Tag Archives: the lion’s game

Books, books and more books

Both Mrs. Poolman and I do a lot of reading for pleasure. In the past, a book or a bookstore gift certificate was considered a pretty good birthday or Christmas present around our house. Lately, however, that has changed, or at least it feels like it has changed. The problem? Between downloading e-books on her Nook and the availability of getting new releases from the Village Library, a present of a new book doesn’t seem any more special than picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store.

The library in question is a small community library that serves the community near my workplace. It is chock-full of popular writers. It generally has a good collection of new releases, which they rent for 30 cents per day. Considering that Mrs. P goes through two to three books a week, that is a bargain compared to a $25 new-purchase price new.

Mrs. P typically gives me a list of books and authors she wants to read. I stop by the library a few times a week and check to see what they have. It’s a good system that usually keeps Mrs. P in fresh reading material, but it takes the shine off of giving her a book or gift card as a present. All the same, I still gave her a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas.

Speaking of books, I read two interesting ones recently.

The Panther“The Panther” is one of a continuing series of thrillers by Nelson DeMille that feature one of his main protagonists, sarcastic, wise-cracking John Corey (The Lion, The Lion’s Game, Night Fall, Plum Island, Wildfire). In this book, Corey is still a member of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force. He and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, are sent to Yemen to track down the latest Islamic terrorist, nicknamed “the Panther.” Actually, Corey and Mayfield are selected because the higher-ups believe they will serve as bait to draw the terrorist out of hiding. DeMille teams Corey up with another of his previous protagonists, Paul Brenner (The General’s Daughter, Up Country). On top of being served up as bait for the Panther, Corey suspects that some members of the American team would not be unhappy if he and Kate were to return to the US in body bags.

You can pretty much figure the story from there. While the destination is predictable, the ride is a good one.

I do have just one criticism. Much of the book is narrated in the first person by Corey. While the wise-cracking is an integral part of his character, the sarcastic comments come about every other line. It gets a little old after awhile. It was just over-the-top. DeMille could tone that down just a little in his next gook and the book would be a little more readable.

Paris in love“Paris in Love” by Eloisa James is an entirely different sort of read. College professor and romance writer James moved to Paris to live for a year with her husband and two children. I am still fascinated with anything to do with Paris. Her book is a memoir of sorts or their year there. James is a clever writer. The book is interesting, especially to someone who just visited Paris a couple of months ago. There is no plot or theme to speak of. The book is broken up into a long series of short anecdotes and thoughts – snapshots of her experiences. It feels like a year-long series of Facebook posts. I enjoyed sharing James’ enjoyment of her year in Paris. The stories about her children will give you a grin. I’m not sure her precocious 11-year old daughter is really that precocious, but James’ stories about her are worth a chuckle. “Paris in Love” is a light and short read, and one worth the effort.

 

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.