The Lion's Game (John Corey Series #2)

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Overview

John Corey, having survived three bullet wounds on the NYPD, knows that he's used up his allotment of good luck. Nevertheless, he signs on as a contract agent with the Federal government's Anti-Terrorist Task Force, working in the high-pressure Mideast section. Kate Mayfield is John's senior in rank and junior in age - a bad combination for both of them. Even so, she is able to hold her own against John's brash style, his contempt for Federal agents, and his obsession with doing everything his way." "As a bloody ...
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The Lion's Game (John Corey Series #2)

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Overview

John Corey, having survived three bullet wounds on the NYPD, knows that he's used up his allotment of good luck. Nevertheless, he signs on as a contract agent with the Federal government's Anti-Terrorist Task Force, working in the high-pressure Mideast section. Kate Mayfield is John's senior in rank and junior in age - a bad combination for both of them. Even so, she is able to hold her own against John's brash style, his contempt for Federal agents, and his obsession with doing everything his way." "As a bloody trail of terror streaks across the country, John and Kate soon learn that their quarry is more than a man; he has the instincts of a wild animal, the blood lust of a carnivore, and the boldness and speed of a cat of prey. The cunning, violence, and ruthlessness that Corey encounters are like nothing he has ever experienced before, even on the streets of New York. Until this assignment, Corey has always been lucky in dodging the fatal bullet. But luck, as he's learned on the streets, at the gambling table, and in love, always runs out. To survive in a new game with no rules at all, he must invent a strategy that includes no luck at all...
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review

Since the publication of his first novel, By the Rivers of Babylon, in 1978, Nelson DeMille has produced a steady stream of intelligent, hard-edged, contemporary thrillers, the best of which — such as Cathedral, The Gold Coast, or Word of Honor — are absolute models of the form. It's a pleasure to be able to report that The Lion's Game, DeMille's tenth novel is as shrewdly constructed and compulsively readable as anything he has published to date.

Weighing in at nearly 700 pages, The Lion's Game is the longest, most ambitious novel of DeMille's career. It is also his first attempt at a sequel, bringing us a new installment in the colorful career of John Corey, the acerbic narrator/hero of 1997's Plum Island. When last seen, Corey had interrupted his convalescent leave from the NYPD long enough to solve a bizarre double murder on Long Island's Eastern Shore, after which, he formally separated from the police department and became an adjunct professor at John Jay University. Not unexpectedly, Corey grew bored with the uneventful world of academia and decided to return, in a very different capacity, to the front lines of law enforcement. Admirers of Plum Island will be pleased to learn that he is as ornery, insubordinate, and politically incorrect as ever.

The novel opens on April 15th. Corey has just signed on with the Middle Eastern division of the ATTF (Anti-Terrorist Task Force), an organization staffed by an uneasy combination of FBI, CIA, and NYPD operatives. Corey's firstassignmenttakes him to JFK Airport, where, together with an assortment of teammates, he is scheduled to take custody of a defecting Libyan terrorist. The terrorist in question is Asad Khalil, a.k.a. the Lion, the man believed to be responsible for a series of attacks on Americans living in Europe. As Corey and company await the arrival of Khalil and his escorts, it quickly becomes apparent that something has gone seriously wrong.

To begin with, the plane, for unknown reasons, drops out of radio contact hours before its arrival in New York. Eventually, ignoring all commands from Air Traffic Control personnel, the flight lands at JFK in an odd, erratic fashion, taxis to a stop, and proceeds to sit, silent and motionless, on the runway. Unable to establish communication, airport authorities force their way onboard, only to find that a tragedy of unprecedented proportions has occurred and that Asad Khalil, the man responsible for that tragedy, is nowhere to be found, having slipped through the crowd of investigators and made his escape.

The bulk of the novel concerns the protracted hunt for an implacable killer with a very personal mission. It would spoil a number of DeMille's expertly constructed effects to reveal too much of what happens as The Lion's Game unfolds. But here, briefly, is the fundamental premise that dominates this book.

