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Plum Island Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,264 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the John Corey Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nelson DeMille's narrative engine is one of the best in the business, and it chugs away in grand style in this story of buried treasure and biological warfare on a tiny spit of land off Long Island. As told by a wry, wounded New York City detective who is drafted to explore a couple of murders, Plum Island is a rich pudding of flavorful (if familiar) ingredients, including a ferocious storm at sea. Other DeMille epics in paperback include By the Rivers of Babylon, The General's Daughter, The Gold Coast, Spencerville, and Word of Honor. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

While investigating the murder of a young Long Island couple, an NYPD detective is stunned to find that they may have been involved in dealing genetically altered viruses. A 500,000-copy first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446605409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446605403
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island. In high school, he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69) and saw action as an infantry platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam. He was decorated with the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

DeMille returned to the States and went back to Hofstra University where he received his degree in Political Science and History. He has three children, Lauren, Alexander, and James, and still lives on Long Island.
DeMille's earlier books were NYPD detective novels. His first major novel was By the Rivers of Babylon, published in 1978 and still in print, as are all his succeeding novels. He is a member of The Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, and American Mensa. He was a past president of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers ThrillerMaster of the Year 2015. He holds three honorary doctorates: Doctor of Humane Letters from Hofstra University, Doctor of Literature from Long Island University, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Dowling College.

Nelson DeMille is the author of: By the Rivers of Babylon, Cathedral, The Talbot Odyssey, Word of Honor, The Charm School, The Gold Coast, The General's Daughter, Spencerville, Plum Island, The Lion's Game, Up Country, Night Fall, Wild Fire, The Gate House, The Lion, The Panther, The Quest, and Radiant Angel. He also co-authored Mayday with Thomas Block and has contributed short stories, book reviews, and articles to magazines and newspapers.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first DeMille book I have read and I loved it. I have subsequently read "The Gold Coast" and "The Charm School" both of which I enjoyed but not as much as I enjoyed reading Plum Island.
First of all, the setting. DeMille describes a charming east Long Island that I never paid much attention to (I travel through Orient Point a half a dozen times a year). We receive an interesting portrayal of the quaint villages, the local flavor, and the snotty wine growers. DeMille also gives the reader a dose of the history of the area describing the early times when pirate landed on its shores. Then there is Plum Island itself which I will gaze at more closely now each time I pass it on the ferry.
The characters are well developed. John Corey, the lead character, is this off-duty detective who gets caught up in this mystery. He's brash, sometimes rude, prefers a good beer to a vintage glass of wine and is very likeable. The other characters, including the minor ones, are defined enough to feel like you know them.
The plot. I won't give anything away. ..just a good mystery that leads you down a few different directions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Take Michael Connelly's Detective Harry Bosch, a hard-boiled, talented, nearly burnt-out loner with lots of psychological baggage and absolutely no respect for superiors or procedure. Add the self-deprecating faux stumble-bum approach of Peter Falk's Columbo and toss in a heaping helping of smart-aleck motor mouth Rodney Dangerfield complete inability to control the flow of virulent sarcasm and wisecracks! Sounds a little much, doesn't it? But he's our hero for Nelson DeMille's "Plum Island".

John Corey, NYPD homicide detective, is on medical leave recovering from bullet wounds when his friend, chief of the Southold Police Department, enlists his aid looking into the double homicide of Tom and Judy Gordon, also friends of Corey, and employees of Plum Island, the nearby high-level bio-containment facility studying deadly animal diseases such as anthrax and simian Ebola. First terrifying appearances were that some sort of biological terrorist threat had gone sour but the old rule of "follow the money" lead to a somewhat more tolerable line of investigation. It seemed the Gordons had stolen a vaccine with the motive of peddling it to the pharmaceutical world for billions.

But Corey's in-your-face persistence was uncovering clues and details that just didn't seem to mesh with that story. Simple drug-running was a possibility but even that didn't quite click. Eventually, Corey uncovers an amazingly entertaining story of greed, money, murder, mayhem and political skullduggery spanning three hundred years of history and ranging geographically from New York, to the Caribbean, to England and back again.
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By A Customer on January 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was fun. The main character (John Corey) is an over-confident wise-guy detective who thinks he's God's gift to women. His arrogance is funny.
The pace of the book is very good. It's 500 pages, but it's still a quick read.
There were a few flaws, but they were minor. Corey is meant to be recovering from a gunshot wound (through the lung?) but throughout the book he exerts himself way beyond what he should be able to do. DeMille fails to explain the origins of a vital letter at the end. Some sequences are not believable, like the speedboat ride through a hurricane, where the characters are still able to carry on a light-hearted conversation despite being blasted with smashing waves and hurricane winds.
Overall, it was well worth the read. I laughed out loud several times. This was my first DeMille, but I'll be looking for more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Plum Island is my third Nelson DeMille book and like the previous two I've read (Gold Coast and Charm School), it's a little long winded, probably 100 pages longer than it needed to be, but the primary character, John Corey is his best character to date. I agree with other reviewers that he is arrogant, but he is pretty funny with his sarcasm, which makes him tolerable when the story drags.
The storyline, which deals with the murder of employees of Plum Island, where work is done with hazardous materials (including anthrax) is obviously very timely today. It makes a lot more sense today than in 1997 when this book was first published. You get to learn a little about this stuff, so DeMille's research doesn't go to waste here.
I found fault with DeMille's decision to let Corey figure out who the criminal was midway through the book and then spending the rest of the book showing how he gets this person. It would have been nice if he threw in a plot twist somewhere later to shake things up and add some suspense, but it's a good book that will lead me to read The Lion's Game (another Corey book) in the future.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read all the DeMille I can get my hands on, and this one was one of my favorites. It's the first book in a set of two, The Lion's Game as its companion book (and which is a smidge better than this one, even!).
I like DeMille because at his best, his characters are smart and sassy, and the stories are cohesive, with serious subject matter presented with a touch of the absurd; the seriousness doesn't become so grave so as to obliterate any enjoyment of the story or his use of words. This story exemplifies exactly what I mean... once you begin reading, it's like riding over rapids. The water just rushes on, makes you laugh, and occasionally you stop, startled, when something bumps a bit more than you expected.
In this particular story, our main character (NYC investigator Paul Corey) is recovering on Long Island from some gunshot wounds, and he gets involved in the local double homicide of two scientists who work on Plum Island, a contagious disease research center right off of the coast. Of course, Paul is (in his own mind at least) smarter and savvier than any of the local yokels, even the pretty detective Beth Penrose, who's in charge of the investigation (although properly, she's not local, either).
The fact that the scientists worked with some of the most lethal pathogens on earth rises all sorts of speculation that they were being evil and subversive to assist some less-friendly nation with the wiping out of the human race, but Corey in all his infinite and dubious wisdom, uncovers an alternative theory that's much less lethal -- at least for greater mankind -- but all the more intriguing for those who love history and treasure hunts.
I enjoyed this book. Most voracious readers would, too.
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