A Definitive Guide to All of Stuart Woods’ Series

A Definitive Guide to Stuart Woods SeriesIn the pantheon of American mystery writers from the South, there are very few who are as prolific and well-regarded as Stuart Woods. A sociology major, Woods began his writing career penning commercials and print advertisements. His interest in sailing led to writing nonfiction about his journeys, and he was even on the Irish version of To Tell the Truth.

But it was Woods’s first novel, Chiefs, that changed things for him. It was inspired by a police chief’s badge he found in his grandmother’s home. It belonged to his grandfather, who died wearing it, several years before Woods was born. The book won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and was made into a miniseries in 1983 with Charlton Heston and John Goodman. Woods himself even had a role in it.

Since the release of Chiefs in 1981, Woods has steadily written taut thrillers full of mystery and action, and can claim over twenty-nine consecutive hardcover releases on the New York Times bestsellers list. He now has seven separate series under his belt, with a lot of character crossover between them, for a total of over 80 novels.

If you are a thriller reader who has always wanted to venture into the Woods (sorry, not sorry), or are looking for a refresher on the Stuart Woods books, here’s a quick breakdown of his different series, along with one of the best titles from each one.





Will Henry Lee starts out as a star of Woods’s first series. A police chief in Georgia, he must investigate a brutal crime. Later on in the series, it is his son, Billy Lee, a lawyer and war hero, who begins a career in politics, moving up the ranks of the government while still investigating crimes committed around him. There are seven books in this series, and Teddy Fay and Holly Barker have appeared in one book each.


Barrington is the son of a wealthy Massachusetts family. He became a New York City police officer but left after fourteen years over disagreements with his superiors. Barrington is now a lawyer and private investigator who counsels clients who are in need of a man of his discretion. There are now more than fifty novels in the Stone Barrington series! The main characters in all of the other six series have all also appeared in several of them.


Set in New Mexico, the Ed Eagle series is about a Santa Fe lawyer with a great track record for helping clients and not-so-great luck in marriage. (His wife drugs him and takes all their money in the second book.) There are four books in this series, and Rick Barron, Holly Barker, Teddy Fay have all appeared in his timeline.


Barker starts off as a small-town police chief in Orchid Beach, Florida, before becoming a CIA Special Agent a few books into the series. There are six books in the Holly Barker series and Stone Barrington and Teddy Fay have each appeared in one.


Barron is a recently demoted police detective working in Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s. Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, and Bugsy Siegel have made cameos in his series. There are two books, one of which also features Stone Barrington.


This is Woods’s first series not featuring a law-abiding citizen. Fay is ex-CIA, and a master of disguise, which he uses to get up to all kinds of not exactly legal activities. There are three books in this series and all also feature Stone Barrington.


Herbie Fisher was Stone Barrington’s protégé at the law firm, where he managed to turn his life around after winning the lottery and hiring Barrington to help him straighten his life out. This is the only book in Fisher’s series so far, which also features Stone Barrington.


Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.