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Orchid Beach (Holly Barker #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  5,795 ratings  ·  243 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Stuart Woods delivers a riveting thriller that introduces an exciting addition to the pantheon of fictional sleuths. Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, attractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a military cop for the badge of deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. But below th ...more
Paperback, 406 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by HarperPrism (first published 1998)
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The Demarcation of Jack by Dana BennettThe Beach by Alex GarlandDelicious Desires by Jackie WilliamsTreasured Dreams by Jackie WilliamsJaws by Peter Benchley
Takes you away...to the beach
65th out of 234 books — 189 voters
One for the Money by Janet EvanovichThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Cozy Mystery Series
370th out of 458 books — 1,365 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melissa
Nov 13, 2007 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not necessarily anyone yet
Shelves: mysteries
This is the first book in the Holly Barker series which has potential, but I'm not convinced of it yet. What really put me off was the overwhelming theme of sex-gone-bad. When the book starts, the military police officer Holly has just lost a sexual harassment case against her boss, a General, I believe. It even got to the point where he had apparently tried to rape her. But now she's moving on...until in her new role as Deputy Sheriff (or something like that), she stumbles upon a big mystery... ...more
Catten
Stuart Woods has been knocking out suspense fiction for awhile now; I believe Orchid Beach made number 19 in the fiction category for him. If you’re looking for another mystery author to add to your list, don’t miss this one.

Woods has a clever way with setting, and the small island community in Florida called Orchid Beach is very tangible. As characters visit different parts of the town, the reader is given a good look at the location and its recognizable features.

The plot swerves delightfully,
...more
Kerry
Because I have read a later books with this character in it (Holly Barker) it was nice to go back and read from the beginning to see what she's all about and where she came from. I have two more Holly Barker books to read before catching up to the ones I've already read. My first Holly Barker book was one where she appeared in one of the Stone Barrington character books. I'm looking forward to reading the other two Barker books now - funny how the author did that (to introduce her and hook all t ...more
Lyndsy
I like the main character, Holly Barker. It's nice to see him write a female lead character. Woods does an okay job building up her character, but I dislike how quickly things move for her with respect to some aspects of her personal life. It's missing a bit of development. Of course, these aren't romance novels, but if you're going to throw it in, do it right.

I also really like that her dad's a part of the books. I think it'll add some fun people dynamics to it. Parents ALWAYS complicate things
...more
Kim
The first 100 pages I found somewhat boring. Everything worked out too neatly and conveniently. I didn’t understand the characters from an emotional stand point. It was if they just said “Oh, that’s sad. Let’s take just a moment and now we are over it.” If a good friend died then I couldn’t move into their house that same day.

I have issues with Holly. The book starts out with her accusing someone of sexual harassment. Then, later she is almost raped. Another woman is raped and way too many deta
...more
Paula
Great story and characters by Woods, as usual. His books are always a good read, and I really liked this new character. The dog is pretty cool too. I don't want to give anything away, but the tail end of this book was quite shocking (to me), and I totally didn't see it coming. It left me feeling kind of sad and betrayed ... like, Hey, Stuart, was that really necessary?! However, I enjoyed the writing more than enough to read subsequent books in the series, all of which are a great escape. Woods ...more
Vonn New
I enjoyed Police Chief Holly Barker's straight-forward communication style but the plot lacked subtlety and the characters were predictable. Daisy, the dog, had the potential to be a more interesting character, but was never developed. Because I have family who live near the geographic location of Orchid Beach, I was interested in the way the setting would be portrayed. The author missed his opportunity to describe the cloying heat, the smells of the marsh, the sounds along Jungle Trail, and gen ...more
NayNay
Lets start by saying I love Stuart Woods Stone Barrington series, now that said lets talk ORCHID BEACH. The plot progresses quickly with hardly a moment to catch your breath, it was a fast paced mystery, the setting was appealing, and the best is Daisy, Holly's dog, the animal actually adds humour to the story. But what I feel is that Woods is trying to make Holly the female version of Stone.
All-in-all the story went from A to B, solid mystery, good characters. I think ORCHID BEACH qualifies as
...more
tomlinton
The style almost stopped me
early in the opening
but once the story took hold
who paid attention
to style
It's a page turner
made more interesting
because I've been along that road
through connected barrier islands
although I never quite found
that fabled compound
Terry Odell
Picked this up after reading a bunch of Stone Barrington books to see how Woods handled writing a female protagonist. He didn't. Story had some interest, but the writing was flat.
Andrea Corley
Title: Orchid Beach
Author: Stuart Woods
Narrator: Debra Monk
Length: Unabridged; 5 hours 29 minutes
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: August 1998
Genres: Fiction; Mystery

Visit my review/blog HERE!

My Rating: ✮✮✮✮

Synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Stuart Woods delivers a riveting thriller that introduces an exciting addition to the pantheon of fictional sleuths.
Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, attractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a m
...more
Tom Barnes

Holly Barker grew up as a military brat, got hooked on her father’s trade and climbed through the military ranks and OCS to major in charge of a military police division. Her immediate superior, a West Point grad, tried to woo the attractive major and when that didn’t work he attempted to rape her.
Holly filed harassment and attempted rape charges but lost out to the old boy’s and West Point collegiality club.
Holly retired from the army and was hired by an old army buddy of her father’s as Deput
...more
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
Synopsis: Smart, attractive, and fiercely independent, Major Holly Barker, the army-brat daughter of a master sergeant, has been forced into early retirement at thirty-seven as the result of a scandalous sexual harassment case. With the help of her father, she makes the move to civilian life, becoming deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida, a small beach town.

