The Lion's Game

Nelson DeMille, Author Warner Books Inc $36 (688p) ISBN 978-0-446-52065-2
John Corey, former NYPD Homicide detective and star of DeMille's Plum Island, is back in this breezily narrated high-octane thriller about the hunt for a Libyan terrorist who has set his sights on some very specific targets--the Americans who bombed Libya on April 15, 1986. The novel begins with a tense airport scene--a transcontinental flight from Paris is flying into New York, and no one has been able to contact the pilot via radio. On the flight is Asad Khalil, a Libyan defector who will be met by Special Contract Agent Corey, his FBI ""mentor"" Kate Mayfield, and the rest of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force. But when the plane lands, everyone on board is dead--except Khalil, who disappears after attacking the ATTF's airport headquarters. Has he left the country? Not if John Corey's right--and we know he is, thanks to gripping third-person chapters detailing Khalil's mission alternating with Corey's easy-going first-person narration. And by making Khalil, who lost most of his family in the 1986 bombing, as much of a protagonist as Corey, DeMille adds several shades of gray to what in less skillful hands might have been cartoonishly black and white. If anything, the reader ends up rooting for the bad guy, Khalil, with his mission of vengeance, is a more complex character than John Corey, who never drops his ex-cop bravado (thus trivializing a romance that moves from first date to proposal of marriage within the few days the plot covers). But as usual, DeMille artfully constructs a compulsively readable thriller around a troubling story line, slowly developing his villain from a faceless entity into a nation's all-too-human nemesis. Agent, Nick Ellison. 500,000 first printing; major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; 12-city author tour; Time-Warner audio. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
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