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2.0 out of 5 starsTedious
Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2018
I almost stopped reading at about 1/4 of the book because I knew there was only one conclusion possible, and the end was more or less EXACTLY as I anticipated. But I really enjoy his prose and research so I read on. He was able to pick up the pace once we arrived in DC, but I believe that was a desperate attempt to introduce a character and provide the publisher with more words.This was a love story that a couple of chapters could have sufficed. Not my favorite book and perhaps it is my least favorite of his but now I have read them all, glad I didn't start with this one I may not have read another.
3.0 out of 5 starsNot up to DeMille's usual standards.
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2016
I normally give DeMille books 5+ stars - and this book is good, but not great, and different. So, the difference is likely me and not anything wrong with DeMille. The cadence, tone and feel of this book is different, almost as if DeMille didn't write it. Or, DeMille needed to pound out a novel and this is the result. The characters are a little flat and somewhat not credible. The protagonist is a cross between Jack Reacher and Gabriel Allon - but without the brawn of Reacher or the smarts of Allon. The antagonist is one dimensional; an ogre without the ability to think more than one day into the future. The love interest is suicidal and irrational. The story is predictable with no twists or surprises. Much of the dialog is irrelevant at worst and simple at best. Every other DeMille book I have read has been awesome. This one fell short. Its a good story, but not DeMille's usually masterful crafting of a riveting tale. Will I read more DeMille? You bet! Do I give him a pass on this? Sure.
3.0 out of 5 starsCertainly Not Up To Demille's Usual Work
Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2017
There is something in this book which keeps the reader attracted. Maybe it the very rural, disappearing farm way of life. Maybe the protagonist's return 25 years later to find his old love, now unhappily married. Possibly, the return to boyhood roots, or DeMille's writing style. It's entirely enjoyable in these veins.
However, the plot and ending are very predictable. There are no twists in the novel. The main characters are one dimensional, to the point the secondary characters have as much, if not more substance. Much of the book is given to dialogue of "I love you." "No, I love you more, ad infinitum. This type writing goes on for pages. It's akin to two mid-forties people in puppy love, a state you would find a sixteen year old. Though part of the author's dialogue, this seems as if its filler. There's just so much of it. The book actually could have been shortened from its 520 pages. The last third of the book is where most of the action can be found, though it's mostly all predictable.
Written quite some years ago maybe a reason it's certainly not one of DeMille's best, though DeMille's tongue in cheek humor can be found throughout. I'll go with four stars since, honestly, somehow it kept my interest. All in all, its just a story of a love triangle.
This was more a romance novel. Didn't think Demille, would ever write one like this. Not his greatest work!! Very predictable and how some events occurred far fetched. I have read most of his books this was the worst one. I am being generous with two stars. Probably will not be reading anymore from him for a long while.
5.0 out of 5 starsYeah, I know Nelson DeMille doesn't need my review . . .but. . .
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2014
There are those rare books that you just LIKE. They strike a personal chord. They tell a story that makes you start thinking about some of the "What if's" in your own life. And you are richer for that journey.
This is one of those books.
If you've never experienced unrequited love or never had a really good relationship or have trouble relating to things you can't see or touch, you might not like this book.
But if you still think there is magic and good people in the world and hold on to the possibility that this life you are having is a good one---or if you're in a rough patch, that things could really get better--do yourself a favor and meet the people in this book. Maybe you'd be as glad as I was.
I know that review #3,032 or whatever this is, likely won't get read by too many people (maybe by no one) But in keeping with the wonderful spirit of this book, I'm writing this anyway. Because I enjoyed the book that much. And when something like that happens, sometimes you just gotta tell the world.
4.0 out of 5 starsEntertaining but not an enjoyable read
Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2020
I am having a Nelson DeMille readfest this summer. I have had the hardcover version of this book for many years and i purchased the Kindle version back in April 2020 and I so in late July I began to read Spencerville for the first time.. Nelson DeMille is an amazing writer, with a superb attention to detail and his vivid descriptions of Ohio farmland and Michigan back country do not disappoint. I started out devouring this book. The suspense is overwhelming enough that I had to take a break several times during my read. Though it is obvious who will be left standing on the last page of the page, what is less certain is the mental, emotional and physcical condition that they will be in by the time all is sorted out. I am a 60 year old man and this book put me in tears several times. It is not an enjoyable read - too much violence and abuse - but it is an entertaining read. There are heros in this book but none of them is the character that the bigwigs in Washington are trying to recruit. The premise of the story and its ending are not at all believable and that is why it only gets a four star review from me. But Spencerville is worthy of a second read and that I will give it.
Not one of DeMille’s best books. Since you can read many reviews, I’ll describe this story differently than the reviews I read. This is a story of a government agent retiring who goes home to find his original lover from high school and college who happens to be married. The husband, the antagonist who is in his way, is a despicable character. He’s so despicable, DeMille almost convinces the reader that it’s OK for the main character to commit adultery and push the husband into a life or death scenario. I think the author was trying to convince himself he could make the husband awful enough to justify a deadly confrontation with his wife’s ex-lover. But it’s still about adultery and forcing deadly confrontation.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this very interesting story which basically was about two people, Keith and Annie, who had been each other's first love when they had been teenagers and their attempts to be together, many years later, as they had realised that their love for one another had never dimmed over the years. Unfortunately, things had dramatically changed since their youth, with Keith having served in Vietnam and subsequently going on to be heavily involved with the government, working undercover in the Cold War in various hotspots throughout the world. Annie meanwhile, had stayed at home and married Cliff, the local chief of police; a decision she had bitterly come to regret. What follows is an exciting story full of tension, deadlines, threats, intrigue, drama, humour and romance which is well paced and had my attention riveted throughout.
2.0 out of 5 starsThe wimpiest character Nelson Demille has created
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2011
Let me start by saying up front I am a big fan of Nelson Demille books. Mayday and Nightfall are among my favourite books.
Unfortunately this book, in my opinion, is not up to his normal high standards. It is the only book I have read where the good guy doesn't deserve to win or to get the girl. It's all a bit too lovey dovey for me and for a character supposedly a veteran of various spying/war campaigns Keith Landry sure isn't much of a match for the local beat. I won't give the end away for those of you who haven't read it but the way the bad guy is dealt with at the end kind of says it all.
If you get this you will probably read it and find some parts of the book worthwhile but overall this gets a thumbs down for me. Will move onto the next Demille book I have waiting and hope it's more like the others I have read rather than this one.
I would rank this as being in the top 10 contemporary' novels I've had the pleasure to read. The majority of 'modern' novels I've read have left me turning pages without really caring what the words say. DeMille's style of humour, tension building and masterful storyline left me unable to put the book down and at the same time wishing it would go on for ever. It's an age-old plot and what you read on the books' cover is thoroughly inadequate to describe the emotional highs and lows this book produces.
Good book, despite the American spelling (smile) - certainly unexpurgated.... This guy can write, that's for sure. Good plot(s), plenty action, descriptive and well-formed background. As usual, frequently humorous and witty. You'll enjoy it, I think.
4.0 out of 5 starsNOVEL TWIST ON A WELL-WORN THEME
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 1, 2013
If this was a Steven King novel (which in some ways it resembles), the hero would be a peaceable sort, forced to resort to violence in self defence. In "Spencerville" however, our hero is a former government hit-man and extreme violence is normally his preferred first option for solving problems. The evil small-town sheriff he comes up against is way out of his league here- but gives his adversary a surprisingly good run for his money!