April 15th, the day Khalil's plane arrives at JFK, is not simply income tax day. It is also the anniversary of the 1986 bombing of Libya, a mission ordered by Ronald Reagan in direct response to a series of atrocities reputedly set in motion by Libyan president Moammar Gadhafi. Asad Khalil, who was 16-years-old when the bombing occurred, lost his entire family that day and developed an undying hatred for all things American. Acting both on his own behalf and on behalf of the Great Leader Gadhafi, he has made his way to America, where he is determined to wage a holy war against the murderers of his family.

As Khalil's history, intentions, and specific agenda gradually become clear, Corey leads a diverse group of experts in an increasingly desperate attempt to anticipate the Lion's movements and prevent him from implementing his bloody, ironic endgame. As the lengthy narrative unrolls, The Lion's Game moves backward in time from the present day to the night of the fateful bombing in 1986; the action shifts from New York City to Florida and from Florida to the Pacific Coast, as DeMille skillfully switches back and forth from the first-person viewpoint of John Corey to a third-person narrative that takes us into the deranged perspective of Asad Khalil. The result is a big, wide-ranging novel that is alternately funny and frightening; one that achieves an astonishing, almost effortless narrative momentum; one that is grounded in DeMille's tragic view of the endlessly replicated blood feuds that dominate the landscape of 20th-century geopolitics.

From its eerie opening sequence to its deliberately open-ended conclusion, THE LION'S GAME is the clear product of a world-class storyteller, a man who seems incapable of turning out a bland or boring paragraph. DeMille is at the top of his own game in this one and has written a novel that will inevitably command a large, enthusiastic audience. I, for one, am glad to see it. In a field too often populated by formulaic, by-the-numbers fiction, Nelson DeMille is an undisguised blessing. I wish him health, success, and undiminished productivity in the decades to come.

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications.

New York Times Book Review
...DeMille works with enormous intelligence, pacing his two narrative strands...with the greatest craft. Suspense builds steadily and artfully as the clues pile up..."The Lion's Game" carries us along with professionalism many writers, highbrow and low, should admire.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
(starred review)
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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.(starred review)
Library Journal
Plum Island's Detective John Corey battles a terrorist called the Lion, a young Arab whose family died in the Libya bombing.
Charles Winecoff
DeMille sweeps you along with his masterful crosscutting between the good guys and the bad, slaying both the extremist Middle Eastern mindset and our own lowbrow American culture...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446608268
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: John Corey Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 944
  • Sales rank: 52,502
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nelson DeMille is the author of fifteen acclaimed novels, including the #1New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island, and The Gate Houseand New York Times betsellers Wild Fire, The Gold Coast, and The General's Daughter. For more information on the author, you can go towww.NelsonDeMille.net.

Biography

Nelson DeMille has a dozen bestselling novels to his name and over 30 million books in print worldwide, but his beginnings were not so illustrious. Writing police detective novels in the mid-1970s, DeMille created the pseudonym Jack Cannon: "I used the pen name because I knew I wanted to write better novels under my own name someday," DeMille told fans in a 2000 chat.

Between 1966 and 1969, Nelson DeMille served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. When he came home, he finished his undergraduate studies (in history and political science), then set out to become a novelist. "I wanted to write the great American war novel at the time," DeMille said in an interview with January magazine. "I never really wrote the book, but it got me into the writing process." A friend in the publishing industry suggested he write a series of police detective novels, which he did under a pen name for several years.

Finally DeMille decided to give up his day job as an insurance fraud investigator and commit himself to writing full time -- and under his own name. The result was By the Rivers of Babylon (1978), a thriller about terrorism in the Middle East. It was chosen as a Book of the Month Club main selection and helped launch his career. "It was like being knighted," said DeMille, who now serves as a Book of the Month Club judge. "It was a huge break."

DeMille followed it with a stream of bestsellers, including the post-Vietnam courtroom drama Word of Honor (1985) and the Cold War spy-thriller The Charm School (1988) Critics praised DeMille for his sophisticated plotting, meticulous research and compulsively readable style. For many readers, what made DeMille stand out was his sardonic sense of humor, which would eventually produce the wisecracking ex-NYPD officer John Corey, hero of Plum Island (1997) and The Lion's Game (2000).

