It’s always a pleasure to find a Nelson DeMille in the charity bookshop, and this one was excellent. The main characters are Paul Brenner and Cynthia Sunhill, who are military investigators (the former for homicide, the latter for rape). Their back-story includes an affair in Zurich when they last met and the love/hate relationship resulting from that continues throughout the book.
There are many serious issues raised by this book (such as the role of women in the army and the cover-up of crime in order to avoid bringing the army into disrepute). The author gives Paul Brenner most of the narrative, though, and he is arguably not a character to investigate those bigger issues. His own concern is to find the guilty party and extricate himself and his career from the scene. As ever with books by DeMille, Brenner’s sense of humour and character have much in common with his regular hero, John Corey.
I’ve written before that DeMille has written several one-off books which are terrific, as well as his John Corey series. This book is another one-off, introducing Frank Purcell, Henry Mercado and Vivian Smith. They are journalists/photographer following the war in Ethiopia in the 1970’s, and this book follows their quest to find the Holy Grail after it’s existence is revealed to them by a dying priest.
The story behind the book is itself fascinating – apparently, DeMille wrote it as a contemporary novel early in this career, but decided to re-write and re-publish it in 2013. The narrative is unmistakably by his hand, and there’s more than a hint of the character of John Corey in Frank Purcell. I’d be interested to know whether the original book had Purcell enjoying the same sense of humour or if that’s part of the re-write.
As with other DeMille books, this one is a book to relish rather than a page-turning thriller. It’s about enjoying the journey – and that seems appropriate for a book called The Quest.
This John Corey thriller from Nelson DeMille has all the usual ingredients to make a great read – thrust Corey into a highly pressured world where gun play is the norm; include his wife, the lovely Kate Mayfield, to offset the crass and politically incorrect commentary from Corey; throw in an arch-villain as the nemesis for this adventure; finesse with conspiracy theories regarding Corey’s historical emnity with the CIA. The scene setting in Yemen was vivid and had the hallmarks of DeMille’s attention to detail, and yet, this book over-stayed its welcome by a couple of hundred pages.
This is another John Corey novel by Nelson DeMille. What I admire about DeMille is that he’s written a couple of brilliant, one-off books set during the Cold War (The Charm School, The Talbot Odyssey) as well as this modern day series about a semi-retired NYPD detective with a sharp, though politically incorrect, sense of humour. This title has many of the signature John Corey features: struggle against the reach and might of the FBI/CIA; grapple with mortal enemy Ted Nash; call on NYPD contacts for off-the-books investigations; act like a jerk but still win the heart of the lovely Kate Mayfield. But it’s also based on a true story, the crash of flight TWA 800, and DeMille handles that with sensitivity whilst telling his own fictional story alongside the true horror of the crash.