4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is the follow up to "The Lion's Game" - a game of cat and mouse between detective John Corey and "The Lion" a dangerous Libyan killer/terrorist. You don't need to read that to enjoy this, but it helps.
The Lion's Game was set just before 9/11 and this a couple of years after. The Lion is back to complete unfinished business which generally means killing people. He also has a side mission which may have much wider consequences...
Corey and wife Kate are good characters; their dialogue has much in the way of wit and banter. The Lion is a little more of a stock bad guy - utterly ruthless and single minded - and while the author does try to flesh out his motivation, it would be hard for anyone to find the smallest bit of sympathy for him.
So once again the chase is on as Corey and his colleagues try to track down The Lion while knowing that some of them might be targets themselves. Generally it runs at quite a pace, but there are one or two quite slow patches where Corey acts as bait.
The secondary mission doesn't quite work for me and felt crammed in at the end but generally this is a quite acceptable thriller with an engaging lead character.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
DeMille isn't daft - he knows what he is doing, even if the hero of The Lion, John Corey, a maverick retired NYPD officer now part of an Anti-terrorist Task Force who does things his own way - the hard way, of course - does comes across as bit of a macho jerk. Constantly quipping in the face of danger, making sarcastic remarks at every opportunity, usually directed against women and Muslims (or basically anyone who isn't as all-American and as heroic as John Corey), DeMille knows that this is what a large proportion of his readership want. Nothing too complex, no "questions of moral equivalencies" - there are simply good guys and bad guys. The good guys are our own, the bad guys those evil foreign types who can't be trusted since they don't embrace the American way.
Just in case you still aren't sure where he stands, since Corey plays hard and fast with the rule book ("...skip the trial, pass jail, and go directly to the morgue") - he'll tell you in no uncertain terms. He's stoked up with "a patriotic buzz going, especially after 9/11" and the "Abduls" from "Sandland" are going to get what they deserve. It's not too difficult either to get where Corey's arch-nemesis Asad Khalil, also known as The Lion, is coming from. A Libyan Muslim terrorist, sponsored by Al Quaeda, Khalil has returned to American soil on unfinished business - a jihad to kill anyone involved in the US bombing of Tripoli that killed his entire family. Having failed in their last encounter, he's got Corey in his sights, after he settles a few other scores, and he's pretty ruthless in the grim manner in which he exacts his vengeance.
DeMille clearly isn't daft, and the plotting isn't stupid either. It's a classic battle of wits between good and evil, a revenge grudge match between super-hero and master-villain, in the most thrilling and dramatic encounters (the first attack on Corey takes place in the middle of a sky-diving exercise). It's often ridiculous, but you know that, and the author doesn't insult your intelligence by trying to make it too realistic, but he also doesn't make everything too easy or let overly-convenient twists introduce plot-holes. The Lion is consistent and thrilling within its own universe, within the world that the reader wants to believe, one where the security forces and counter-terrorism units are on top of things.
To be fair, DeMille does make some token attempt to try to reveal the mindset of the Islamic terrorist, switching in alternate sections between Corey's and Khalil's viewpoints, but one suspects that this is only really to demonise the terrorist further and heighten the sense of tension that is building towards a final confrontation between the two rivals. Regardless of whether you like what he does, since the novel clearly sets out to appeal to a patriotic militant right-wing mindset, and whether you consequently find Corey agreeable or not, that's smart writing.
While all the elements are in place however, DeMille rather disappoints in the execution. The pacing is curious, starting off all-action before settling down to a more measured cat-and-mouse chase. Even there, the alternate section structure falters, leaving rather too much time for Corey to sit around cracking bad jokes and being all macho as he sets himself up as live bait for the Lion. After all the build-up, the inevitable showdown also proves to be disappointing - it's unconvincingly and predictably staged and over much too quickly. The Lion does what it does reasonably well, but the offensive tone - deliberate and tongue-in-cheek though it may be - may well put many readers off, particularly as the pay-off this time just isn't good enough.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2010
It may have been all the hype, the long period waiting for Nelson to write and then publish his book "The Lion" or it may simply be that Nelson has run his course. Up to now, I have enjoyed each and every one of his books as has everyone with whom I have shared them with.
One previous reviewer reckons that Nelson chickened out on some of his plot lines thus creating confusion within the story. No doubt that contributed to it. All I can say is that I am disappointed with The Lion as I believe it has fallen short of the usual high standard of storylines, featured in Nelson's other books, together with the dynamic interplay of characters that keep you entralled and stop you putting down the book because you have this need to finish it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I've read all of DeMille's books and liked them all; of course, to varying degrees. I was very much looking forward to reading his latest, The Lion, prior to its release. Overall, The Lion held my interest from beginning to end -- but it is definitely not up to par for DeMille. I found the premise of the plot, which picks up about three years after the plot of The Lion's Game ended, to be interesting; and I was expecting DeMille to deliver the plot with his usual amount of suspense and surprises. Ultimately, however, the level of suspense was very limited -- coming mostly during the first fifty pages or so and the last fifty pages, as was the surprise level. Further, the suspense and surprises DeMille attempts to deliver are highly predictable. My main problem with The Lion was not the story, which, as I said, was entertaining enough despite several sequences of questionable credibility. My problem pertains to my steadily growing dislike of DeMille's main character, John Corey, who has now been the featured character in five books. Corey's constant wise cracks and know-it-all attitude is much more annoying to me than humorous. (By the way, this criticism is also true about DeMille's main character, John Sutter, in his The Gold Coast and The Gate House books. Other than Corey being in law enforcement and Sutter being a lawyer, these characters have virtually interchangeable personalities.They even have the same first name!) I'm about to the point that I might skip future Demille books that focus on Corey. In addition, while character development had been a major strength of DeMille's in his early works, almost all of the other characters in The Lion are one-dimensional, and the villain has some serious credibilty issues. I don't think you'll dislike The Lion, and if its your first DeMille book, you'll probably be satisfied by it. However, if you're a long-time DeMille fan, I think you'll find it, as I did, to not be up to this author's usual high standard.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent fast moving thriller about a retired NYPD homicide detective , John Corey , who is being hunted by a Libyan terrorist on a mission to kill him. Fans of Lee Child will find the style of writing very like the Jack Reacher novels but the protagonist in this case has a cynical sense of humour and he's not quite as invincible. The tension lasts right up to the last page of the novel - brilliant.