In 1990 DeMille published The Gold Coast, a Tom Wolfe-style comic satire that was his attempt to write "a book that would be taken seriously." The attempt succeeded, in terms of the critics' response: "In his way, Mr. DeMille is as keen a social satirist as Edith Wharton," wrote The New York Times book reviewer. But he returned to more familiar thrills-and-chills territory in The General's Daughter, which hit no. 1 on The New York Times' Bestseller list and was made into a movie starring John Travolta. Its hero, army investigator Paul Brenner, returned in Up Country (2002), a book inspired in part by DeMille's journey to his old battlegrounds in Vietnam.

DeMille's position in the literary hierarchy may be ambiguous, but his talent is first-rate; there's no questioning his mastery of his chosen form. As a reviewer for the Denver Post put it, "In the rarefied world of the intelligent thriller, authors just don't get any better than Nelson DeMille."

Good To Know

DeMille composes his books in longhand, using soft-lead pencils on legal pads. He says he does this because he can't type, but adds, "I like the process of pencil and paper as opposed to a machine. I think the writing is better when it's done in handwriting."

In addition to his novels, DeMille has written a play for children based on the classic fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin."

DeMille says on his web site that he reads mostly dead authors -- "so if I like their books, I don't feel tempted or obligated to write to them." He mentions writing to a living author, Tom Wolfe, when The Bonfire of the Vanities came out; but Wolfe never responded. "I wouldn't expect Hemingway or Steinbeck to write back -- they're dead. But Tom Wolfe owes me a letter," DeMille writes.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jack Cannon; Kurt Ladner; Brad Matthews; Michael Weaver; Ellen Kay
    2. Hometown:
      Long Island, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 22, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in political science, Hofstra University, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


"You'd think that anyone who'd been shot three times and almost became an organ donor would try to avoid dangerous situations in the future. But, no, I must have this unconscious wish to take myself out of the gene pool or something.

Anyway, I'm John Corey, formerly of the NYPD, Homicide, now working as a Special Contract Agent for the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force. I was sitting in the back of a yellow cab on my way from 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport with a Pakistani suicide driver behind the wheel.

It was a nice spring day, a Saturday, moderate traffic on the Shore Parkway, sometimes known as the Belt Parkway, and recently renamed POW /MIA Parkway to avoid confusion. It was late afternoon, and seagulls from a nearby landfill-formerly known as a garbage dump-were crapping on the taxi's windshield. I love spring.

I wasn't headed off on vacation or anything like that-I was reporting for work with the aforementioned Anti-Terrorist Task Force. This is an organization that not too many people know about, which is just as well. The ATTF is divided into sections which focus on specific bunches of troublemakers and bomb chuckers, like the Irish Republican Army, Puerto Rican Independence Movement, black radicals, and other groups that will go unnamed. I'm in the Mideastern section, which is the biggest group and maybe the most important, though to be honest, I don't know much about Mideastern terrorists. But I was supposed to be learning on the job.

So, to practice my skills, I started up a conversation with the Pakistani guy whose name was Fasid, and who forall I know is a terrorist, though he looked and talked like an okay guy. I asked him, "What was that place you came from?"

"Islamabad. The capital."

"Really? How long have you been here?"

"Ten years."

"You like it here?"

"Sure. Who doesn't?"

"Well, my ex-brother-in-law, Gary, for one. He's always bad-mouthing America. Wants to move to New Zealand."

"I have an uncle in New Zealand."

"No kidding? Anybody left in Islamabad?"

He laughed, then asked me, "You meeting somebody at the airport?"

"Why do you ask?"

"No luggage."

"Hey, you're good."

"So, you're meeting somebody? I could hang around and take you back to the city."

Fasid's English was pretty good-slang, idioms, and all that. I replied, "I have a ride back."

"You sure? I could hang around."

Actually, I was meeting an alleged terrorist who'd surrendered himself to the U.S. Embassy in Paris, but I didn't think that was information I needed to share with Fasid. I said, "You a Yankee fan?"

