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Master storyteller's tale of honour and corruption in the US army
Nelson DeMille is one of America's most popular and bestselling authors, and a new book from him is a keenly awaited event. A former US Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam, he is the author of nine acclaimed novels. He lives in Long Island, New York.
After the wit and panache of his bestselling The Gold Coast , DeMille's latest effort may disappoint his fans. The author returns to his more customary stylish-suspense-novel mode but retains a smart-aleck narrator--here, Paul Brenner, of the Army's Criminal Investigation Division. At Fort Hadley, Ga., Ann Campbell, daughter of the post commander, is found murdered under bizarre circumstances. Brenner learns that Ann's entire personal life, in fact, veered toward the bizarre; she even had a secret basement ``playroom'' in her home. Moral turpitude runs riot at Fort Hadley, and Brenner must wade through muck of all sorts to discover the killer's identity. Too much muck, as it turns out: the detective work becomes repetitious, and suspense is unfortunately in short supply. Brenner's one-liners have none of the punch of John Sutter's wry observations in The Gold Coast --indeed, the device of a waggish narrator doesn't fit these proceedings; the wisecracks seem grafted on. So, too, does a resumed romance between Brenner and an old flame--we don't get a good enough picture of either to care about whatever sparks might fly. Characterization in general is fuzzy, though DeMille captures the often unquestioning regimen of life on a military base. One only wishes that his tale had more spirit and dash. Author tour. (Nov.)