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Chiefs is a giant among intergenerational novels

Thanksgiving is upon us and reminds me of family gatherings. It also reminds me of the many fictional families that continue to hold our hearts. One of my favorite intergenerational sagas is Chiefs by Stuart Woods.

It is set in fictional Delano, Georgia, which I always suspected was Warm Springs, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed (The Little White House). Beginning in 1919, it follows the stories of the chiefs of police and a serial killer. If you've read other Stuart Woods novels featuring Will Lee (Grass Roots, The Run), you'll want to begin with Chiefs. It's the first and the best of his novels covering the politics, crime, and social struggles of the Lee family in the deep South.

The first chief of police of Delano is Will's grandfather, Will Henry Lee. Will Henry's son, Billy Lee, fights in World War II and returns to Delano after the war to practice law. His son is Will Lee, who eventually runs for governor of Georgia. (He also runs for president in The Run, a disappointing book when compared to Chiefs)

A mini-series was made in 1983 based on Chiefs, and I'll admit I've never watched it. Maybe someday. I strongly recommend Chiefs to those who like to read crime stories, family dramas, and southern settings.