"Not anymore." Whereupon he launched into a tirade against Steinbrenner, Yankee Stadium, the price of tickets, the salaries of the players, and so forth. These terrorists are clever, sounding just like loyal citizens.

Anyway, I tuned the guy out and thought about how I'd wound up here. As I indicated, I was a homicide detective, one of New York's Finest, if I do say so. A year ago this month, I was playing dodge-the-bullets with two Hispanic gentlemen up on West 2nd Street in what was probably a case of mistaken identity, or sport shooting, since there seemed to be no reason for the attempted whack. Life is funny sometimes. Anyway, the perps were still at large, though I had my eye out for them, as you might imagine.

After my near-death experience and upon release from the hospital, I accepted my Uncle Harry's offer to stay at his summer house on Long Island to convalesce. The house is located about a hundred road miles from West 2nd Street, which was fine. Anyway, while I was out there, I got involved with this double murder of a husband and wife, fell in love twice, almost got killed. Also, one of the women I fell in love with, Beth Penrose by name, is still sort of in my life.

While all this was going on out on eastern Long Island, my divorce became final. And as if I wasn't already having a bad R&R at the beach, I wound up making the professional acquaintance of a schmuck on the double homicide case named Ted Nash of the Central Intelligence Agency who I took a big dislike to, and who hated my guts in return, and who, lo and behold, was now part of my ATTF team. It's a small world, but not that small, and I don't believe in coincidence.

There was also another guy involved with that case, George Foster, an FBI agent, who was okay, but not my cup of tea either.

In any case, it turns out that this double homicide was not a Federal case, and Nash and Foster disappeared, only to reappear in my life about four weeks ago when I got assigned to this ATTF Mideastern team. But no sweat, I've put in for a transfer to the ATTF's Irish Republican Army section, which I will probably get. I don't have any real feelings about the IRA either way, but at least the IRA babes are easy to look at, the guys are more fun than your average Arab terrorist, and the Irish pubs are primo. I could do some real good in the anti-IRA section. Really.

Anyway, after all this mess out on Long Island, I get offered this great choice of being hauled in front of the NYPD disciplinary board for moonlighting or whatever, or taking a three-quarter medical disability and going away. So I took the medical, but also negotiated a job at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan where I live. Before I got shot, I'd taught a class at John Jay as an Adjunct Professor, so I wasn't asking for much and I got it.

Starting in January, I was teaching two night classes at JJ and one day class, and I was getting bored out of my mind, so my ex-partner, Dom Fanelli, knows about this Special Contract Agent program with the Feds where they hire former law enforcement types to work with ATTF. I apply, I'm accepted, probably for all the wrong reasons, and here I am. The pay's good, the perks are okay, and the Federal types are mostly schmucks. I have this problem with Feds, like most cops do, and not even sensitivity training would help.

But the work seems interesting. The ATTF is a unique and, I may say, elite group (despite the schmucks) that only exists in New York City and environs. It's made up mostly of NYPD detectives who are great guys, FBI, and some quasi-civilian guys like me hired to round out the team, so to speak. Also, on some teams, when needed, are CIA prima donnas, and also some DEA-Drug Enforcement Agency people who know their business, and know about connections between the drug trade and the terrorist world.

Other team players include people from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of Waco, Texas, fame, plus cops from surrounding suburban counties, and New York State Police. There are other Federal types from agencies I can't mention, and last but not least, we have a few Port Authority detectives assigned to some teams. These PA guys are helpful at airports, bus terminals, train stations, docks, some bridges and tunnels under their control, and other places, like the World Trade Center, where their little empire extends. We have it all pretty much covered, but even if we didn't, it sounds really impressive.

The ATTF was one of the main investigating groups in the World Trade Center bombing and the TWA 800 explosion off Long Island. But sometimes we take the show on the road. For instance, we also sent a team to help out with the African embassy bombings, though the name ATTF was hardly mentioned in the news, which is how they like it. All of this was before my time, and things have been quiet since I've been here, which is how I like it.

