190 of 199 people found the following review helpful
No spoilers here. John Corey, the ex NYPD homicide detective who now works for the Federal anti terrorism task force is the main character. This is DeMille's fifth John Corey novel (Plum Island, Lion's Game, Night Fall and Wild Fire). You do not have to read these novels to enjoy this one although DeMille does make references to events in those earlier books.
This story is set in NYC thirteen months post the 9/11 attacks. Corey is working alongside his wife Kate Mayfield an FBI agent. In a terrifying, suspenseful scene involving a skydiving trip, they encounter the Libyan terrorist Asad Khalil. DeMille presents the motivations of both Corey and Khalil; unusual for this type of thriller you can actually understand the roots of Khalil's terrorism. Events move along quickly following the initial meeting. The action is centered in the metro New York area and exploits the difficulties the federal/state/local agencies have had cooperating and sharing intelligence information. Corey stands above the bureaucracy and has a singular focus on bringing down the terrorist. The characters in this novel are engaging, funny and sharply drawn. Corey is non-stop with the wisecracks, I find them funny and occasionally laugh out loud funny but I can see how some readers might be annoyed by the frequency of these comments. I think you either like the Corey character or you don't.
This is a top-notch action thriller. Differing from some of DeMille's earlier novels, this one is tight and well edited coming in at around 400 pages. The novel gathers in the reader with a strong opening, the plot is well organized and believable, the ending a little abrupt. I think DeMille fans will be pleased with this installment in the John Corey series and no doubt staying up late to finish this thriller.
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
And by "he" I mean both John Corey (former NYPD and current loose-cannon agent on the federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force), *and* Nelson DeMille (author extraordinaire of political suspense and hilarity, whose last couple of books started to worry me about the extraordinaire part).
DeMille's 16th book (the fifth in his John Corey series) is a post-9/11 sequel to The Lion's Game. Here it's 2003 New York City and Asad Khalil is back to finish his revenge against the 1986 U.S. military attack on Libya that killed his mother and siblings. And to finish John Corey.
But that's enough said about the plot ... which, whether it's terrorism, conspiracy, or the KGB, isn't really why I read DeMille. I read him for his smart-a**, alpha-male-with-tender-underbelly protagonists. And while a few sections here are by necessity in the third-person perspective of other characters, they thankfully aren't like the long stretches in Wild Fire. Instead, the majority is first-person Corey -- narrating more of a police procedural than rollicking thriller, a slower pace that immerses us in Corey's amusing persona. Also making their usual appearances are Corey's love interest (wife Kate Mayfield), the good guys of New York's Finest, the bungling FBI, and the evil CIA. Though readers new to DeMille might more logically begin with Plum Island (the first in this series and still the best), DeMille gives enough background here for anyone to enjoy this work. (With a caution: there are several brief scenes of graphic violence.)
The novel's pacing is good, its length is great (not bloated like The Gate House) -- and its final four sentences are perfection.
(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
69 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
As a Nelson DeMille fan I hoped that this novel would be better than his last. Alas, it seems that his success has inflated his ego to the point where his writing has suffered. This book is awful. The hero, John Corey, comes across as Bruce Willis in a poorly scripted and totally unedited action film. The book is hundreds of pages too long. Sections which may be entertaining on first reading become tedious as they are repeated and repeated. When you get to be a famous author do you abandon editors or do the editors simply become sycophants helping to stroke your ego? The plot is predictable and not worth the read. Perhaps if Mr. DeMille pays attention to the readers' reviews he will take a critical look at how his writing has deteriorated. Once an excellent author he should strive to regain that position.
45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Having enjoyed the smooth professionalism of "The Charm School," I couldn't wait to read more about the Lion, introduced in an earlier book, "The Lion's Game."
But gad, what a disappointment! First of all, let me ask: did Nelson Demille's pool boy write this, with Nelson supplying the plot? Because the quality of the writing was ABYSMAL! I couldn't believe it, as I kept turning page after page. Rank amateurs who write fiction are obsessed with "he said" and "she said"--professionals know that you save your drama for the action, not how the character "said" it. I just couldn't believe it! I did wonder if Nelson let a fan write this particular book: I've read fan-written novels before (the second time was inadvertent), and they were awful. The difference between the original author and the "fan" writer was so enormous as to be almost palpable.
With regard to the plot, I found myself bored with the way the villain of the piece cut a swath, never encountering any opposition at all, never arousing suspicion, never running into a problem. Real life isn't like that.
And I agree with the reader who was fed up with John Corey's unremitting sarcasm. Normally, I quite like Demille's smart-alec protagonists, but in this book Corey's mouth got on my nerves as well, as did his extreme vulgarity. Realism is one thing, but vulgar remarks about what goes on in the bedroom between husband and wife are inappropriate. They don't advance the plot and since we know Corey quite well from earlier books, the vulgar remarks don't even have the excuse of characterizing the speaker.
