Masterful storyteller has a winner with 'The Lion'

"The Lion" by Nelson DeMille; 978-0-446-69960-0; 448 pages; $14.99, Published: June 7, 2011; Paperback; Mystery; Grand Central Publishing.

Undoubtedly, Nelson DeMille is a masterful storyteller, as his 15 previous novels attest. He has continued his streak of suspenseful thrillers with "The Lion," where he reintroduces John Corey from the New York Times best-seller "The Lion's Game," published in 2000. Corey was battling his nemesis, Libyan terrorist Asad Khalil, throughout that novel, and now DeMille has brought back the characters to send chilling shivers up your spine, but this time it takes place after 9/11.

As Howard Cosell was the great sports event prognosticator, DeMille delivers as the foreseer of events that have been sustained by past predictions that came true. "The Lion" stands out because of the ability of John Corey, a former NYPD Homicide detective who became a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force. His fearless attitude in seeking out Khalil and those associated with him is gripping to say the least. Corey becomes aware there is a sinister plot to kill him, his wife, and many others who are associated with him in the fight against terror when he finds out Khalil is back.

The original novel, "The Lion's Game," is referenced. Don't worry if you never read it because the essential elements are easily transferred to this updated version of conflict between Corey and Khalil. Their past encounters are brought into play and are easily enmeshed, but with subtle twists when they are brought out by the plots related by both of them. These thoughts clarify any doubt how much respect each has for the abilities of the other, but also their extremely deadly frames of mind as well.

This book is an adult novel and not for the squeamish. Khalil is a treacherous killer whose victims include anyone who has been associated with the action, including those who assist him. He does not hesitate to shoot, stab, slash and strangle his targets. Countless bodies are left strewn about in cabs, planes, and curb sides. He has no mercy as he even beheads a victim!

Death is the main theme of the book. However, Corey's relationship with his wife is brought into play. She is an FBI agent who works with John Corey on the task force. The story begins with the death of a pilot who had taken part in a bombing mission in Libya that killed many members of the family of Asad Khalil, explaining his quest for vengeance.

There is a death-defying description of an encounter that takes place during a sky diving excursion the Coreys book with a local sky diving club. The deception that follows and the subsequent events are spun with extreme details that make the reader feel as though they are either a participant or observer.

This book is highly recommended. When you read it, you will see why this author was No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list. This is a five-star book.

Publishers Weekly

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Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. He is a member of the faculty of Mohave Community College in Kingman. Visit Clark Isaacs at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com.