The reason the almighty Feds decided to team up with the NYPD and form the ATTF, by the way, is that most FBI people are not from New York and don't know a pastrami sandwich from the Lexington Avenue subway. The CIA guys are a little slicker and talk about cafés in Prague and the night train to Istanbul and all that crap, but New York is not their favorite place to be. The NYPD has street smarts, and that's what you need to keep track of Abdul Salami-Salami and Paddy O'Bad and Pedro Viva Puerto Rico and so on.

Your average Fed is Wendell Wasp from West Wheatfield, Iowa, whereas the NYPD has mucho Hispanics, lots of blacks, a million Irish, and even a few Muslims now, so you get this cultural diversity on the force that is not only politically cool and correct, but actually useful and effective. And when the ATTF can't steal active-duty NYPD people, they hire ex-NYPD like me. Despite my so-called disability, I'm armed, dangerous, and nasty. So there it is.

We were approaching JFK, and I said to Fasid, "So, what did you do for Easter?"

"Easter? I don't celebrate Easter. I'm Muslim."

See how clever I am? The Feds would've sweated this guy for an hour to make him admit he was a Muslim. I got it out of him in two seconds. Just kidding. But, you know, I really have to get out of the Mideast section and into the IRA bunch. I'm part Irish and part English, and I could work both sides of that street.

Fasid exited the Shore-Belt-POW /MIA Parkway and got on the Van Wyck Expressway heading south into JFK. These huge planes were sort of floating overhead making whining noises, and Fasid called out to me, "Where you going?"

"International Arrivals."

"Which airline?"

"There's more than one?"

"Yeah. There's twenty, thirty, forty-"

"No kidding? Just drive."

Fasid shrugged, just like an Israeli cabbie. I was starting to think that maybe he was a Mossad agent posing as a Pakistani. Or maybe this job was getting to me.

There's all these colored and numbered signs along the expressway, and I let the guy go to the International Arrivals, a huge structure with all the airline logos, one after the other out front, and he asked again, "Which airline?"

"I don't like any of these. Keep going."

Again, he shrugged.

I directed him onto another road, and we were now going to the other side of the big airport. This is good trade craft, to see if anybody's following you. I learned this in some spy novel or maybe a James Bond movie. I was trying to get into this anti-terrorist thing.

I got Fasid pointed in the right direction and told him to stop in front of a big office-type building on the west side of JFK that was used for this and that. This whole area is full of nondescript airport services buildings and warehouses, and no one notices anybody's comings and goings, plus the parking is easy. I paid the guy, tipped him, and asked for a receipt in the exact amount. Honesty is one of my few faults.

Fasid gave me a bunch of blank receipts and asked again, "You want me to hang around?"

"I wouldn't if I were you."

I went into the lobby of the building, a [ep1[rs960s sort of crap modern architecture, and instead of an armed guard with an Uzi like they have all over the world, there's just a sign that says restricted area-authorized personnel only. So, assuming you read English, you know if you're welcome or not.

I went up a staircase and down a long corridor of gray steel doors, some marked, some numbered, some neither. At the end of the corridor was a door with a nice blue-and-white sign that said conquistador club-private-members only.

There was this electronic keycard scanner alongside the door, but like everything else about the Conquistador Club, it was a phony. What I had to do was to press my right thumb on the translucent face of the scanner, which I did. About two seconds later, the metrobiotic genie said to itself, "Hey, that's John Corey's thumb-let's open the door for John."

And did the door swing open? No, it slid into the wall as far as its dummy doorknob. Do I need this nonsense?

Also there's a video scanner overhead, in case your thumbprint got screwed up with a chocolate bar or something, and if they recognize your face, they also open the door, though in my case they might make an exception.

So I went in, and the door slid closed automatically behind me. I was now in what appeared to be the reception area of an airline travelers' club. Why there'd be such a club in a building that's not near a passenger terminal is, you can be sure, a question I'd asked, and I'm still waiting for an answer. But I know the answer, which is that when the CIA culture is present, you get this kind of smoke-and-mirrors silliness. These clowns waste time and money on stagecraft, just like in the old days when they were trying to impress the KGB. What the door needed was a simple sign that said keep out.

