Wednesday, November 27, 2013

THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille

The Gold Coast is my favorite Nelson DeMille novel.  Therefore, I felt that I owed it to myself to read the sequel.  The length, however, seems a bit self-indulgent on the author's part. I enjoy the witticisms of the narrator, John Sutter, but the play-by-play of his every move is a little much.  In fact, nothing much happens over the course of almost 600 pages.  The late Elmore Leonard refused to review books that were more than 300 pages, and I'm with him on that.  Actually, I can go 350 with no problem, but I digress.  John Sutter has returned after a 10-year hiatus to the estate where he once lived with his wife, Susan.  Susan somehow managed to avoid trial for murdering her lover, Frank Bellarosa, a Mafia don and government witness, 10 years ago.  Now I ask you:  Why would John Sutter reunite with this woman?  She must be really beautiful and really good in bed, but even so, I felt that John was a little hasty in kissing and making up.  Plus, since her very wealthy parents dislike him intensely, they will surely cut off Susan's allowance and her inheritance if John and Susan remarry.  John knows that Susan can't possibly adjust to a more frugal lifestyle, and what if their two adult children lose their trust funds?  John is an attorney, but he's unemployed at the moment, and his past affiliation with the Mafia and a wife who literally got away with murder may have a negative impact on his future opportunities.  This just seemed like so much silliness, especially in contrast to The Gold Coast, which was such a good story about how seductive power can be.  The plot of this book also has a darker angle, in that Bellarosa's son Anthony wants to avenge his father's death.  This means trouble for Susan, who can't quite fathom that anyone would want to kill her.  See what I mean?  She's a little ditsy, and I just couldn't quite buy that John would so easily and quickly forgive and forget.  He lost my respect by doing so.

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