Demille has provided some rattling good reads in the past, but believe me, next time he puts out a new book, I'm going to read the entire first chapter right in the bookstore to see whether his pool boy wrote it. Horrible writing!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2010
The Lion, as most readers will know, is the sequel to The Lion's Game. I agree with reviewers who feel this work is inferior to its predecessor and to other novels in DeMille's bibliography before Wild Fire. While the story was entertaining enough to finish, I couldn't help but notice deterioration in the quality of storytelling. My three major gripes with this novel can be categorized from most to least bothersome: DeMille's treatment of Khalil, John Corey's attitude, and various other storytelling issues. The major plot idea was acceptable and even compelling: Khalil was back for revenge. I bought the novel in hardback based upon the strength of The Lion's Game and my strong like for DeMille's storytelling especially before Wildfire. He is my favorite live author of thrillers by far. He deserves all accolades and rewards derived from his work and it is with that appreciation for his skill that I write this review.
First, Khalil's attempts on Kate and Corey's lives are ineffective to the point of being ridiculous. In The Lion's Game, DeMille established Khalil as a world-class assassin produced through Khalil's genetic potential as a warrior and intense and long-term individual tutoring by an ex-KGB agent. In this story, DeMille even enhances Khalil's skills through additional training with the Taliban. The outcome of such remarkable training and natural ability is that he fails to kill either Kate or Corey despite surprise being on his side. However, everyone else he targets stands no chance at all of survival. The attempt on Kate is botched even though she is basically helpless. As for Corey, he is not conditioned to attack like a professional assassin. As a police officer, he is trained in teamwork and submission of citizenry to the law. Killing for Corey is a last resort. For an assassin, it is a primary objective. Corey's typical opponents are amateurs at lethal fighting such as street thugs, white collar criminals, and private citizens who rely on wit and wealth to succeed at crime. In Plum Island he bests Frederic Tobin (a private citizen with no combat or weapons training). In The Lion he incapacitates a foreign diplomat. Corey is mid 40s, has been shot three times in the torso resulting in three-quarters disability, has a bad diet and drinks frequently. Khalil is in his 20s and is a religious fanatic foregoing alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and even sex. He lives to train and kill. This is not even close to a fair match, but Corey wins the knife fight. When were cops taught to fight with knives? Also, in The Lion's Game, Khalil kills close-up with a gun by surprising his targets in a way that leaves them defenseless. In The Lion, he switches to knives/blunt objects, but his method is to immobilize and then torture/kill. Yet he doesn't do that with Corey. Is he suddenly so naive as to not wonder if Corey has a backup weapon? Kate should be dead. Corey should be severely maimed or dead. If Khalil's efforts fell short of his goal it should be in the form of capture by police or perhaps the CIA (lurking unknown to anyone in the background... Khalil attacks Corey exposing himself, nearly kills Corey, but the CIA intervenes and captures Khalil for torture... or some other dark purpose... if Nash, another thoroughly entertaining villain killed unnecessarily hadn't died, he could be there to apprehend him). At this point, I wish Khalil was back so badly I am willing to go along with strapping a lightning rod to Khalil's body and placing him on top of a skyscraper for God to resurrect!
That Khalil's death occurred at the hands of Corey only increased my objection to the outcome. Corey has grown tiresome and annoying. The story begins with Corey describing details of his current situation with sarcastic and egotistical opinions inserted after each fact (this pattern of fact-sarcasm narration has been pervasive for the last four Corey novels: Plum Island, The Lion's Game, Night Fall, and Wild Fire). Enough. Corey's attitude began growing monotonous after Night Fall and by now it is just irritating. The sarcasm and arrogance should be reduced. Also, with this novel, I am beginning to think that DeMille's world view concerning foreign cultures/countries particularly Iran and the larger Middle East has taken on a touch of extremism which is channeled through Corey's disparaging remarks especially in the first few chapters. When one considers the foreword to Wild Fire in which DeMille states that America should have a plan like WildFire if it doesn't already, Corey seems to be a mouthpiece for DeMille. (FYI, Wild Fire is a contingency plan to nuke most of the Middle East in the event of nuke attack on the US by Islamic terrorists. This is supposed to deter terrorists from attacking us domestically and motivate foreign governments to go after terrorists in their own countries. Using DeMille's logic of responding to a terrorist attack by using similar weaponry as the terrorists, but deployed in overwhelming force on the general population that unintentionally produced the terrorists, I don't know what we are supposed to do with the citizens and government of Oklahoma for the failure to stop Timothy McVeigh.)
