Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Beach House Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Shop Popular Services tmnt tmnt tmnt  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Deal of the Day
Chiefs: A Novel (25th Anniversary Edition) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Chiefs Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 1999

319 customer reviews

See all 37 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$2.20 $0.01

Grand Opening by Carl Weber
Featured New Release in Literature & Fiction
Check out Grand Opening, by Carl Weber, a featured new release this month. Learn more | See related books
Available from these sellers.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stuart Woods was born in Manchester, Georgia, a small town in the American South. He was educated in the local schools and at the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a BA degree in 1959. He served in the United States Air Force, in which he says he "...flew a truck," as an enlisted man during the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961-62.

He devoted his early adult years to a career in advertising , as an award-winning writer for agencies in New York and London. It was while living in London in 1973 that he decided to pursue an ambition held since childhood, to write fiction. he moved to a flat in the stable yard of a castle in south County Galway, Ireland, and while working two days a week for a Dublin ad agency to support himself, began work on a novel. Shortly after beginning, he discovered sailing and , as he puts it, "Everything went to hell." The novel was put temporarily aside while he spent all his time, " an eleven foot plywood dinghy against small children, losing regularly."

In the autumn of 1974, a friend invited him to help ferry a small yacht up the west coast of Ireland, and the bug bit even harder. Shortly thereafter, his grandfather died, leaving him "...just enough money to get into debt for a boat," and he immediately decided to go to the 1976 Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). He moved to a gamekeeper's cottage on a river above Cork Harbour and had a boat built at a nearby boatyard. He studied navigation and sailed on other people's boats every chance he got, then, after completing a 1300-mile qualifying voyage from the Azores to Ireland, he persuaded the Race Committee to accept him as an Irish entry.

He completed the race in good form, taking forty-five days, and in 1977 his memoir of the Irish period, Blue Water, Green Skipper was published in London and New York. While sporadically working on the novel, he completed another book, A Romantic's Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland, published in 1979.

Chiefs, Woods' long-awaited novel, was published in 1981 to wide critical and popular acclaim, garnering excellent reviews and winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award. Chiefs was filmed for television as a six-hour drama starring Charlton Heston. Following his success with that novel, Woods published a string of fiction that established him as one of the most popular writers in the world.

Orchid Beach is Stuart Woods' eighteenth novel. His previous books, Run Before the Wind (1983), Deep Lie (1986), Under the Lake (1987), White Cargo (1988), Grass Roots (1989), Palindrome and New York Dead (1989), Santa Fe Rules (1991), L.A. Times (1992), Dead Eyes (1993), Heat (1994), Imperfect Strangers and Choke (1995), Dirt (1996), Dead in the Water (1997) and Swimming to Catalina (1998) have been translated into Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, Japanese, and Hebrew and there are millions of copies of his books in print around the world. Several of Stuart Woods' novels have been optioned for feature films and television movies.

Stuart Woods lives on the the Treasure Coast of Florida and Litchfield County, Connectict. He still flies his own plane, and sails.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


THE BOY ran for his life.

He poured forth an effort born of fear and a wild sense of freedom regained. At first he ran entirely unconscious of his injuries, then, tearing recklessly through the dark woods, he struck a tree and went down. He lay stunned for a time he could not account for, and when he was finally able to struggle to his feet, the full force of the pain and the winter air swept over him and made him stagger.

He heard the dog and the man crashing through the brush, and he ran again, wildly, blindly, the undergrowth tearing at his naked body. Abruptly, he broke through onto a road, hesitated, decided against it, and threw himself across the open area into the brush on the other side. He was momentarily in thick, thorny blackberry bushes, then found himself on a narrow path.

He was failing now, sucking in air with a loud, rasping noise, his muscles aching, legs wobbling. He heard the man fighting through the blackberry bushes, cursing, and he flung himself forward with his remaining strength. He knew he would rather run until he died than go back to that house. He willed his heart to burst, God to take him, hut his exhausted body still carried him unsteadily forward.

The path turned sharply to the right, but he lunged ahead into thick brush again, hoping for safety. Then he saw stars ahead through the bushes and thought he might break through into a field, while his tormentor followed the path. He gathered his last strength and plunged forward and down, hoping to lie on the ground undetected.

There was no ground; the earth fell away beneath him. He believed himself to be falling into a ditch, but his ditch had no bottom. He fell, twisting in the air, trying desperately to get his feet under him, while the hard earth waited far below him.