But below the calm, sunny surface of this sleepy, well-to-do coastal island city lies a web of evil and deceit that escalates whe
...more
Will
Jun 09, 2013 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
1st Holly Barker novel; Palmetto Gardens Part I. Holly survives the courts martial acquittal of COL Bruno, retires from the Army and accepts Deputy Police Chief job in Orchid Beach. Her boss Chet is murdered the night before she starts work, and she knows there is a mole in the department but nothing else. She quickly watches as an arrest is made for the murder and then flops, and starts boning the defense counsel Jackson. She begins to suspect that her troubles are linked to an exclusive develo ...more
Karschtl
When looking for some reading material for my new eReader, I came across this book. Since I already have another book from this series, I thought I should first read the first part (I hate reading book series not in the chronological order).

Stuart Woods doesn't bother with much foreplay, he throws you right into the action. Holly Barker leaves the army after she loses the trial against her boss who sexually harrassed her and takes on a job as a deputy police chief in a small town in Florida. And
...more
Marty
. Major Holly Barker, discouraged after loosing a sexual harassment case, retires from the Marine Corps. She had been in military police and in charge of a large detachment of MPS in the Marine Corps. One of her father’s old marine buddies was now the police chief of Orchid Beach, Florida, and offers her the position of Vice Chief of the small town. He told her that he suspected that there was a leak in his force and that he did not trust some of his offiers. On her arrival she finds the chief h ...more
Kim
Liked the plot and the characters, some aspects of the writing were not well edited. There are some dialogue 'exchanges' that were very hard to follow. Also, he says several times that he no longer does very much research for any of his books, and I would have to say it shows, particularly with the dog training aspects. I would have expected at least some consultation with someone who trains IPO/Schutzhund to give feedback on whether the dog behaves as it should. NOT very believable. But still a ...more
Kelly
Up until recently, I have gone out of my way to avoid reading series; for some reason, it always seemed like some huge commitment to me, and kind of a pain to have to start with #1 and then go in order (or else risk missing out on something). So for that reason, I'm just now getting around to some of these popular series that a lot of people I know already read a long time ago. I have a lot of catching up to do!

I would give this one a solid 3.5 stars if I could. It was an easy, relaxing read, an
...more
Tim Mcgurrin
This was the first Woods book i read and i really enjoyed it. Holly Barker is a great protagonist, surrounding by interesting characters like her dad Ham and her beer fetching dog Daisy. The case is interesting though a bit far-fetched. It was a good introduction to the series, and i'm anxious to find more Woods books.
Mary Lou
Written in 1998 and read by me in June 2014. I read it (381 pages) in 2 days. Stuart Woods wrote a very active tale that had me always wanting to know what happens next. I don't feel like I learned anything new but I was entertained.
Ellen Moore
I enjoyed this mystery and hope to read more by this author. I liked the female police officer and main character, and the plot moved quickly. It was well written and kept my interest throughout. I consider this a good read.
Rose Davies
Fun enjoyable quick read

This was a fun story with typical heroine and character development but the outcome kept you guessing who. what and why?
Greer Andjanetta
Another enjoyable series from SW begins with this book with yet another new set of likeable characters, glamorous settings and an interesting story.
Kevin
A friend turned me on to Stuart Woods a while back and I was thoroughly enjoying the Stone Barrington series. While recently perusing the library shelves, I came across Orchid Beach and checked to see what series it was. (I am a huge stickler for reading book or seeing movie series in order. I hate picking up in the middle of a story.)

I was pleased to find out that Orchid Beach was the first in the Holly Barker series. I must say, I loved Holly. I thought that I loved the Stone series, but after
...more
Joseph Aul
I wasn't sure after reading other reviews if I should even start the book. But I did....and I liked it. Granted...it all seemed to fall into place too easily but it truly wasn't a bad story at all.
Steve
re-read 1-12-2015

no record when I first read it.
This book introduces Daisy.
Holly becomes chief of police.
Adrienne
The mystery itself was pretty good, but the story overall was too corny and light hearted for my taste.
Nancy Wiltgen
Woods introduces Holly Barker as the assistant chief of police in Orchid Beach in this fun read. The story is fast-paced with interesting characters, so although the plot is somewhat far-fetched I liked the book and look forward to reading the next one in this series.
Jeff
Comparing this to the Stone Barrington series I just read--I have to say I liked this one better. Not bogged down too much by procedurals, it was nice to find a well written female character in a position of power who wasn't dumb or blonde. Holly barker reminds me of the Kate Beckett character from castle without all the drama about the love triangle. Spoiler wise--HB jumps into bed almost right away. The ending was a little stretched out for me, and tied up well in a neat little bow, but it was ...more
Mary Stenvall
I really liked Chiefs so tried this one. It was okay, not as good as Chiefs. Will try another of his books.
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Stuart Woods 9 25 Dec 25, 2012 07:49PM  
  • Dead of Night
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  • The Harry Bosch Novels, Volume 2: The Last Coyote / Trunk Music / Angels Flight (Harry Bosch, #4-6)
  • Open and Shut
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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 Blues (Holly Barker, #2)
  • Blood Orchid (Holly Barker #3)
  • Reckless Abandon (Stone Barrington, #10 Holly Barker #4)
  • Iron Orchid (Holly Barker, #5)
  • Hothouse Orchid (Holly Barker, #6)
New York Dead (Stone Barrington, #1) Blood Orchid (Holly Barker #3) L.A. Dead (Stone Barrington, #6) Lucid Intervals (Stone Barrington, #18) Dead in the Water (Stone Barrington, #3)

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