Tag Archives: nelson demille

A good book — The Capitol Game

I just finished a pretty good book, The Capitol Game, which is the latest from thriller author Brian Haig. The summary from the fly-leaf describes the plot as well as I can.

“It was the deal of the decade, if not the century. A small, insignificant company on the edge of bankruptcy had discovered an alchemist’s dream; a miraculous polymer, that when coated on any vehicle, was the equivalent of 30 inches of steel…Jack Wiley, a successful Wall Street banker, believes he has a found a dream come true when he mysteriously learns of this miraculous polymer. His plan: enlist the help of the Capitol Group, one of the country’s largest and most powerful corporations in a quick, bloodless takeover of the small company that developed the polymer. It seems like a partnership made in heaven…until the Pentagon’s investigative service begins nosing around, and the deal turns into a nightmare…”

I have been a Brian Haig fan since I read his first novel, Secret Sanction, several years ago. The Capitol Game is Haig’s eighth book. While he has never achieved the acclaim of a Nelson DeMille or John Grisham, his books are just as entertaining. The protagonist in his first several novels is an Army JAG lawyer, Sean Drummond. If you overlooked the books’ covers, you might have thought you were reading Nelson DeMille (who, by the way, is one of my favorites.) Drummond could just as easily have been one of DeMille’s frequent protagonists under a different name — Army CID investigator Paul Brenner (The General’s Daughter and Up Country) or former NYPD detective John Correy (Plum Island, The Lion’s Game, Nightfall, etc.)

In The Capitol Game, Haig breaks away from the Sean Drummond formula and creates an entirely different set of characters and a story type. This book reads an awfully lot like a Grisham novel. The somewhat mysterious main character is obviously working some kind of scheme, but the reader isn’t quite certain what it is. The protagonist, Jack Wiley, is a charismatic, young investment banker, but Haig only reveals his actions, not his inner thoughts. Not until the last few pages does the plot come to light and the motivation become known.

All told, The Capitol Game was a fun book and I recommend it. If you enjoy Grisham and DeMille, you should enjoy this and the rest of Haig’s books.

A good beach-read

Another book report. Why not? It’s a slow summer and I don’t have a lot else to write about.

As I have mentioned in the past, both Mrs. Poolman and I love to read for pleasure. Her tastes tend to run towards “chicky books” while I like history, mystery, military and adventure. Nelson DeMille is an author whose books just jump off the shelf and into my hands when he releases a new work. I just finished “The Lion,” and I was not disappointed.

If you like adventure novels and are not familiar with DeMille, you need to introduce yourself immediately. He is a great story teller. His works aren’t great literature and there are no deep meanings to his writing. He just writes excellent stories that are compelling to read.

I first “met’ DeMille thorugh his novel, “Charm School,” which is the story of an Air Force air attaché in Moscow during the Cold War who discovers the Soviets have a group of Korean and Viet Nam War POWs who they use to help train Soviet spies how to pass as Americans (hence, the title “Charm School”). Since then, I have read nearly everything else he has written and they all range from very good to excellent.

He has several main characters which appear in multiple novels. Paul Brenner is an Army CIS investigator who appears in The General’s Daughter” (John Travolta played him in the movie.) andUp Country.” Retired NYC police detective John Corey is the main character in Plum Island,”  “Nightfall,” “The Lion’s Game” and “The Lion.” Actually both Brenner and Corey are really the same person. They just have different names and appear in different stories. Both are wise-cracking, sarcastic and iconoclastic criminal investigators.

The Lion is the story of John Corey’s quest to track down a Libyan-Arab Jihadist assassin, aka “The Lion,” who has come to the United States to kill Corey and a bunch of other people. His motive is based on revenge for the death of his family in the US air raids in the mid 1980s. The Lion is ruthless and creative. This is not a book for the squeamish. If it were a movie, it would get an “R” rating for violence.

The Lion is a sequel to an earlier DeMille novel, “The Lion’s Game.” You can read the sequel without reading the initial story first, but you would enjoy both books more if you read them in order.

The book has it faults. DeMille stretches believability with The Lion’s initial attempt to kill Corey’s wife. It is far too bizarre. And at the other end of the novel, when Corey is lured into a final showdown with the assassin, the only person who is clueless to what is coming is Corey himself.

Corey narrates much of the story in the first-person. His wise-cracks and his mental side comments make him fun to hang out with, even if there is someone trying to kill him and everyone around him.

While some of DeMille’s other novels have plot twists and some mystery, The Lion is predictable, straight adventure. You know what is happening and how it will eventually end, but it’s still interesting to be along for the ride.

In summary, it is a fun summer read. Go findThe Lion’s Game” first, and then read “The Lion.” You won’t be disappointed.