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Iron Orchid (Holly Barker, #5)
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Iron Orchid (Holly Barker #5)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,805 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
Now working for the CIA, ex-chief-of-police Holly Barker joins the elite task force tracking Teddy Fay-a man who kills his political targets for sport. As he begins to pick off America's enemies one by one, Holly unexpectedly finds herself face-to-face with the killer, kick-starting a high-speed chase through the streets of Manhattan.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 2005)
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Jul 26, 2011 Jeffrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love Barker the character
Shelves: mystery
Holly is a likable character but this book is far removed from reality. Its like Woods just cannot figure out what to do with her next. Chief of Police in Florida, all used up. Aha joing CIA and fight terrorist --there's a current plot outline.

A close comparison is Jesse Stone by Robert Parker. Parker invents a new character who is a cop in a small town and then keeps him as a cop. He doesnt try to make him more than he has to be.
Maureen DeLuca
Apr 05, 2016 Maureen DeLuca rated it did not like it
Um, this is book 4 of the HOLLY BARKER series.... I just couldn't finish it- Holly is now training at the 'farm' so she can be part of the CIA.. ok- I can get that. These books aren't real hard core thriller, nutty psycho books- a bit of a 'fluff' but not as 'fluffy' as some cozy mysteries. So, at times I can enjoy it- but this one- was too unbelievable ... I had it when a CIA agent/trainer is telling Holly that she has to go to NY- The sentence began with the agent telling Sally Liu (another ne ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Jerry rated it liked it
Woods hauls out many past characters to pace a rather tepid "thriller" -- loose ends abound!

We've read Woods' entire booklist and don't intend to stop now. From his Will Lee series, his standalone books, his lengthy playboy-investigator Stone Barrington collection to his newest, the Holly Barker set, we've generally enjoyed each of his outings. Ostensibly, this book is another in the latter run, all of which contain "Orchid" in the title, which is the only sense we can make out of the otherwise
Synopsis: Holly has resigned as Chief of Police, and joined the CIA under Lance Cabot. Holly also has a secret she intends to hide from them as well. She has a secret cache of several million in a numbered account taken from one of her last cases in Orchid Beach.

Just weeks into her training at "The Farm" her class is hustled to New York City to track down Teddy Fay, good guy/bad guy villain from the earlier "Capital Crimes" novel. Fay is a rogue CIA agent, and has intimate knowledge of the inner
Frank Smith
Aug 25, 2015 Frank Smith rated it really liked it
I started into the world of Stuart Woods through the Stone Barrington series and was a little apprehensive at following the overlapping stories of Will Lee and Holly Barker, but must admit I absolutely love them now and really like the way they overlap and show the completely different viewpoints of different characters about the same event or occurrence.
Stone only made a brief cameo in this one, but sometimes the story shifted to the views of Will Lee and his wife, which really showed the situ
Jun 28, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another mingling of characters from 2 series, which I personally enjoy. Holly Barker has resigned as Chief of Police of Orchid Beach, FL and has joined the CIA. Her training is cut short when she and her fellow team of recruits are put on a joint FBI/CIA task force to track down the rogue CIA agent that we left at the end of "Capital Crimes" (the Will Lee series). They are led on a merry chase. This book doesn't seem to be as tightly crafted as most of the others. There were a couple of instance ...more
May 12, 2015 Kshydog rated it liked it
Holly displays action without a lot of sex which made for better reading. Surprised at how Holly handled the trainer at camp, excessively more force than necessary. Glad to see the law enforcement agencies getting along somewhat. Liked the Teddy Fay character, his disguises, his planning, hard to hate him. Enjoyed all the characters from the previous books playing a part in the story. Disappointed again that dog Daisy really did not have much to do but walk. Think Teddy will show up again in the ...more
Apr 09, 2016 John added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2016 Nolan rated it liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
In this fourth installment of the series, Orchid Beach Police Chief Holly Barker has attracted the attention of the feds to such a degree that she has become one of them. You read here in the early pages about her introduction to the Farm, a CIA training facility and of Holly’s early successes.

