Santa Fe Dead” could easily have been named “The Boring Return of the Evil B-word Barbara.”  That might have been more honest and would have better reflected the disappointingly weak quality of Stuart Wood’s latest effort. It would have also worked naming it “Santa Fe STUPID.”

It is time once again to hang out with Ed Eagle, Santa Fe lawyer and all around older stud.  Someday, we may finally find out that Ed Eagle is actually Stone Barrington’s father as they seem to share the same concepts about the law, making money, bedding beautiful women, etc. When Ed Eagle isn’t romping in bed with the gorgeous actress Susannah Wilde (yes, he romps by his own admission and does it very well with no unsatisfied customers or golden arches), or wheeling and dealing, is testifying in court about how his ex-wife Barbara tried to take his money, kill Ed’s private investigators, have Ed killed, and generally cause mayhem in both Mexico and the U. S. Despite his testimony, as well as the fact that she flees the courthouse while the jury is deliberating her verdict, the jury in San Diego, California finds her not guilty.

Barbara begins to set her sights on the next husband to be whose biggest asset is his money while Ed Eagle begins to try to move on with his life. Part of his stated attempt to move on is to warn the next husband to be that Barbara is evil. That doesn’t help create separation, closure, or whatever the shrinks call it this week and before long Barbara is mad as a hatter and going after him everyway possible. That is fine with Ed because he isn’t through with her either.

Featuring stereotypical characters, gratuitous sex scenes inserted for no plot reason whatsoever, and plenty of action as well as references to money and designer goods, this is an incredible weak read.  Barbara is the complete evil B word, Ed is an unflappable stud, and the bad guys are amazingly stupid.  Finding good help is hard to do and in this case one really wonders how the bad guys lived long enough to be the stupid help in this novel. Apparently, they never were forced to get out of wet paper bags at any time of their lives and therefore have managed to live long enough to get here where they can fly planes and do all sorts of things but can’t kill worth anything and leave clues behind that a sixth grader wouldn’t. The result is a book typical of Wood’s write it fast and sell it philosophy of the last few years and on that many of his fans will mindlessly continue to snap up and enjoy.

Santa Fe Dead

Stuart Woods<

G. P. Putnam’s Sons


ISBN #978-0-399-15490-4

309 Pages

Review copy provided by the Plano Public Library System

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Currently reading “Hardcore Hardboiled” edited by Todd Robinson
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