Anyway, behind the counter was Nancy Tate, the receptionist, a sort of Miss Moneypenny, the model of efficiency and repressed sexuality, and all that. She liked me for some reason and greeted me cheerily, "Good afternoon, Mr. Corey."

"Good afternoon, Ms. Tate."

"Everyone has arrived."

"I was delayed by traffic."

"Actually, you're ten minutes early."

"Oh . . ."

"I like your tie."

"I took it off a dead Bulgarian on the night train to Istanbul."

She giggled.

Anyway, the reception area was all leather and burled wood, plush blue carpet, and so forth, and on the wall directly behind Nancy was another logo of the fictitious Conquistador Club. And for all I knew, Ms. Tate was a hologram.

To the left of Ms. Tate was an entranceway marked conference and business area that actually led to the interrogation rooms and holding cells, which I guess could be called the Conference and Business Area. To the right, a sign announced lounge and bar. I should be so lucky. That was in fact the way to the communications and operations center.

Ms. Tate said to me, "Ops Center. There are five people including yourself."

"Thanks." I walked through the doorway, down a short hallway, and into a dim, cavernous, and windowless room that held desks, computer consoles, cubicles, and such. On the big rear wall was a huge, computer-generated color map of the world that could be programmed to a detailed map of whatever you needed, like downtown Islamabad. Typical of most Federal facilities, this place had all the bells and whistles. Money is no problem in Fedland.

In any case, this facility wasn't my actual workplace, which is in the aforementioned 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan. But this was where I had to be on this Saturday afternoon to meet and greet some Arab guy who was switching sides and needed to be taken safely downtown for a few years of debriefing.

I kind of ignored my teammates and made for the coffee bar, which, unlike the one in my old detective squad room, is neat, clean, and well stocked, compliments of the Federal taxpayers.

I fooled around with the coffee awhile, which was my way of avoiding my colleagues for a few more minutes.

I got the coffee the right color and noticed a tray of donuts that said NYPD and a tray of croissants and brioche that said CIA and a tray of oatmeal cookies that said FBI. Someone had a sense of humor.

Anyway, the coffee bar was on the operations side of the big room and the commo side was sort of elevated on a low platform. A lady duty agent was up there monitoring all the gidgets and gadgets.

My team, on the operations side, was sitting around somebody's empty desk, engaged in conversation. The team consisted of the aforementioned Ted Nash of the CIA, and George Foster of the FBI, plus Nick Monti of the NYPD, and Kate Mayfield of the FBI. WASP, WASP, Wop, WASP.

Kate Mayfield came to the coffee bar and began making herself tea. She is supposed to be my mentor, whatever that means. As long as it doesn't mean partner.

She said to me, "I like that tie."

"I once strangled a Ninja warrior to death with it. It's my favorite."

"Really? Hey, how are you getting along here?"

"You tell me."

"Well, it's too soon for me to tell you. You tell me why you put in for the IRA section."

"Well, the Muslims don't drink, I can't spell their f-ing names on my reports, and the women can't be seduced."

"That's the most racist, sexist remark I've heard in years."

"You don't get around much."

"This is not the NYPD, Mr. Corey."

"No, but I'm NYPD. Get used to it."

"Are we through attempting to shock and appall?"

"Yeah. Look, Kate, I thank you for your meddling-I mean mentoring-but in about a week, I'll be in the IRA section or off the job."

She didn't reply.

I looked at her as she messed around with a lemon. She was about thirty, I guess, blond, blue eyes, fair skin, athletic kind of build, perfect pearly whites, no jewelry, light makeup, and so on. Wendy Wasp from Wichita. She had not one flaw that I could see, not even a zit on her face or a fleck of dandruff on her dark blue blazer. In fact, she looked like she'd been airbrushed. She probably played three sports in high school, took cold showers, belonged to 4-H, and organized pep rallies in college. I hated her. Well, not really, but about the only thing we had in common was some internal organs, and not even all of those.

Also, her accent was hard to identify, and I remembered that Nick Monti said her father was an FBI guy, and they'd lived in different places around the country.

