cover image Santa Fe Rules

Santa Fe Rules

Stuart Woods. HarperCollins Publishers, $20 (303pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017963-2

You're a rich, successful Hollywood producer who awakens the morning before Thanksgiving in your Santa Fe home with no memory of the previous night. Ignoring your dog's attempts to get you to visit the guest wing of the house, you leave and fly your private plane to Los Angeles. But you never get there: a breakdown forces you to spend the holiday isolated in a small airport town. When you finally see the newspaper the next day, you read that the bodies of your wife, your business partner and a third man--assumed to be you--have been found in the guest room of the Santa Fe residence. Further, you learn that your wife is not who you thought she was and has a most sleazy past. You don't know what's going on--or even whether you committed the murders yourself. That's the premise of Woods's ( Palindrome ) newest thriller. Wolf Willett decides to stay ``dead'' for a while and finish work on his new film, then hires a top defense attorney and turns himself in. Things keep moving thereafter at the same mad pace, with ever more improbable plot twists pushing the reader's suspension of disbelief to the limit--if not beyond. Willett may be the dumbest protagonist any writer will create this year. Woods is a master of this sort of thing, however, and unfolds his tale in an easy style that will keep readers engrossed and probably put his name on the bestseller lists again. 75,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild selections; Literary Guild alternate; author tour. (June)