Hot House Orchid
Putnam, Sep 22 2009, $25.95
After another futile run in with former CIA Technical Service Department agent turned international terrorist, Special Agent Holly Barker’s superiors decides she needs extended down time away from the job, Teddy and the bad publicity. Teddy is a lethal person who kills right wing extremists he believes is dangerous to his beloved United States. That is no longer important to a distraught Holly who heads home to Orchid Beach, Florida, where she once was chief of police chief in what seems like a different life. At the same time Teddy rents a house in the next town.
To her horror she learns the new chief is James Bruno, her commanding officer who tried to rape her when she served in the military. He succeeded in raping then Lieutenant Lauren Cade who is now with the State Police. Someone is killing young women and leaving them where they can be found easily. Holly and Lauren believe Bruno is the culprit, but lack proof. Lauren becomes involved with Teddy, who uses a disguise to watch over her as sets a trap to catch the serial rapist killer.
Stuart Woods writes thrillers in which Teddy comes across as an avenging angel while the killer is the monster; though some will challenge and others agree with Teddy’s the end makes the means acceptable with the predators he dispatches. HOTHOUSE ORCHID is filled with plenty of local color, eccentric characters, and plenty of twists and surprises. Holly is coming back to life at home, but can’t wait to return to work at the CIA while she is sure of her new lover, who ironically applies for a job with the Firm mostly to be with her when he assumes she returns. Although the coincidence of Teddy next door is a stretch longer than the Florida Turnpike (I didn’t say I 75 which is longer), fans will relish Holly Barker’s latest thriller.