She turned and looked at me, and I looked at her. She had these piercing eyes, the color of blue dye No. 2, like they use in ice pops. She said to me, "You came to us highly recommended." "By who? Whom?" "Whom. By some of your old colleagues in Homicide." I didn't reply. "Also," she said, "by Ted and George." She nodded toward Schmuck and Putz. I almost choked on my coffee. Why these two guys would say anything nice about me was a total mystery. "They aren't fond of you, but you impressed them on that Plum Island case." "Yeah, I even impressed myself on that one." "Why don't you give the Mideast section a try?" She added, "If Ted and George are the problem, we can switch you to another team within the section." "I love Ted and George, but I really have my heart set on the anti-IRA section." "Too bad. This is where the real action is. This is a career builder." She added, "The IRA are pretty quiet and well behaved in this country." "Good. I don't need a new career anyway." "The Palestinians and the Islamic groups, on the other hand, are potentially dangerous to national security." "No `potentially' about it," I replied. "World Trade Center." She didn't reply. I'd come to discover that these three words in the ATTF were like, "Remember Pearl Harbor." The intelligence community got caught with their pants down on that one, but came back and solved the case, so it was a draw. She continued, "The whole country is paranoid about a Mideast terrorist biological attack or a nuclear or chemical attack. You saw that on the Plum Island case. Right?" "Right." "So? Everything else in the ATTF is a backwater. The real action is in the Mideast section, and you look like a man of action." She smiled. I smiled in return. I asked her, "What's it to you?" "I like you." I raised my eyebrows. "I like New York Neanderthals." "I'm speechless." "Think about it." "Will do." I glanced at a TV monitor close by and saw that the flight we were waiting for, Trans-Continental [ep1[rs75 from Paris, was inbound and on time. I asked Ms. Mayfield, "How long do you think this will take?" "Maybe two or three hours. An hour of paperwork here, then back to Federal Plaza, with our alleged defector, then we'll see." "See what?" "Are you in a rush to get somewhere?" "Sort of." "I feel badly that national security is interfering with your social life." I didn't have a good reply to that, so I said, "I'm a big fan of national security. I'm yours until six p.m." "You can leave whenever you want." She took her tea and rejoined our colleagues. So, I stood there with my coffee, and considered the offer to take a hike. In retrospect, I was like the guy standing in quicksand, watching it cover my shoes, curious to see how long it would take to reach my socks, knowing I could leave anytime soon. Unfortunately, the next time I glanced down, it was up to my knees.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 352 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006

    A Great Read!

    I read this book in one week - it was just too hard to put down. John Corey comes back as the character I fell in love with in Plum Island and is just as funny as he was in that book. If the book had been all from the perspective of Asad Khalil, or if John Corey wasn't a funny guy, I probably wouldn't have liked it because it would freak me out a little more than I like to be freaked out. Aside from the humor, the book has some disturbing features, outlining just how easy it might be for America to be attacked, and also delving into the mind of a terrorist. I read it in 2006, needless to say way after 9/11, and when Corey was looking out at the Towers, wondering if something else would happen . . . goosebumps. Really. Sometimes I wondered if Nelson DeMille had some kind of phychic ability . . All in all a wonderful book. DeMille is definitely my favorite author, and he does his job well.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Lion's Game

    This book is a little over 900 pages - I wished it was longer. It grabbed my attention for the begining and closley held it until the very last page. Another must read by DeMille.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2010

    DeMille at his best. A MUST RERAD!

    This is one of the greatest Demille books I have ever read. I love them all but this was special. So true to reality. You will wonder how this book was written prior to 9-11-01. A must read for any DeMille fan.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    ABSOLUTELY ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES!

    Nelson DeMille must be prescient. Written long before 9/11, but after the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center, his story of a foreign terrorist from the Middle East coming to American soil to seek vengeance for past wrongs done to him and his country is great, and a little creepy. John Corey is one of my favorite characters in modern literature: wise-ass, intuitive, smart, susceptible to romance--plus an Irish (former) cop from NYC. Who could ask for anything more!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nelson DeMille is supurb at getting it right!

