I'm going to let you in on a secret. It's never taken me more than one day to finish any novel by Stuart Woods. No, they're not that short. No, I'm not a speed reader. And no, I'm not cheating by listening to them on tape. Trust me, I'm reading every word and I'm riveted. That's why I finish them in a day. They're just so darn good!
IRON ORCHID is no exception. In fact, in my not-so-humble opinion, I'd venture to say that this is the best Holly Barker novel yet. For those of you not in the know, Holly made her debut in ORCHID BEACH, entertained us in ORCHID BLUES, and kept us breathless and on the edge of our seats in BLOOD ORCHID. Well, she's back, and she and Stuart Woods are better than ever.
For those of you familiar with these novels, you're used to seeing Holly in her usual setting --- the coastal Florida town of Orchid Beach, where she did a helluva job stopping crime. But it seems that Holly has decided to broaden her horizons this time. In need of a change of scenery after the shooting death of her fiance, Jackson Oxenhandler, Holly has decided to leave Orchid Beach behind and find bigger fish to fry --- as a member of the CIA.
While Holly excels at her training as a newly licensed CIA agent, these sessions are cut short when she and her classmates are sent to New York City hot on the trail of a former Agency employee who has taken it upon himself to rid America of her enemies.
Holly's exploits in Orchid Beach were non-stop action, but Holly in the CIA and New York City is even better. There's no break in the action as Holly crosses paths time and time again with the cunning Teddy Fay. It's a game of cat and mouse, and I found myself holding my breath from moment to moment just waiting for their paths to cross again.
As usual, Holly's father Ham, a retired U.S. Army Senior Master Sergeant, and his personable girlfriend Ginny, take part in the fun. Also making appearances are Woods's other favored characters, Stone Barrington and friend Dino Bacchetti.
Fans of Stuart Woods won't be disappointed with his latest work. I don't know where the man gets his ideas, but he's not even close to running out of them. The fact that he makes his home in Key West Florida and New York City at least part of the time no doubt lends to his credibility in making us believe we're really there in the city or on the beautiful Florida coast. As a reader, a fan and a reviewer, I highly recommend a day spent reading IRON ORCHID as a worthy pursuit.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 22, 2011