"PEOPLE DIE, BUT BOOKS NEVER DIE."
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Spencerville - Nelson DeMille
Author: Nelson Demille
Publisher: Warner Books
Publication Date: October 1994
The cold war is over, and Keith Landry, one of the nation's top intelligence officers, is forced into early and unwanted retirement. Restless, Landry returns to Spencerville, the small Midwestern town where he grew up. The place has changed in the quarter century since Landry stepped off his front porch into the world, but two important people from his past are still there: Annie Prentis, his first love, and Cliff Baxter, the high school bully who became the police chief of Spencerville and Annie's possessive husband. They're all about to come together again-and rip Spencerville apart with violence, vengeance, and renewed passion.
MY THOUGHTS (w/spoilers):
Keith Landry returns to Spencerville with no clear plans for his future. All he knows is that he no longer has a job with the U.S. government and he's tired of being used by them too. He decides to return to his childhood home to try civilian life while in the back of his mind always thinking of the girl who got away, Annie Prentis, and what could have been. After realizing Annie's husband, Cliff Baxter, is a bully not only to his wife but to a whole town Keith decides everyone is better off without him. However, he promised Annie not to do anything which makes things quite difficult when they realize they still love each other and want to be together. Cliff knew his behavior would come back to haunt him as his time as police chief and a husband may soon be ending. Considering Cliff's life is starting to fall apart the last thing he wants to lose is his wife and not because he loves her but he sees her as a possession. However, knowing how volatile Cliff is Annie and Keith decide they're willing to give their relationship a try and take off. Unfortunately, Cliff tracks them down and takes Annie away to a remote area where it won't be easy for anyone to get to her. Not willing to give up on the relationship Keith sets off to get Annie and get some overdue payback.
I've read another book by Demille before and liked it (e.g., The General's Daughter). This book, however, took me some time to finish. There was almost a point when I didn't think I was gonna finish it. It just kept dragging. UGH! When I knew I was getting to the end I was getting more excited that I would finally finish the book than the book actually being good. I'm guessing it was trying to build anticipation but I wanted Keith to make up his mind and figure out what and how he was going to do. I didn't understand how he was an intelligence officer for years and he just couldn't get it together. I expected his expertise to kick in. The build up leading up to the rescue and big showdown with Cliff left me quite disappointed. I thought to myself "Really?! That's it!" Nothing hurts than finishing a book and feeling like you wasted your time. This by any means is to disparage Nelson Demille's writing abilities. I have friends who are fans and I value their book choice opinions. This book just didn't do it for me.
Have you read Spencerville? Would you read it after my review? If you have read it, did you like it? Would you reread it? What did you think of Keith Landry throughout the book? Have you read other Nelson Demille books? Would you recommend any of his books?
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