The window on the right featured contemporary bestselling authors like Brad Meltzer, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, and others who make more money writing about what I do than I make doing what I do.
John Corey is a recurring character in Nelson DeMille’s work. He’s a sarcastic detective with the New York Police Department. In this short story available as a Kindle single from Amazon, he stumbles into a mystery.
Arriving on the scene of what looks like a tragic accident, John Corey isn’t so sure. The location is a bookstore, and it appears the owner, Otis Parker, was crushed by an unbalanced bookcase. Something doesn’t sit right with Corey, though, and he begins questioning everyone attached to Parker from his wife to his assistant at the shop, to a mystery writer due to sign books at the shop that day.
We get inside Corey’s head and hear a lot of sarcastic thoughts. Sometimes it seemed to be a bit too much. Corey was dodging his superiors who wanted to close the case as an accident, and it just seemed like he had a sarcastic smugness that he knew better than them. Of course, he did, in the end, but at times it was irritating getting there.
Since it’s a single, the story is pretty concise. There’s not a lot here that’s extraneous to the mystery at the heart of the story. Corey is going to solve the mystery pretty quick. A couple of times, I actually did think it was going to turn out to be nothing more than an accident, but of course we couldn’t have the smart-aleck detective not be one ahead of his superiors. DeMille did good evolving the situation slowly, so the reader felt like they were figuring it out as time went on, rather than knowing what was going to happen and waiting for the pieces to fall into place.
The other characters aren’t all that deep. They are there to serve as suspects and they won’t be seen again after this story, so we’re not supposed to get attached to them. They fit into the story well, but they aren’t memorable.
I have to say that overall, I did enjoy The Book Case. I don’t know if I’ve just been reading too many novels lately with smart-mouth lead characters that I’m supposed to like or if Corey was just more annoying here. Other than that, it’s a great short story and a good way to introduce someone to DeMille’s work.
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