Tue 27 Jan, 2004 09:27 am
Stuart Woods has written a lot of crime drama stories, and seems to put out a couple of new ones every year. "Chiefs" was, I believe, his first. I became aware of it first as a TV mini-series in the 80s, long before I encountered his books. Over the Christmas holidays I read it, though, and thought it one of the best written mysteries I have read in a very long time. A series of murders begins to occur in a small southern town - beginning in....I think it was before the 1920s. They occur, though, at a slow enough rate that one could believe them unconnected. Young men hitch hiking occasionally disappear from the highway and are never heard from again. The sheriff becomes fascinated with the crimes, which only he believes are connected, and begins devoting a great deal of time to trying to find the perpetrator. He gets close to the truth and is killed for his trouble. Over the coming decades, a series of sheriffs, not all of whom are nice or even honest, become obsessed with the crimes, get too close to the truth, and are killed. The story ends when a sheriff finally catches the person committing the murders. A fascinating read.