademark of Mr. Woods that enhances the setting. The two subplots run concurrently with the story line smoothly switching back and forth between them. SANTA FE DEAD is terrific as Ed once again fights the black widow he used to call wife.

Harriet Klausner