Will Lee is the main character in the Will Lee series of books by American novelist Stuart Woods. Chiefs, published in 1981 is the first novel in the series that features the Will Lee character. The series of novels by Woods are generally regarded as detective thriller mysteries.
Order of Will Lee Series
|2||Run Before the Wind||1983|
Will Lee is a Georgia senator and ex-police chief from capital crimes who ends up the president of the United States. The book series begins with the city council of Delano choosing Will Lee, a farmer as its police chief. While completely inexperienced as a police officer, Lee is honest and dedicated to serve his city.
Chiefs, the first novel begins at a great tempo with Woods maintaining the twists and turns for the entire book that spans a period of about four decades. Immediately after Lee’s appointment as police chief, a body of an unidentified teenager is found within the city boundaries. While, there is no evidence to suggest a homicide, the body has all the trademarks that point to a ritual beating.
It is now up to the failed cotton farmer turned Delano police chief to crack the case. What follows is a narrative of Will’s obsession in solving a crime that spans four decades, and three police chiefs that take the mantle after him. A great story, it shows the great narrative prowess of Woods which won him the Edgar Award for Best First Novel with his very first book.
WILL LEE AWARDS
The first and most popular of the Will Lee series of novels, Chiefs won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1983.
WILL LEE BOOKS INTO TV/MOVIES
Chiefs and Grass Roots of the Will Lee series are the only Stuart Woods books to be made into TV series. In 1992, CBS working with Woods adapted Grass Roots into a four part TV miniseries aired in the same year. This was not the first time that CBS was adapting a Will Lee novel into a series as the popularity of the first Will Lee novel Chiefs, had resulted in its adaptation into a TV series of the same name in 1983. Stuart was the writer of the script for Chiefs with Charles Heston cast as Will Lee. Chiefs the TV miniseries was nominated for the Eddie and Emmy Awards, massively popularizing the paperback version of the novel. Fans can now catch the Chiefs miniseries on Netflix catalogue. Woods was also involved in the scripting of Grass Roots that he co-wrote with Derek Marlowe, with Corbin Bernesen reprising the role of Will Lee.
BEST WILL LEE BOOKS
As the critically acclaimed novel that was made into an award-winning movie, Chiefs is generally considered the most brilliant work of the Will Lee series. Lee’s obsession with a murder mystery and the story that ultimately stretches through the decades makes for some gripping reading.
The fourth book in the Will Lee series, Grass Roots is one of the most highly regarded. Now a prominent lawyer, Will Lee has come back to his hometown of Delano to plan his run for a senate seat. However, his views on a controversial case could potentially throw a spanner in the works, and kill his young political career before it has even taken began. A mysterious racist group known as The Elect controls the city, and will do anything to ensure he does not win the senate race. Nonetheless, Lee has never been one to back down from a fight. He is determined to take them on even if he risks losing his career or even his life.
The second book of the Will Lee series, Run Before the Wind is another fan favorite. After running away from a life of privilege and wealth to spend a peaceful vacation in Ireland, trouble manages to find him yet again. A series of gruesome killings in his peaceful city drags Will Lee right back into the game. He now finds himself facing a gang spreading terror and bloody murder in the quest for revenge against him and others who dare interfere with their plots.
OTHER BOOK SERIES YOU MAY LIKE
Many fans of the Will Lee series of novels also enjoy the “Ben Kincaid” series of novels by William Bernhardt’s. Kincaid is an Oklahoma defense attorney obsessed with the lofty ideals of justice, who goes against wealth, corruption, and power. Will Lee fans also like the “Kate Shackleton” series of novels by Frances Brody. Kate is a World War I widow turned amateur sleuth with an extraordinary knack for solving the most complex of puzzles.