Successful Hollywood movie producer Wolf Willettis stunned when he happens to read his own New York Times obituary--victim of a sordid triple homicide amid a steamy meage a trois with his young bride and best friend. Who's the corpse? Who wants him dead? And why has Wolf blacked out the entire evening of the grisly crime?
Unfortunatly, the Santa Fe D.A. thinks Wolf has all the answers. With the means, the motive and an inexplicable memory loss, he is promptly arrested--star suspect in a murder case that's making headlines from coast to coast. Then another murder complicates the scenario. With help from hot shot criminal attorney Ed Eagle and with New Mexico's death penalty as an incentive, Wolf races to clear his name--and dodge the real killer--in this thrilling novel of mazes, mystery and murder.
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.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 14, 1993
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Excerpt from Santa Fe Rules by Stuart Woods
Wolf Willett remembered too late that Flaps had always had a cold nose. Now it found the back of his neck, and with a girlish shriek, Wolf sat bolt upright in bed and regarded her with bleary eyes. There was only a faint glow of daylight from outside.
"Got me again, didn't you?" he said to her.
Flaps grinned. This grin had always been one of her great charms, and it did not fail to do its work now.
Wolf melted. "Time to get up, huh?"
Flaps laid her head in his lap and grinned again, looking up at him with big brown eyes.
"Right now?" he asked, teasing her.
Right now, she replied, thumping her tail against the bed for emphasis.
"All right, all right." He moaned and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
Flaps celebrated her triumph with a little golden retriever dance, throwing in a couple of squeals of happiness.
"Okay," Wolf said, standing up, "but me first." He headed for the bathroom, but somehow one leg seemed shorter than the other; he missed the bathroom door and bumped into the wall. "Whoof," he said to Flaps. "What did I have to drink last night?" He shook his head and stretched his eyes wide open, but the dizziness, not an unpleasant sensation, remained. He groped his way into the bathroom, using the walls for support, and peed, holding on to the toilet with one hand.
Flaps rewarded him with a little kiss on the ass.
"Jesus!" he screamed, jumping away and grabbing the sink for support. "You really know how to wake a guy up, don't you?"
Flaps grinned and did her little dance.
"Just a minute, all right?" He splashed some water on his face, brushed his teeth too quickly, and tossed down a couple of vitamin C's with a glass of very cold water from the tap. He grabbed a bathrobe from the hook on the door and headed back to the bedroom in search of slippers. He was navigating better now, but as he proceeded out of the bedroom and across the living room he found himself moving slightly sideways, crablike, in order to maintain his course. Light was creeping across the valley below the house, across the suburbs of Santa Fe, but the interior of the house was still dimly lit, and in the kitchen he turned on the lights, squinting against the glare.
Flaps waited impatiently for him to get coffee started, then watched, rapt, as he poured her a dish of dry dog food. She ate daintily, as befitted her gender, while he got an English muffin into the toaster and rounded up butter and jam. He drank directly from a plastic container of fresh orange juice and returned it to the refrigerator, sighing as the sweet juice made its way down.
"Want to go out now?" he asked her.
To his surprise, she trotted across the room and scratched on the door that led to the guest wing of the house.
"That's not the back door, dummy," he railed at her, shaking his head. "It's this way, remember? The way you've gone out every day of your life?"
She scratched on the guest wing door again.
Wolf kept that part of the house closed and unheated until a guest arrived. "I think you must be as hung over as I am this morning." He slapped his thigh and whistled softly.
Reluctantly, Flaps followed him to the outside kitchen door and, when he opened it, bounded outside.