Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nelson DeMille - A Big-Time Writer!

About a month ago, I was visiting my cousin, Hazel, at her pied-à-terre in Toronto when her room-mate suggested I read one of her novels from her extensive collection of books.  It was entitled, "Up Country" written by one Nelson DeMille.  Although I hadn't heard of him, I was fairly sure Mr. DeMille was a "big-time writer" because his name on the cover was about three times larger than the actual title of the book!  (I now know Mr. DeMille is a #1 New York Times best selling writer!)

Anyway, I began reading "Up Country" on the train home and couldn't seem to put it down.  It's a story told in the first person by the main character, Paul Brenner, a retired investigator for the United States Army's CID (Criminal Investigation Division).  Brenner decides to take one last mission for his ex-boss - to travel to Vietnam and investigate a thirty-year-old unprosecuted murder by interrogating a witness who may or may not still be alive. 

I soon discovered that protagonist Paul Brenner is an engaging character; a wise-cracking, cynical fellow with a liberal dash of sarcasm and dry humor who served two stints in Vietnam during the war (DeMille himself not only saw action in Nam, but returned in 1997 for an extended visit.)  What I so loved about "Up Country" is that not only is it a fast-paced thriller, but it's a wonderful travelogue, describing (with much fondness, I suspect) a resilient people and their country, about which I knew very little.

What was curious was that as I read along, I realized that "Up Country" was the sequel to another book by Nelson DeMille, "The General's Daughter."  I was familiar with movie version of "The General's Daughter" starring John Travolta, but had not yet read the novel.

Nelson DeMille
I love discovering a fabulously talented new writer (new to me, that is), and I now look forward to reading "The General's Daughter."  Stay tuned . . .

Have you read any of Nelson DeMille's novels?  What do you think of his books?