Monday, August 30, 2010

Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva

Nobody does it quite the way you do,
Why'd you have to be so good?
Carly Simon

When I want a good spy thriller, I can always count on Daniel Silva to deliver. For those of you who read my blog, come to the book discussions, stop by my desk to chat about books~~looking for a thriller? Do I have an author for you, the best...Daniel Silva.

Gabriel Allon and his lovely wife, Chiara, are retired from being Israeli spies, and living on the coast in Cornwall, England. Peace and retirement go out the window when old friend and art dealer Julian Isherwood shows up and needs Allon's help. Someone has stolen his Rembrandt, worth $45 million dollars, and killed the art restorer Isherwood had hired. While initially Allon resists Isherwoods pleas to help him find it, he figures how bad could it be....find a painting. Allon wouldn't being working for the Mossard, shouldn't take long to find the painting and return it. When Allon's lovely wife, Chiara, tells him he needs to do this, after all, Allon is an art lover and he has to be curious to see the Rembrandt. How long can it take? How hard would it be?

What should have been relatively easy ends up taking Allon to Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Lake Geneva. It becomes a mad dash to stay ahead of the person(s) who also want the Rembrandt, and will do anything to make sure Allon never sees it. When Allon realizes he needs help, that there might be more to this Rembrandt then meets the eye~~he calls in his friends from Mossard. He also gets help from his  friends in the CIA and MI5. Looking for a lost Rembrandt has uncovered secrets that were long hidden, and now opened up unhealed wounds. As Allon discovers, this Rembrandt has a long and bloody history, and those who are in possession of it usually have bad luck.

I always like the way Silva immerses humanity into his thrillers. While Allon can kill someone without blinking an eye, we are reminded that he is not a just a cold bloodied killer. He feels deeply for those that work for him, and with him. He carries with him  ghosts of some of those he has killed, and when something happens to someone he cares about, he never forgets. Allon will also set out to right wrongs he comes across, no matter how old they may be.

I love the story Silva takes us on. We go behind the scenes of the art world that we wouldn't know about; we're reminded about world politics, which here is to keep a close eye on Iran and those that profess to disagree with what Iran is doing; the Holocaust, while several years ago, still carries scars; and remember, not everyone is really what they appear to be.

I have followed Gabriel Allon since Silva introduced him in The Kill Artist. The growth Allon has gone through, both personally and professionally, are not something I see many authors do. Kudos to Mr. Silva.

I know that when I read one of Silva's books I am in for a treat.  I am never disappointed.  Better yet, those patrons I have recommended him to (and continue to recommend him too) are never disappointed. Thank you Mr. Silva for writing books I am happy to give to people and have them come back and tell me, "What a great book! Thanks!"

Have I mentioned I am big Daniel Silva fan?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

"We're all pilgrims on the same journey-
but some pilgrims have better road maps."
Nelson DeMille

We first met John Corey in Plum Island, where he was a  New York City policeman recovering from multiple gun shot wounds out on the East End of Long Island. (My stomping grounds.) Seems Corey is a character that readers want to visit more often.

The Lion is the fifth in the DeMille's Corey series. Corey is part of  the FBI's Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF), and his wife, Kate Mayfield, is an FBI agent. While you really don't have to read this series in order, I strongly suggest you read The Lion's Game before you read this one. It will set everything up and help with understanding what happens in The Lion.

As promised at the end of The Lion's Game, Libyan terrorist Asad Khalil, aka the Lion, comes back to deal with unfinished business. While killing Corey and Mayfield. is tops on his list, he has other business that he needs to take care of first, like finish killing those on his jihad agenda that Corey and Mayfield prevented him from completing before. Khalil is well known for his inventive ways of killing people and always seems to be one step ahead of them. Then he makes a big mistake. Unfortunately for Khalil, he  goes after Mayfield first, thinking that killing her in front of Corey will make it easier for Khalil to go after Corey. It's just not nice to mess with Corey's wife~~~

The Lion starts with a bang, levels off, then picks back up again as the action becomes fast and furious as we come to the end of the book. Some of what happens here might give you a chill down your spine if you live in NYC, it will make you wonder if this is fiction based on fact.

Can Corey bring Khalil into the net set for him? Who's financing Khalil? What is it Khalil has been hired to do and will he succeed? Yes, DeMille has another thriller that will keep you turning the pages.

I like DeMille's characters in this series. Sadly, some that have gotten killed off, as per the required story line, I find I miss them when their names pop up. While I usally enjoy Corey's sarcasm, it can make me smile and it does help ease some of the tension building in the book, sometimes it's also over the top in places, which I find annoying. Snarky has it's place, but in my opinion, don't overdo it.

I always enjoy a visit with John Corey, so I enjoyed this one too. I do feel better knowing that there are people like Corey protecting our country.

I think my favorite book in the Corey series is Night Fall. This one is about that horrible night on July 17, 1996 when flight TWA 800 crashed(?) off Long Island. I can still remember seeing that fireball over the ocean. In Night Fall, DeMille shares the opinion of many, was it or wasn't it a terrorist attack? I thought this book wrapped up to soon.

Some of my other favorite books by DeMille:

Word of Honor--Ben Tyson was a lieutenant in Vietnam. What happens when a secret comes back to haunt him and possibly destroy the life he has made for himself since the war?

Charm School-What really happened to all those U.S. pilots that disappeared during the Korean and Vietnam War. Had me on the edge of my seat...

Cathedral-An IRA mastermind takes over St. Patrick's Cathedral, which makes the NYPD not to happy.

Talbot Odyssey-Russian mole has been inside the CIA for forty years (yes--40 years) Now it's time for him/her to complete her assignment!

These are some of his oldies, but they still are a great read and I highly recommend any of them.

I must confess, I did not care for the Gold Coast nor the sequel, Gate House. They were just not my cup of tea.  Not a likable main character for me.

Hopefully you find one of these to like!

Happy Reading!