Friday, January 9, 2009

Grass Roots-Stuart Woods

Grass Roots
Stuart Woods
Harper, Dec 2008, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061711565

When highly regarded Senator Ben Carr of Georgia suffers a debilitating stroke, his loyal chief of staff, Will Lee runs for the office. His opponent in the Democratic primary is the state’s governor Mack Dean; if he wins that his most likely Republican foe is an extreme TV star fundamentalist.

However, Will places his personal campaigning on hold when Judge Boggs asks him to serve as a public defender on a hate crimes homicide case in Meriwether County where he grew up and his ma still lives in Delano. The case is a racially charged murder that could impact his election chances as his client is a white male accused of killing a black female.

Meanwhile a former cop hunts a vigilante group assassinating people involved in what they interpret as porn peddling gangland-style. This too impacts Will’s chances of winning the election as the issues of soft on crime and pornography surface.

Each of the three prime threads is gripping and easily could have served as fully developed novellas in differing sub-genres: political, legal and investigative. However, the fun in this tale is how Stuart Woods cleverly interweaves the three seemingly diverse subplots into a cohesive exciting thriller. This reprint of a 1989 tale holds up nicely two decades later.

Harriet Klausner