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Publisher: Signet (September 6, 2005)
Run Before the Wind was a great sophomore novel by Stuart Woods following his Edgar Award winning Chiefs. If anything the development of the Lee family and in particular young Will was a risky undertaking because he already had set very high expectation of the Lee's in Chiefs. Stuart could have just left well enough alone.
Run Before the Wind is a mystery / adventure novel rolled into a coming of age story about a young man who knows enough about himself to know to think he knows his faults but not enough to realize what his strengths are yet. As the Run Before the Wind opens Will is sitting in the dean's office, called on the carpet for smoking pot and generally under performing when it came to academics. Will is coasting through life and seemingly content to get by on looks and charm instead of work.
Upon being informed that he will not be permitted to return to law school in the fall Will tap dances for his parents and manages to convince them that he is going to take a year off and see Europe. As it is not an uncommon thing for young people to do, Will's parents buy the story and let him go. First Will ventures out to the old country to visit his grandfather in Ireland where he meets Connie a beautiful, wholesome girl (where would a story go without that) and becomes involved with her. Despite some moderately detailed plans to visit the continent Will ends up in a coastal town preventing a yacht from destroying the royal yacht and meeting an engaging couple who are building a boat and willing to give a young traveler with yachting experience a lift.
In some ways this is also an historical novel taking place during the Vietnam period and when the IRA and various splinter groups were active and enthusiastic in targeting their enemies. The mercurial nature of young men and their lusts the ease with which fair weather relationships can be formed and the evolving character of Will Lee all make for a fantastic story from start to finish. Stuart Woods is a spectacular story teller and Run Before the Wind is a worth addition to any mystery fan's library.