Copyright 1981 by Stuart Woods

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (April 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380703475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380703470
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stuart Woods is the author of forty-four novels, including the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington series and Holly Barker series. The last twenty-eight of them have been New York Times best-sellers. He is an avid private pilot, flying his own jet on two book tours a year. His latest novel is Santa Fe Edge,to be published on September 21st. You may see his tour schedule and learn more about the author on his website,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Stan Vernooy on September 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Chiefs" is the story of three police chiefs in a small Georgia town: one was the town's very first Chief of Police in the 1920's, the second in the 1940's, and the third in the 1960's. The common thread among the three is a series of disappearances of teenage boys who were traveling through the vicinity of the town when they disappeared.
The book isn't really a mystery, since the reader knows the solution to the crime fairly early in the book. What sets the book apart is the well-drawn characters and the unerring and evocative portrayal of the evolution of a small Georgia town from the 1920's up to the middle of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's.
Woods has perfect pitch when it comes to dialogue. Every conversation, every confrontation, every characterization rings vividly true. Politics, on a local, state, and national level, is a sub-theme of the book, and the author has obviously done his homework on those topics as well. But the book's most noticeable strength is in its ability to transport the reader almost physically into a sultry Georgia town. Even if you read this during a winter in North Dakota, you'll feel the heat, the tension, the passion, and the fears of a sleepy Georgia town during the mid-20th century for as long as you're reading "Chiefs".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got Chiefs after reading all the Amazon 5-star reader reviews. Usually, I'd walk on by a book about small town Georgia cops, never imagining it could be this enthralling. The author is masterful at drawing the reader into this little world; I found myself talking out loud to the characters. He doesn't rely on the graphic gore and language of the typical modern shock thriller, hence making the terror more real. What makes the southern authors so good!? This belongs with "Gone With the Wind" and "The Prince of Tides." As a serial killer story, it belongs with the best of Lawrence Sanders.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The characters in Chiefs are without a doubt some of the most interesting and well-developed characters that have ever surfaced in any novel to date. Woods does a great job creating such a diverse group of people all the while keeping them realistic and life-like. He paints a very accurate picture of what the south was like in the early 1900's and the 1950's. Since he created such life-like and believable people, I found myself either hating or loving the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. The three Chiefs that are the focal point are all very different, and they all have amazing qualities that make them come alive. Aside from holding the same position at one time or another, they also were committed to solving one of the worst series of crimes the south had ever seen.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Essentially, this novel is about three generations of police chiefs in Delano, Georgia, who attempt to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of several young men, and capture the elusive serial killer who victimizes them.
However, Edgar Award-winning novelist Stuart Woods has written not only a riveting mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, compulsively turning pages, he has described the history and culture of a small Georgia town from 1919 through the 1960s, and created such a realistic a populace that, at times, it is difficult to believe this is a work of fiction. Woods' characters are well defined and complex. There are many good moral people who live in Delano, but there are also the corrupt and perverse, those who have many secrets to hide. The story of the town's growth, as well as that of its inhabitants, over the years is absolutely fascinating, as are the details and intrigues of Georgia's state politics. And the history of the tense race relations during the entire period recalls a time of gross injustice that most of us would like to forget.
This is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long, long time, and, to my mind, Stuart Woods' best novel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patrick M. on May 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of Woods' earlier works, CHIEFS, reads like the work of a veteran author. Woods is one of the masters at pacing and it is obviously a skill he possessed early in his career. If you are a fan of his more recent books like THE RUN or DEAD IN THE WATER, you will surely not be disappointed by this one.
A serial killer exists virtually unsuspected over the span of three generations of police chiefs in the small farming community of Delano, Georgia. CHIEFS is divided into three separate books, one for each police chief, but the divisions are more complex than merely who is running the department. Delano, the town itself, experiences its own changes in each phase of the story. We see the town flourish in times of economic prosperity, and then struggle as its farming inhabitants grapple with the blight of the boll weevil which destroys their cotton fields. There is the ever-present race clashes, the black and the white fighting for their dignity and place in the rural desegregated South. And Delano's proudest son aspires to establish himself as a viable candidate for the Governor's seat in Georgia.
All this provides an intricately textured backdrop in front of which the killer is defying both time and the law. Each new chief of police stumbles across clues left behind by his predecessor, but will the third one figure it out? The killings and the killer's ability to go undetected so long are certainly the focus of the narrative, but the reader becomes just as fascinated by the political, industrial, and cultural development of Delano as well.
Once you get into it, you can't help but get hooked. You can read CHIEFS in a weekend's time, because you won't want to put it down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: suspense thrillers