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Orchid Beach

(Holly Barker #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  11,099 ratings  ·  452 reviews
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stuart Woods delivers a riveting thriller that introduces his first female protagonist, Deputy Chief of Police Holly Barker.

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. Bu
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Harper (first published November 4th 1998)
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Donne Knudsen I'm going to second Ellen's recommendation of Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie crime/detective series. LOVE IT!!! Huge fan!!! I love that the main stor…moreI'm going to second Ellen's recommendation of Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie crime/detective series. LOVE IT!!! Huge fan!!! I love that the main storyteller is Chet the dog in his hilarious dog perspective and mentality.

I'm also going to recommend Emily Kimelman's Sydney Rye mystery/thriller series with Sydney and her dog Blue. The series comes from Sydney's perspective but Blue is her constant companion and crime fighting partner.(less)

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  11,099 ratings  ·  452 reviews

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Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
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,
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
It's been a number of years since I read this series so I decided to go back and see how Holly Barker started out. She's a major in the Army's Military Police but when she loses a sexual harassment suit she's filed against her boss, she knows her career is over. She accepts a job as Deputy Police Chief in Orchid Beach Florida under her dad's old pal Chet Marley,.

When she arrives in Orchid Beach she discovers that he has been shot and is in critical condition. Holly heads out to meet Chet's clos
Tony Hisgett
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, review, mystery
The book starts well and it looked like ‘Holly’ was going to be an interesting character, but it didn’t take long before she began to worry me.
(view spoiler)
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, now I understand what is the meaning to read a book in one seating. I started the book at 18:30 and finished it at 02:25. I am a slow reader, but the booked sucked me in from the first sentence.
I was browsing through a bookshelf that I usually don't look for books, but this time Orchid Beach did captivate me. It is my first Stuart Woods book, but it indeed isn't my last, and as I saw he has a lot of books.
Holly is a solid female character, mainly working in a very patriarchal type of wor
Pierre Tassé
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book to read. Stuart Woods came up with a good story line and lots of entertaining and complex plot lines. I thought he use of military/police and the introduction of Holly into his Stone Barrington series has made the web that much more interesting. I did not know the Holly Series existed but it has been around for a while.
It would do you good to read Holly #1 as you start the Barrington series. I have enjoyed both. I am anxious to see where Holly actually gets involved with Sto
I liked it alot first book i read from this person
Cecily Kyle
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I first started this novel, I really was worried that I was not going to like it. The cover really didn't give me much of an impression and I had chose it just because it fit a challenge that I was working on.
Well I was pleasantly surprised with Holly Barker, I love her take no prisoners attitude. I liked that she was both soft and likable, but can lead a group of powerful people. People seem to underestimate her and it always seems to give her the advantage!! And the dog! Though dobermans
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Orchid Beach is the first book in Stuart Woods' "Holly Barker police/murder series. I've been a fan of Stuart Woods way back to the first book I read of his, Chiefs, Under the Lake and White Cargo, in the 1980's. I really like Woods' writing style and the characters in his books. I think I developed my love of high energy and edgy police/crime mysteries from reading Stuart Woods, Ed McBain and Robert B. Parker.
So, I highly recommend you check out Stuart Woods' numerous series and novels at: htt
Likes: Holly (good female protagonist)
Daisy (police chief’s dog)
Small plane scene
Dislikes: well .. guess l’ll focus on the likes.
[Writing was a bit too stark for me.]

Interesting as I am reading the Andy Carpenter series that involves a female
ex-police officer in relationship with a defense attorney.
Holly’s DA is Jackson Oxenhandler.
(I did not believe how quickly that happened in the story .. considering the why of her army retirement.)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2018
This was my first Stuart Wood book and I absolutely loved it. I was guessing all the way up to the last few chapters. I cant wait to keep reading more of his books!!!
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wom-reads
When I first picked up the book I wasn't sure what to think, but the more I read on the more interesting it got. I ended up enjoying it. Good start to a series.
It was refreshing to read about a female lead character that was tough, smart & has her shit together.
Good character development, good storyline (which I can see happening), characters fit well together & good locale. This was my first read by Mr. Woods & I will continue with the series.
Enjoyed this once I got used to the female narrator
Good journey that led to an unremarkable ending
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading Stuart Woods books rather a long time ago, after I had read many of them from the library at one point, but since I was looking for some new crime fiction (e.g. police procedurals are my favorite), I came across the Holly Barker series, by Stuart Woods, and thought "why not?".
Honestly, I really enjoyed Orchid Beach. It had many compelling elements that kept me reading & listening to the audio.
I like the character of Holly Barker, a former MP in the army, who reached the rank o
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, series-thriller
In Stuart Woods's Orchid Beach, the first installment in the Holly Barker thriller series, this tale would raise your eyebrows and make your hold your breath. After Holly Barker retires from the military, she receives an offer to help out a family friend, Sheriff Chet Marley from the Orchid Beach PD down in Florida. He has some suspicious information he wanted to tell her. But when she arrives in Orchid Beach, as his deputy sheriff, she later learns that he's been shot and in a coma. As the new ...more
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: ✮✮✮✮

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
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Kathy Lewis
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fast read. Really silly when you think about it. There is a murder. The body removed and cremated and house emptied and sold....all in 24 hours. That happens a couple of times. Anyway, the book is good and keeps you reading no matter how unrealistic it is. But who cares? It is entertainment. Cant wait to read the next in the series. I have never read any of Wood's series books. I have only read Chiefs and it was so good, I went in search of more Stuart Woods works. Just remember, if you are in l ...more
Vonn New
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Holly Barker has extensive military background training not reflected in her repeatedly dimwitted actions as the Chief of Police. Romance transition is lacking; story line good; plot flimsy at best; fast pace enjoyable. Loved Daisy the dog!
Terry Odell
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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. ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first of the Holly Barker series. A thriller and I never new who to trust through the entire book.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
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!!
Great start to this series!
Jenny Mandeville
Great storyline, will definitely read more in this series!
Entertaining book. Need to get the next one.
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Looking for Similar Authors 1 3 Aug 02, 2017 10:42AM  
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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.

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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