Other bothersome contents/details are interspersed throughout the narrative. It appeared after the first few chapters, that DeMille was establishing parallelism between Corey and Khalil in that both believed in and desired revenge. The potential existed to make a statement through the outcome of the story on the consequences of a revenge mindset (ultimately it brings about one's downfall, violence perpetuates violence, etc.) and perhaps generalize the theme to American foreign policy. This theme is never developed. While DeMille generally does not include morals and themes in his thrillers, it would have bolstered the thin plot. Rather, it appears that revenge-seeking functioned solely as motive to propel Corey and Khalil into confrontation. As for objections mentioned by other readers, I was not at all bothered by the extra gore. I agree Khalil seems to have no critical role in the truck bomb plot which makes no sense. The reason he doesn't go after Reagan is that Reagan died in 2004. I agree that attacking Kate in midair hanging from a parachute was a little over-the-top, but not nearly as stupid as Kate not dying. I agree that Kate would not be sexually interested in Corey. At least 40% of the book (the middle 40) was non-action with Kate recovering in the hospital. More entertaining scenarios existed such as Khalil attacking Kate in the hospital despite security, killing Kate in the jump and going after the ATTF offices, maybe attacking one or more CIA personnel (which could create back story about Khalil's experiences between The Lion's Game and The Lion... DeMille could have made an entire book about Nash vs. Khalil in Afghanistan).
In summary, this is a case of potential only half realized. The story was entertaining enough to maintain my interest, but I was seriously annoyed with Corey's attitude and the lack of action in the middle chapters. DeMille created an intriguing super assassin and then not only handicapped him to allow Corey and Kate to prevail, but eliminated him; the most interesting character in the book, for whom the book is named, deserved better!
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I agree with the several reviewers who stated that John Corey's character is becoming less and less appealing as the series goes on. The John Corey of "Plum Island," whose politically incorrect humor was so spot on, has become over the last few books a predictable bore. The sarcastic remarks were beginning to wear thin in "Wild Fire," where Corey took great delight in insulting ordinary people (waitresses, airport employees) who were going to great lengths to assist him.
The level of violence in this book was way over the top in my opinion, and just plain revolting at some points. But I reserve my biggest criticism for the preposterious romance between the almost 50 year old Corey and the much younger Kate. I didn't buy it in "The Lion's Game," a much superior book to this one, and if I didn't buy it there I'm not going to buy it here. DeMille has somewhere along the line become mired in predictable plot lines and characters who are starting to become very similiar: John Corey is not much different than the protagonist of "The Gate House," a book that struggled to get even two stars from me. And the women are pretty much clones as well. It is a shame, as DeMille's earlier works are great favorites of mime.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2010
DeMille's earlier books were excellent, but his latest ones have deteriated sharply. This one, in patricular, is wordy, repetitious, and boring. I wonder if Demille has run out of gas or if he is intentially writing bad books, and laughing at us for buying them.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Assad Khalil, a.k.a. the Lion, is a deadly killer and a religious terrorist. Now that he's back on U.S. soil, he is pursuing his personal vendetta. He intends to annihilate all the people linked to his family's destruction from the U.S. Air Force pilots to Federal Agent John Corey and FBI Agent Kate Mayfield. The Lion, like the fictional Jackal (from Return of the Jackal) is one of the world's most skilled assassins and Khalil enjoys the difficult kills.
Corey tries to take advantage of Khalil's love for the dramatic and Corey needs all the advantages that he can garner. Khalil seems to have unlimited resources, a wide range of targets, and no inhibitions. But Corey has his own strengths -- careful detective work, his creative thinking, his deep determination and desire for vengeance. The battle of between Corey and Khalil makes for an engrossing read and a satisfying thriller.
If you're looking for a fun weekend read or a thriller to escape with, check it out. Action-packed, complex, and engrossing, DeMille's The Lion will surely satisfy!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
Very poor book.
Having bought all Nelson DeMille's earlier books, this was very disappointing.
Poor story line, poor research and worst of all poor proofreading - inexcusable!
Page 5 - "Inside the vehicle we have 35mm digital Nikon cameras" - no such thing.
Page 390 - "Khalil thought, like the moaning sound of the southern wind, the Ghabli, coming out of the great desert" - the wind is called the Ghibli!
Not to give the story away but many stupid errors regarding the production of a bomb.
If you want to read good thrillers in this vein then try Storm Crow and Nom de Guerre by Jeff Gulvin - both available on Amamazon.co.uk
Rather ironical that at the end of the book the author praises his assistants; Dianne Francis and Patricia Chichester who have "read and commented on the manuscript, chapter by chapter, page by page and word by word. They've done amazing research and fact checking"
Given my comments above, maybe a book without their help would be better.
Feels to me like churning out a poor book that people will buy on the basis of earlier ones.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is not DeMille's finest hour! There is no storyline; just one gory, brutal murder after another.
What is DeMille trying to work out?
I look forward to a stirring story in the future with a good premise, good action and a new
character or characters. John Corey needs to fade into the past.
Sorry Nelson, take a rest and come up with a new genre. You are a briliant writer and can do
much better than The Lion...........