The wife of the president is also the director of the CIA, and the agency is rather embarrassed by the fact that one of its own has retired, gone rogue, and has gone about killing terrorists and others wh
Joe White
Jul 17, 2011 Joe White rated it liked it
This might rank 3.5 stars. It is a prelude book to a later book in the Stone Barrington series.

In reading this I came to the realization that Stuart Woods uses a very economical style of verbiage, and in each setting scene, only the main act is portrayed. There is very little to no extraneous character build up or stage setting for the next scene. This aids in plot movement and makes for a very fast read. There is enough plot construction to build suspense. The conversational lines are incredib
Oct 04, 2013 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read this fourth book in the Holly Barker series via the audio CD format, which was performed by Carrington Macduffy. In previous installments in this series, both men and women were employed to portray the gender-specific voices of the characters. Going with a woman-only narration is a lot easier to listen to; it didn’t undermine the story. Sometimes narrators try too hard to depict the opposite gender, and it’s distracting. Using one narrator, this narrator in particular, works really well w ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Gerald rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I ventured into new Stuart Woods territory with this book (on CD). Afer having read or listened to 12 of the 21 Stone Barrington novels, this one features another of his popular fictional characters, i.e., Holly Barker. With a background as a small-town-Florida Police Chief, she has been recruited by the CIA. The early part of this book covers the period of her training at "The Farm," which is the CIA training center. She and her surviving classmates (many had to be weeded out) have their traini ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it
I haven't read a Holly Barker mystery in a while. I've always liked them better than Woods' Stone Barrington mysteries. This was no exception. Holly was beginning her career in the CIA and this is the first case she has been assigned.

Someone is taking out who he perceives has enemies of the United States. It is established that he is ex-CIA and is always one step ahead of the CIA/FBI task force all the way to the end of the book.
Laura Ruetz
Apr 26, 2016 Laura Ruetz rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed books by Stuart Woods. If I had to choose between Stone Barrington or Holly Barker, that would be a tough call. Both are smartly written and make for a great book. This is an excellent book, perhaps my favorite Holly Barker book. I never want to put these books down until I've reached the last page, the suspense and the action are always written so well and I need to know what happens! Excellent thrillers.
Jul 26, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
#5 in the Holly Barker series. 5th of 6 for the character before this series is subsumed into the Stone Barrington universe.

Holly Barker resigns as Orchid Beach, FL police chief and enters CIA training. Training is cut short and her class is sent to NYC to track down an ex-CIA agent who is murdering bad guys with diplomatic immunity. Holly briefly beds Stone Barrington. Will Lee has cameo as Pres.
May 15, 2015 Nancy added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shandi Leonard
Sep 17, 2015 Shandi Leonard rated it it was amazing
I love Stuart woods' books. Despite what the other reviews say I loved this book. I didn't realize it was book 5 in the series but it was still a great read. I love his stone Harrington novels and enjoyed how stone and Dino were used in this book as well. If you love mr. Woods books then please read this one, don't just bypass it because of other people's opinions!
Greer Andjanetta
Sep 09, 2014 Greer Andjanetta rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable story in this series - Holly Barker enters CIA training but her class is pulled out of training early and assigned to a NYC task force trying to capture ex CIA operative Teddy Fay who is killing Iranian diplomats in NYC who are spies or enemies of the US. A pretty standard story but quite readable.
Mar 20, 2009 Ed rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Died in the wool Stuart Woods fans
Not the best Stuart Woods has written. I actually give it two and a half stars. Less than that and I wouldn't have finished the book.

It started off great and then faded fast as I became as bored with the story as Holly Barker was with her assignment.

