Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Kind of Guy

After "Where do you get your ideas?" people often ask writers "Who is your favorite character?"

Nelson DeMille
A few years ao when I received an ARC of Plum Island by Nelson DeMille, on Page 1 I met a new guy.

"I, John Corey by name, convalescing cop by profession ... "

I read on. I was hooked!

Five books later, I'm still hooked.

And the new John Corey book is due any day now - I can't eat or sleep till I get my hands on it!

Lest you think I'm a nutcase, I'm not totally a one-man-woman.

Other men in my literary life are - Lee Child's Reacher, Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp, W.E.B. Griffin's Charley Castillo, and a few others — but my heart belongs to John Corey!

John sorta grows on you. He's a rara avis. A sui generis. He takes center stage in every act.

John Corey is today's Everyman.

In Plum Island his wit and earthy philosophy were somewhat nascent. Evident, but not full throttle.

In The Lion's Game he took the ball, ran down the field with it, made touchdown after touchdown!

I think he needed Kate, his FBI wife. They play well together on a big stage.

Night Fall revealed deeper layers to John's character, followed by Wild Fire and The Lion.

Lest you think DeMille is un-erudite, his other novels are quite literary - The Talbot Odyssey, Spencerville, The Gate House, The Gold Coast.

BTW, I've paid my own dues with Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (I even wrote a 20th Century Dance Drama based on this), Virgil, Cicero, Ovid, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Dickens, so I'm not ashamed of my fondness for this Corey guy.

John Corey's humor includes a dig at wine. "Never in the course of human events has so much bullshit been concocted about something as small as a grape."

"I can tell the difference between a Merlot and a Budweiser. Blindfolded."

Just when you're about to chalk him up as a wit he removes a veil.

"I was surprised at how much I mised Emma Whitestone, who'd come into my life so quickly and unexpectedly, then moved into another life, somewhere among the constellations perhaps."

"Today, we live inside of microchips with a million paths opening and closing every nanosecond. What's worse, someone else is pushing the buttons."

His voice comes through at its best in Night Fall, based on the true story of the crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island on July 17, 1996. In this book the author knocks you over with a PROFOUND surprise at the end.

N.B. If you haven't read this book yet, when you do promise me not to peek at the ending.....!!!!!!!!!

Corey is usually a smart ass, but smooth as ice cream, sassy and charming.

But I think his real self is shown here: "Empathy and sensitivity are not my strong points, but this scene of shared grief and comforting passed through my own death-hardened shell like the warm ocean breeze through a screen door."

His wisdom: "I had this sudden sinking feeling that I was grasping at straws, but when all you've got is straws, you grasp them."

Yes, John Corey can be an obnoxious asshole, but he has an endearing side. You'd have to be insane not to like the guy!

In Night Fall the author gives us a brillant set up. Just as you come face-near the climax, you realize he's played totally fair with you all the way. And you realize you never guessed what he was doing. It is spine-tingling.

When you realize what's on the pages - you stop. You wipe your eyes…

Thanks for listening, friends.

T.J. Straw

P.S. If you too know this guy, please share with us your thoughts on him!

1 comment:

  1. Thelma you totally amaze me with what I have not read yet. I take your recommendations not with a grain of salt (or is it sand) but with shovels full of eagerness for reading that next book!!!