Monday, October 14, 2013

Not Your Usual DeMille

The Quest – Nelson DeMille (Center Street Publishing)

If you are a long time fan of author Nelson DeMille and you grab a copy of his latest literary effort, The Quest expecting his usual wisecracking characters, delivering his standard crackling dialogue, then you may be in for a disappointment.

In this updated version of The Quest, DeMille re-visits, revises and extends on a story that he first published way back in 1975 in paperback. Not sure what lead DeMille and his publishing house to offer up this re-do; the fact that most DeMille fans had never seen or heard of the original book, which was a limited release and hard to track down or if 38 years after the fact they thought there might be some life left in the saga of the ultimate quest, the hunt for the holy grail.

Hey it worked for Dan Brown and countless others and let’s face it DeMille was ahead of the curve back in 1975. Having never read the original version of the story, I don’t have any way of drawing a comparison between the two, so I have to work with what I have at hand. While DeMille won me over with his John Corey character a true master at cracking wise, I can’t say that I found any of the characters involved here has offering something I’d like to hear from again and again.

At times early in the book I found myself backtracking to try to grasp characters, settings and time periods which seemed overly difficult to track. Again not knowing where the old left off and the new began, I can’t pinpoint where the new story got on track. In interviews DeMille has stated that as he approached the project he expected it to be a quick project and even he was surprised that his writing style had changed dramatically, so there was some time needed to revisit his earlier style and technique. It is that process that may throw some fans for a loop.

Over all the story and the book hang together well, even with some segments being a tougher slog. Put up against the backdrop of DeMille’s standard fare, this would rate somewhere in the 2.5 out of 5 range; taken as a standalone it might benefit from a bump up to a 3.

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