Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

It is 13 months after the WTC bombings in New York and John Corey, an ATTF detective, and his wife, Katherine Mayfield, an FBI agent, are on their way to Sullivan County, NY to participate in a group sky-diving challenge. Any reader of DeMille knows that it can't be that simple. As the title suggests, Asad Khalil is back in Corey's life and is willing to strike in the most inopportune moments. Let's just say Hannibal Lector is a pussy cat compared to Asad's lion.

It is hard to really give a plot summary of this novel because any description would be tantamount to giving the plot and twists away. The premise is that Khalil has returned to the United States to finish the job left undone in The Lion's Game. The Libyan terrorist is determined to eliminate all those pilots and any other accomplices who had a hand in the bombing that killed his family members that fateful night of April 15, 1986. He has nearly completed his mission with only a few remaining. It is that mission that he will attempt to accomplish on this trip to the U.S.

DeMille has penned an exciting thriller this time around. It seems much more cerebral than some of his previous novels with an extraordinary cat, make that lion, and mouse game going on between Corey and Asad Khalil. There is, of course, much violence and bloodshed, but always a twist or an unexpected turn of events, especially the ending. The action stretches from San Diego to Hollywood to Sullivan County to Manhattan and Brooklyn and keeps the reader on the edge of her seat. Corey is an irascible man, a total alpha male and a master of one-liners. He very much reminds me of the British Inspector Morse, especially with his love of alcoholic libation. In all the tenseness of the novel, there is still the occasional laugh-out-loud comeback or observation that does for a fleeting second lighten the mood. The secondary characters, those men and women of the ATTF and F.B.I are well-developed and secretive enough that the reader can't always be sure that they are on "our side."

A great read that ended too quickly.

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