Holly Barker is, quite frankly, an unrealistic, unbelievable character. She's too perfect. She also always outshines everyone around her including her superiors who love her for it. Yeah, right! Just like in real life. This may be fiction but is it
Sue E Laughman
Jun 06, 2015 Sue E Laughman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I got my first Holly Barker book at my gym library. I saw the name Woods and thought It was an author I read. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading , I really enjoyed cat and mouse game. Very interesting fast paced book. I love this character.
Holly Gravel
Jan 23, 2016 Holly Gravel rated it really liked it
B Holly Barker joins CIA group in NYC looking for Terry Fay, ex-CIA, master of disguise, who has faked his death a few times. By end he still eludes them; off to St. Barts with Irene, CIA sec’y, his girlfriend; Ham, Stone Barrington and Dino.
Aug 19, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
450 LP Holly Barker has left the Florida PD and is in CIA recruit training and doing well when her whole group is sent up to NYC to hunt down Teddy Fay the retired CIA agent turned self appointed assassin of people he considers dangerous. Once thought dead, he has resurfaced and is now going after foreigners operating under diplomatic cover but really terrorists, killers and such. Lots of actions and false starts as Teddy is a master of disguise as he lead the joint CIA and FBI task force a merr ...more
Apr 24, 2014 Derry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hopeful I would like this book despite the unflattering reviews. Main character a strong woman, which I like. A fast read to see how it would all unfold, which I like. So many loose ends and didn't care for the ending, which I didn't like.
Gunnar Wiskoff
Jan 10, 2008 Gunnar Wiskoff rated it liked it
Shelves: booksiveread
In this book, Holly Barker gets selected to go to "The Farm" a CIA training center, earns a reputation there by being a sharpshooter, and standing up to an abusive superior and putting him in his place.
Her class gets pulled from "The Farm" earlier than expected to work on a case in New York City, where a former CIA operative who faked his own death was knocking off enemies of the State that had political asylum.
The book ends on a rather odd way, in that the "bad guy" gets away and moves to the C
Mar 05, 2014 G. rated it liked it
Not a favorite. Easy out ending, too many coincidences to make the plot believable. That said, I read it in 2 days, so I didn't dislike it.
Irl Newham
Feb 26, 2014 Irl Newham rated it it was amazing
Best character of this book is Teddy Fey. He is such a good character than Woods keeps him around and around.
Mar 22, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Stuart Woods is always a good read. This one was mostly about Holly, even though you get to know Teddy Faye better. I think I read the book after this first. I'd like to go back and re-read because I would know both of these characters better.

This book is about a CIA operative, Teddy Faye, who went bad by taking matters into his own hands and becoming an assassin himself. Holly, a new CIA operative, is put on the case to find him.

The CIA is not mad at Teddy Faye for killing these "loose ends",
Mar 29, 2014 Megargee rated it it was ok
I liked her better as the small town cop. The rogue CIA plot is too over the top for me.
May 06, 2010 Jenn rated it liked it
Ug, ug, ug. This series had the small town charm and some likable characters. But now Barker's in the CIA. She and her cohorts train for about 5 minutes before they're flung onto a big case to catch a guy who is basically killing the people that the CIA aren't allowed to. That's the basic message they're going for. Woods is trying to make him a sympathetic by having the CIA agree that the people he's killing need to be killed. Are you kidding me? Evidently this guy was in another of Woods series ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Judy added it
Shelves: brer-rabbit
Enjoyed Holly Barker as protagonist. Liked Stone Barrington better, for some reason.
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Stuart Woods is the author the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington series and Holly Barker series. He is an avid private pilot, flying his own jet on book tours. You may see his tour schedule and learn more about the author on his website.

More about Stuart Woods...

Other Books in the Series

Holly Barker (6 books)
  • Orchid Beach (Holly Barker, #1)
  • Orchid Blues (Holly Barker, #2)
  • Blood Orchid (Holly Barker #3)
  • Reckless Abandon (Stone Barrington, #10 Holly Barker #4)
  • Hothouse Orchid (Holly Barker, #6)

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