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Orchid Beach (Holly Barker #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  6,582 ratings  ·  262 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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Community Reviews

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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
Freda Malone
Orchid Beach starts out with Holly Barker, a 38 year old female Army MP Major, charging the Provost Marshal with attempted rape. There is a quick overview of the case, and just as quickly, the Colonel is acquitted. Immediately following this story is a meeting with Holly Barker, her father, Hamilton Barker and a Vietnam army buddy of Ham's, Chet Marley. At first glance, I thought this was going to be a book about the Army and a continuous stream of attempted rape cases or rape itself. When it wa ...more
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,
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
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
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
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
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
Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods is the first book of the Holly Barker series set in contemporary Florida. Holly Barker has just retired from her military career, after losing a sexual harassment case. She dines with her father and Chet Marley, one of his best friends from combat days. Marley is chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. He's in the process of investigating his own staff, and needs a trusted right-hand assistant, so he offers Holly the job of deputy chief. She's ready for a complete ...more
May 15, 2015 Nancy added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
The story was riveting. It had me from chapter one. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. The suspense had my heart racing. I never could predict the ending and I love Daisy!!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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

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My Rating:

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 milit
I've read this book a couple of times now. It is just as good as the first time.

Holly is a character that I can really get behind and root for. She is well-rounded and I like that she doesn't fit the typical female stereotype for a main character. She is fiesty.

I really like her father, Ham. His name makes me smile every time. He is badass without coming across as cocky. He's knowledgeable and is just the right support for Holly when she needs it.

Definitely reading the other in the series.
Michelle Bacon
The first installment of Chief Holly Barker's adventures. WOW! This was an intense read. Starts off a little slow with a trial for rape that doesn't go in Holly's favor to a couple murders that sends Holly on a trail for a mole withing her ranks and a curious set up of an exclusive "living area" that is pretty much it's own little town within a town. Holly uncovers some very interesting information that drives her to investigate Palmetto Gardens just a little more.
This book had me very curious
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
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
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
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
. 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
Dec 21, 2014 Kim rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
Terry LaMont
Good and somewhat predictable

Considering how easily everything falls into place, this is still a fun, if Predictable read. Characters are somewhat shallow and not much reality to interfere with this mildly amusing book.
Laura Lavender-blackwood
A firm three star read. I originally went out of order reading the second installment first. This was a good book it cleared up a lot of stuff that I didn't understand in the second book. I truly love Holly she is a kick ass woman. I will continue the series I want to know how she handles the situation from book 2.
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.
Tara Choate
This was my first read by Stuart Woods and I was very impressed. I liked the main character, plot was brisk, and description interesting. Points off for some really foolish and bewildering scenes, but good enough to read more by this author and the series.
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Stuart Woods 9 25 Dec 25, 2012 07:49PM  
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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)

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