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Hothouse Orchid (Holly Barker) Paperback – April 27, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Woods piles on the coincidences in his modestly entertaining fifth thriller to feature CIA agent Holly Barker (after Iron Orchid). When Holly returns home to Orchid Beach, Fla., where she was once chief of police, she's reunited with both welcome and unwelcome figures from her past. Renegade ex-CIA agent Teddy Fay, sporting a new identity, has chosen to settle in nearby Vero Beach. Lauren Cade, a former military comrade, is now a sergeant with the Florida State Patrol. Holly is shocked to learn that James Bruno, her former commanding officer who was tried and acquitted of raping Lauren and who once tried to rape Holly herself, is Orchid Beach's new police chief. Holly's not so shocked to learn that a serial killer and rapist is at work in the area. Woods glibly lets the reader stay well ahead of the legal posse tracking the killer while still keeping a card or two up his sleeve. Playful dialogue and romantic sexual escapades lighten the atmosphere. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Holly Barker
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451229517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451229519
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
After taking a hiatus from Stuart Woods' books, I decided to see if anything had changed. This book encouraged me to take a permanent vacation from Mr. Woods poor writing. The plot (which other reviewers have described) is superficial and unrealistic. Mr. Woods continues to assume everyone has sex at the drop of a hat, serious relationships develop as soon as people of the opposite sex meet each other, and most people own and fly airplanes. Character development is non-existent (who is Jimmy? Who is Hurd? Who are the victims?).

Even if you are only skimming this book, there is an obvious need for an editor: irrelevant information is repeated throughout -- sometimes on the same page (e.g. the last few sentences of chapter 20 include "Holly was more excited than she had been since she had started training at the Agency's Farm" AND "She hadn't been this excited since she began training at the Agency"), characters names are confused (e.g. beginning of chapter 61 ... "Holly isn't hurt" should be "LAUREN isn't hurt"), potential clues that could have helped develop the plot are abandoned (e.g. whatever happened to the DNA analysis of those cigaret butts?). The same arrogant 'Author's Note' continues to appear in Mr. Woods books.

Thank goodness I didn't pay money to read this book! I'm off to read better stuff ('so many books, so little time'); don't waste your time on this one.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say that, as usual, the basic premise of this Holly Barker story was well done and compelling. You can reference the other reviews for more in-depth details, but here is the base storyline. Holly Barker, a high ranking CIA employee and former military officer and Orchid Beach police chief, is sent "on vacation" by her current boss and she returns to the house she still owns in Orchid Beach for a month's leave. However, Orchid Beach currently has a serial rapist/killer on the loose. Holly almost becomes a victim of the killer and later teams up with an array of law enforcement associates to determine the identity of the killer and bring him to justice. There is also another plot line involving a rogue former CIA employee.

The thriller/mystery part of the story was fine. It was the secondary romantic relationships that I found to be a little far-fetched and, in some instances, a bit icky. I understand that Mr Woods was probably trying to lay the groundwork for another installment in this series, but I think it could have been done in a more believable manner.

If you can overlook the life-changing "relationships in less than thirty days" parts of this book, this is a good story that many Holly Barker fans have been waiting for.
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By dnmom on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As with many others, I was excited about the release of this book. My excitement was short lived. This book is horribly written and very rushed. The plot could have been very good, but the poor writng and lack of emotion ruined it. At the beginning of the story, Holly is assaulted, yet she acts as if it is no big deal, an every day occurance. Also, the romances in the book are completely unbelievable and ridiculous.
Stuart Woods is becoming lazy, much like James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell.
Save your money and your time.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the most disappointing things to me, as a reader, is when a really good writer gets lazy and puts out a lousy book. Such is the case with Hothouse Orchid. The plot is stupid. The dialogue is worse than amateurish. All I can say about the positive reviews is that they either got free books in return or they are friends of the author.

I wanted to give the book zero stars but the system wouldn't let me.

PLEASE don't encourage this good writer to write more books like this. Do not buy this book.
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