Mounting Fears by Stuart Woods

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I have just finished reading the latest Stuart Woods Washington, D.C. political mystery, Mounting Fears. I have to admit to never having read any of his books before, though he is the author of 38 others. Yet another one is due out in April 2009.

This is what the summary in our catalog says about Mounting Fears:
“New York Times’– bestselling author Stuart Woods returns with another page-turning thriller. President Will Lee is having a rough week. His vice president just died during surgery. Confirmation hearings for the new vice president are under way, but the squeaky-clean governor whom Will has nominated may have a few previously unnoticed skeletons in his closet. And Teddy Fay, the rogue CIA agent last seen in Shoot Him If He Runs, is plotting his revenge on CIA director Kate Rule Lee—the president’s wife. Plus there are some loose nukes in Pakistan that might just trigger World War III if Will’s diplomatic efforts fall short. It’s up to President Lee—with some help from Holly Barker, Lance Cabot, and a few other Stuart Woods series regulars—to save the world, and the upcoming election.”

Having stayed up late at night to finish this book, I am no longer surprised by the frequency with we are asked for this author at the reference desk. Mounting Fears has multiple plot lines, but Woods skillfully dovetails them all together while avoiding unbelievable coincidences and keeping our interest going in each suspenseful thread. I thought Woods showed himself to be a very sophisticated writer because he manages to maintain that suspense without hyperbole. There is violence and ruthlessnes, much of it under the surface and handled with kid gloves. Mounting Fears is a short book and no word is wasted; much as no word is wasted by the ruthless power players in the book. The spare prose just recounts events as they unfold. The reader feels that for the space of the book he or she is truly a Washington insider. The situations seem to be lifted straight from the news of today. Mounting Fears features Holly Barker and Lance Cabot of the CIA. These characters have appeared in other books and appear fully fledged in this one with no introduction. Rather than detracting from the book, this adds to the atmosphere of secrets, conspiracy, manipulation and the oppression of absolute power that makes this such a good read.

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