CHOKE, Stuart Woods
A grabber of a murder mystery that will engage every reader.
Chuck Chandler has choked on more than one occasion–first as a pro tennis player at Wimbledon, then as a womanizing coach at posh tennis clubs around the country. Now at Key West is Old Racquet Club, Chuck gets involved with the wrong married woman-the enticing Clare Carras, married to an enigmatic older man–and soon he is in way over his head. Enter Tommy Sculley, a retired New York homicide detective who has just joined the Key West force, and his young green partner, Daryl Haynes, who turns out to be smarter than he looks. Up to their necks in an investigation of a bizarre apparent homicide, the two detectives barely keep afloat in murky waters. Events take them from the Florida Keys to Los Angeles and back, as a plot emerges that involves not only the dangerous Clare, but a furious West Coast mob boss determined to get back what is his at any cost.
The first Stuart Woods book I ever read was Chiefs, a book I still hold as being one of the finest detective/murder/thriller books I have ever read.
Woods has written many books since, maybe two dozen or more, becoming one of the most prolific and popular of American murder/sleuthing mysteries writers.
Choke is another of his detective books.
Choke is slow to engage, but once it does, it will not release the attention of any reader. Tommy Sculley is the detective hero of our tale. He could be a middle-aged version of Columbo, the seemingly bumbling detective of TV fame. Tommy is no slouch. He is sharp, perceptive and intuitive. His gut is his guide and is unceasingly right.
Choke grabs the reader after a chapter or two but once it does, it won’t let go. The plot twists are believable. The storyline unfolds with much suspense. Reader curiosity will be teased and grabbed. What’s next? What’s going to happen now? Did Tommy miss something? Questions that will pop up page after page, each pulling the reader more deeply into the story.
Choke is suspenseful and a brain teaser that will entertain most readers and it is a brain teaser puzzling the read right to the end with a surprising twist to what many expect in the story.
Read the acknowledgements and the appendix notes Woods writes at the end of the book. Woods a bit off-putting or even a little arrogant in his dismissal of readers contacting him.
But cannot argue with success. He is a popular writer. He sells a lot of books and his reputation for writing polished detective stories is well deserved.