on 12 August 2012
I am a huge fan of Nelson DeMille, I have read most of his books and all of the John Corey character books. I was really looking forward to reading The Lion as The Lions Game was such an excellent page turner. However, I found that The Lion was pretty poor.
It was extremely drawn out as has been stated in some other reviews, realistically it could have been squeezed in to about 250 pages. Also while it focuses on John Corey for most of the time as it should towards the end there is a long period of time where there is no info about Khalil. So you have a big gap between when he kills the last person and when he meets John Corey. Whats he supposed to have been doing all this time? Relaxing having a few cocktails perhaps.
I gave this book 2 stars because I am comparing it to the other DeMille books, perhaps if you read this without knowing how good the other books were you might give it a better review.
All in all underwhelming.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Some reviewers of "popular fiction", which is what Nelson DeMille writes, compare it to better, more nuanced fiction, books that win all sorts of literary awards. And the "popular fiction" always comes out worse in the comparison. Sort of like comparing "War and Peace" with the latest Danielle Steel. Couldn't, shouldn't be done. I believe in comparing books like "The Lion", with other books the author has written. I mean, if you didn't like previous DeMille books, you probably wouldn't even be thinking of buying and reading this one.
So, I'm giving "The Lion" five stars because it compares favorably with previous DeMille novels, particularly his previous John Corey novels. Nelson DeMille seems to have a great fondness for smart-mouthed middle aged men named "John". He uses "John Corey" as the protagonist of this series of books, and "John Sutter" as the protagonist of the Long Island series of books. The "Johns" are basically interchangable; foul-mouthed, sexists, and fairly contemptuous of anybody with power.
"The Lion" is a sequel of "The Lion's Game", which was published right before the attacks of 9/11. This book takes place in 2003, the post-9/11 New York City. The same protagonists, John Corey - ex-NYPD and current FBI - and his by-now wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield are back. The villain - possibly the meanest, cruelest, and nastiest since Hannibal Lector - is again in the US, to finish up his killing spree begun in the previous book. He is The Lion; a Libyan who was trained in terror killings by the KBG and is intent on killing anybody who was complicit in a bombing raid the US carried out against Libya in 1988, in which his entire family was killed. And killing any and all who tried to end his killing spree. Oh, and killing in the most grotesque ways possible. Garroting, face-peeling, and beheading are just a few of the Lion's favorite means of dispatch.
And this is why I am taking a star away from the five I originally gave "The Lion". Because Nelson DeMille "chickened out" in his story telling. So many people are killed in his book that because he lets one of the characters - one of the main characters - survive a "Lion-attack" that by rights she shouldn't have, it makes the plot more unbelievable. I would have admired DeMille's story-telling "chops" if he had allowed this character to die, but I think he was afraid to do so because it might upset the readers. You can argue that the survival of this character was intrinsic to the ensuing plot line, but I will say the plot line would have been stronger had the character died.
So, for that small but irritating bit of plotting, I am selfishly deducting a star from my review. However, "The Lion" is a good, fast read that most people, including me, will enjoy. John Corey is an enjoyable character and I'll look forward to another in the series.
on 29 August 2013
After enjoying the first book a couple of years ago but disappointed by the end (not realising there was sequel) I couldn't wait to read this one and on the whole it was pretty good despite few surprises and the main character starting to irritate. I am not a prolific reader other than on holiday and the spreed I went through this book is testament to how easy this book is to read.
In my opinion not as gripping as Night Fall but still worth a read and although The Lion has few twists and turns it goes to prove that you don't always need to over-complicate matters to produce a good book.
on 6 January 2012
As someone else has said in their review, I was really looking forward to reading The Lion, and saved the book to read over Christmas. John Corey seemed lacklustre and the plot was unsatisfactory. The Lion himself was graphically violent, but it felt like the author was just trying to spice up a book which could have been compacted and tacked on to the end of the original. Give John Corey something to really get his teeth into next time Nelson!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2012
This is an amazing sequel to The Lion's Game.Lovers of Nelson deMille's work will be familiar with the story, but for anyone who hasn't yet read it. Buy it. It is a page-turner. A word of warning. Start reading on a day when you don't have work the following day because you won't be able to stop reading well into the night. Nelson deMille's last three works have been his best so far and I can't wait to read his next one. I bought several copies to give to friends to whom I had given The Lion's Game. We were all impressed with how the tension and action did not abate with this sequel. Watch out with Amazon for his next.