I’m often puzzled by the contemporary craving for instant need/want fulfillment. The media types seem to have turned the American populace into trained monkeys, clamoring for a seat at a new movie the first day it’s released or signing to get a publication-day copy of the latest book so you can be the first to review it Amazon.
Hey, I don’t get it. I’ll confine these comments moving forward to books, which I see as timeless in the sense that they’re always a good read whenever you’re ready to read them. Like my reading Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics fourteen years after it was published. It was still brand new to me. Sometimes a book has to wait for me to be in the proper frame of mind and/or state of emotional receptiveness for it. So I wait, like I’m waiting to be up for reading When the Crawdaddy Sings. It awaits on my bookshelf.
Another novel on my bookshelf has been the subject of my attention at least five times over the past few years. I love it each time I’m in the mood to read it, but due to its length and depth it has to wait for me. The really great thing is, it’s such a good story that I remember everything I’ve read with near-perfect recall. I have another 150 or so pages to go; you’ll read a review of it here pretty soon.
All by way of prefacing my review today of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey series, which he began publishing in 1997. I’ve always enjoyed reading DeMille novels (none of which come readily to mind at the moment) because he is an excellent writer and storyteller. Period. I think the ones I’ve read previously were standalones, while there are seven John Corey novels. So with all due respect and deference, I decided to begin listening to his John Corey novels with the first book, Plum Island.
I became so engrossed with Corey that I immediately followed Plum Island with Audible books two and three, The Lion’s Game and Night Fall. (do note ‘night’ and ‘fall’ are two separate words for a purpose.) Having the additional pleasure of listening to Scott Brick doing the voiceover work (the stories are told by Corey in the first person), his character came effortlessly to life.
Each novel’s story stands on its own, but stories are progressively interconnected and in this respect quite similar to John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport novels, which are also great reads. There is a special energy emanating from watching the plot progress from watching over the main character’s shoulder—and especially when you can crawl into his thoughts and feelings and experience the many different nuances of his character and personality. In this respect, DeMille excels over Sandford: John Carey is an unapologetic woman-loving misogynist, a damned smart cop, and a guy with a great sense of humor, yet one whose instincts prevail if he doesn’t like a guy, all portrayed by Brick in Corey’s self-deprecating, somewhat emotionally immature, self-talk.
Thanks to Brick’s immersion in his character, I felt what John felt, from his angst in recovering from getting shot to the exquisite self-torture over the woman-women?-woman-with whom he fell in love. For me, Scott is John. I’m particularly pleased to know that Mr. Brick narrates all seven of the Corey novels. If he didn’t, it would be sorta like having your third-grade teacher leave halfway through the year.
I’m starting volume four, Wild Fire, next week. I have a nice, long road trip to see an old Air Force buddy and John Corey will be a good companion on the drive. Read ‘em or listen to ‘em, this is a great series that is also very much of its times. DeMille skillfully weaves John Corey into the tapestry of our terrorism-addled lives.