Plum Island was my very first DeMille read and the author hooked me from the get-go on wise-ass, ex-NYPD detective John Corey. Without giving too much away (because this isn’t a book report) the opening scene finds Corey staring out over water contemplating his future with both his gun and drink at his side.
He’s convalescing from three slugs kindly administered to him back in NY because knowing Corey, the guy just probably pissed off somebody to the point only hot lead would make him stop. In this introduction to the detective, Corey gets roped into an investigation by a wily sheriff who is investigating the murder of two Plum Island scientists Corey knew as friends. For his troubles, Corey is now considering his three-quarter “retirement” from the NYPD because he’s getting paid an astronomical sum; $1.
Follow Corey as he begins to discover clues, makes up a few of his own along the way which generally pisses everyone off, including the sheriff who “hired” him, the rest of the task force and a CIA Agent assigned to the case. Problem is the guy is just as arrogant and brash as the NYPD detective. Two Alpha males on the same case just never works. Along the fun read, Corey snaps off funny one liners in the face of death, begins to discover what happened to his friends which includes some pirate frolicking and, of course falls for a female detective. There’s only one problem. Well, there’s a bunch of them, but the funniest one is that CIA Ted has his sneaky eyes on the perky Detective Beth Pemrose also.
Through my binoculars, I could see this nice forty-something-foot cabin cruiser anchored a few hundred yards offshore. There were two thirtyish couples abroad, having a merry old time, sunbathing, banging down brews and whatever. The women had on teensey-weensey little bottoms and no tops, and one of the guys was standing on the bow, and he slipped off his trunks and stood there a minute hanging hog, then jumped in the bay and swam around the boat. What a great country. I put down my binoculars and popped a Budweiser.
It was late summer, not meaning late August, but meaning September, before the autumnal equinox. Labor Day weekend had gone, and Indian summer was coming, whatever that is.
I, John Corey by name, convalescing cop by profession, was sitting on my uncle’s back porch, deep in a wicker chair with shallow thoughts running through my mind. It occurred to me that the problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you’re finished.
The porch is an old-fashioned wraparound, circling three sides of an 1890s Victorian farmhouse, all shingle and gingerbread, turrets, gables, the whole nine yards. From where I sat, I could see south across a sloping green lawn to the Great Peconic Bay. The sun was low on the western horizon, which was where it belonged at 6:45 P.M. I’m a city boy, but I was really getting into the country stuff, the sky and all that, and I finally found the Big Dipper a few weeks ago.
I was wearing a plain white T-shirt and cutoff jeans that used to fit before I lost too much weight. My bare feet were propped on the rail, and between my left and right big toes was framed the aforementioned cabin cruiser.
About this time of day you can start to hear crickets, locusts, and who knows what, but I’m not a big fan of nature noises so I had a portable tape player beside me on the end table with The Big Chill cranking, and the Bud in my left hand, the binoculars in my lap, and lying on the floor near my right hand was my off-duty piece, a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver with a two-inch barrel which fit nicely in my purse. Just kidding.
If you enjoy Hardroc, just check out Corey once.
As of 2-14-13 I’m on page 937 of 1333 pages on my IPad.
As in all of my reviews, I feel less is better. While other reviewers almost give you the entire book so that reading it becomes anticlimactic, I will never do that. I will tantalize you with tidbits of what I read and felt and let you use your imagination from there.
Now, on to The Panther by Nelson DeMille.
While DeMille is one of my favorite authors and I am an avid fan of his most famous protagonist John Corey, DeMille’s The Panther is like quicksand. A long tedious read without the rockum sockum shoot first, and ask questions later action that I’m used to reading DeMille’s main character. The Panther takes place first of all in Yemen, the asshole of the earth as Corey calls it, but that’s not what sticks in my craw about The Panther. While the area is dangerous, DeMille goes out of his way to tell you this until you almost want to cry uncle. Meanwhile, if you do not respect DeMille, you probably put the book down and go play Angry Birds. More action there.
Not what I wanted.
In earlier reads, Corey describe’s himself as, “a man of action”.
However, not in The Panther.
I’m used to Corey in dangerous situations where he not only has to use his intelligence and .45 to blast his way out, but employing that sarcastic wit of his to antagonize an adversary while he’s ridding the world of him.
Very little of that in The Panther so far . . .
to be continued…..
Finished The Panther while in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.
I know, I know. I should have been doing anything else on such a gorgeous beach but you can’t snorkel at night. At least, I can’t. Not yet anyway. Anyway, back to the review. The action finally takes place, but lukewarm at best. Personally, I felt the ending was not quite DeMille’s best effort. In my opinion, and we all have one, so take it for what it is worth, which comes from a guy with very little published against one who has over 20 books. But hey, I’m a reader just like you and I know what I like and dislike. DeMille could have cut the book by at least 75-100 pages. As aforementioned, the end of the book was actually anticlimactic and it felt contrived; written quickly as if DeMille just wanted to end the book and go snokeling…at night.
The Panther maybe one of his longest novels, but definitely not one of DeMille’s best efforts.