Santa Fe attorney Ed Eagle’s murderous ex-wife and assorted lesser satellites continue to hatch plots at cross-purposes, all as inconclusively as ever.
In the nine weeks since she was sent to a Mexican prison for attempted murder (Santa Fe Dead, 2008), Barbara Eagle Keeler hasn’t been wasting her time. She’s been using the episodes of rape by Warden Pedro Alvarez to gather information that will help her escape and work more havoc back in the United States. Assisted more directly by James Long, the film producer who’s not only her lover but the prospective colleague of Ed’s new wife Susannah Wilde, she hatches a plan to kill Ed and his bride. When they get a whiff of Barbara’s escape despite Alvarez’s insistence that she was merely transferred to another prison, Ed’s longtime private eyes, Cupie Dalton and Vittorio, decide that their best defense against her is a good offense.
Not enough malfeasance for you? Soon after Ed gets the murder charges against his latest client, golf pro Tip Hanks, dismissed, Tip takes on a new personal assistant, Dolly Parks, who just happens to be the serial embezzler who killed Tip’s wife. Meanwhile, Todd Bacon, the CIA’s station chief in Panama, is hot in pursuit of Teddy Fay, the CIA agent turned assassin who’s eluded every attempt made to catch him. None of this violent, weightless intrigue goes anywhere, of course, but the dialogue, reeking with obtuse self-assurance, is full of guilty pleasures, from Ed’s admonition to Susannah (“If you keep on shooting people we’re going to end up in court”) to Barbara’s prayer entreating a disputed legacy from the Almighty (“If you’ll let me have this money, I’ll never kill anybody again, not even Ed Eagle!”).
In retrospect, Woods’s endless rounds of dead-end scheming find an uncanny echo in contemporary reality TV. Think of this as one more installment in The Real Sexed-Up Felons of Santa Fe, with all the pleasures and limitations that title implies.
Review From Booklist
Woods’ fourth Ed Eagle adventure, following Santa Fe Dead (2008), is less about superstar lawyer Ed than it is about his nefarious ex-wife, Barbara, who manages to escape from a Mexican prison and head back to the States with murder on her mind. Her targets are Ed and his new wife, Susannah, a beautiful actress. Barbara isn’t the only fugitive on the lam. Teddy Fay, the notorious ex-CIA operative last seen in Hothouse Orchid (2009), has arrived in Santa Fe, hoping to start a new life with his girlfriend, Lauren. But eager young CIA recruit Todd Bacon is hot on his trail. New to the mix is Ed’s latest client, golf pro Tip Hanks, who is under suspicion for the murder of his wife. Readers familiar with Woods’ multiple long-running series (including the Stone Barrington and Holly Barker books) will find themselves at home amid frequent murders and sexual escapades. And while some plotlines are a bit repetitive, particularly regarding Teddy, who has been on the run for many novels, and Barbara, who is also always one step ahead of her pursuers, there’s plenty of fun here for those who enjoy losing themselves in Woods’ entertaining escapist fare. — Kristine Huntley
About the Author
Stuart Woods is the author of more than sixty novels. He is a native of Georgia and began his writing career in the advertising industry. Chiefs, his debut in 1981, won the Edgar Award. An avid sailor and pilot, Woods lives in Florida, Maine, and New Mexico.