    From the first page to the last, Nelson DeMille had me. I loved his "Wild Fire", so I decided to go back and read this one. Amazing how DeMille is able to take a real life scenario, the US bombing of Lybia, and make such a fantastic story about it. Could it happen... let's hope not! An excellent read. You won't want to put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Once again Nelson DeMille writes an awesome book!

    I could be very good friends with the main character John Corey. He is a wise-ass and a little irreverent. This is a very realistic book...
    I have enjoyed all of the John Corey series and look forward to more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent return of John Corey

    On April 15, 1986, American planes bombed Libya. Now, the infamous terrorist Asad ¿The Lion¿ Khalil is heading to New York allegedly to defect to the west. The FBI, including former NYPD now Fed John Corey, waits for Asad¿s arrival. However, when the plane lands, everyone inside is dead and Asad is missing. John thinks Asad killed everyone before escaping somewhere in America. <P>Asad has a personal agenda, vengeance on those who killed his family in the attack fourteen years ago. He begins a terrorist journey across the nation as John and his cohorts pursue him to stop him. John finds his quarry more cunning and dangerous than anything he has ever dealt with, even on the meanest streets of New York. He knows he must change the rules of THE LION¿S GAME if he is to survive let alone defeat his sly opponent. <P>THE LION¿S GAME marks the return of John Corey (see Plum Island) as a winner for fans of taut thrillers. John retains his street savvy, in your face personality, even when he wanders with a fast food-like romance that feels more like filler material. Still as solid and complete as his character is developed, he cannot compare to his incredibly perfected opponent. Though a dangerous assassin, readers will not only understand Asad and his personal Jihad, but, in spite his deadly activities, at times root for him to triumph. The tense story line is fast-paced and filled with action as expected from Nelson DeMille, who is a sure shot to return to the top of the New York Times best seller list. <P>Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Kaiboshman

    One heck of a great read. The downside.....I couldn't put it down. I stayed up way too late reading, I was tired at work all the following day. A really good story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great read... I love John Corey...

    I so love John Corey... In this book he does not disappoints, but left me wanting more, that is why I am so glad the Lion is coming out in 2010. Kudos. As to the overall story, very sad.. but what sold it for me what the characters and John Corey. Thanks for a great read...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of My Favs

    Great thriller, right from the get go. This was my first introduction to DeMille and his leading character John Corey. The sarcastic humor is right down my alley. I would recommend any book in the Corey Series. It's a little creepy that this book was written before 9/11/01 but does make it more believable. Pick it up, you won't regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2009

    a REAL page turner

    The second book of a four novel series that will keep you entertained from the beginning to the end. The excitement will keep you engaged and you will fall in love with John Corey and Kate Mayfield.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2014

    Excellent read. What Plum Island lacked, this book did not. Not

    Excellent read. What Plum Island lacked, this book did not. Not much mystery but fast paced and well written. It's all about the chase. I like the author's sense of humor and enjoy a chuckle when I read. I'm neither a scholar nor a literary person. I like to read and I like to be entertained. For those of you who seek deep meaning in what the read, try the Internal Revenue Code. I found the book entertaining.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Great

    This is a excelent book , I enjoyed every page

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  • Posted February 19, 2014

    Great I enjoyed every page of the book

    Great I enjoyed every page of the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Highly recommend

    Really good book. Enjoyed it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 2, 2013

    Great Read, Do not miss it; Hello fans of Mr. DeMille, from th

    Great Read, Do not miss it;

    Hello fans of Mr. DeMille, from the begging to the end, this novel takes you on a ride of excitement, You will fall in love with his character John Corey. Hi wit, humor and keen eye for trouble was amazing. Enjoy yourself and the story line.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Very Highly Recommended

    I enjoy Nelson De Mille's novels very much. He has a great sense of humor. He writes a police procedure novel. It's hard to put the book down when it,s time to do something else.

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  • Posted June 29, 2013

    ??????

    I really liked the first book of the John Corey series and the character and was looking forward to more. But this book was very disturbing. Still liked John Corey, but the book just seemed liked an instructional how-to for terrorists to come over here and kill us all. And also showed how inept our government branches of security are. If they are all going to be like this, I won't read another.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Dawnstone

    "Here I am."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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