On Long Island's North Fork, wonderfully roguish NYPD bad-boy detective John Corey assists the local police chief at a crime scene that features a house deck garnished with a married couple dead of clean head shots. Investigators suppose that the pair, researchers at a heavily guarded lab on Plum Island, were involved in smuggling a viral antidote. But Corey, unpersuaded, soon discovers that local history and buried-treasure lore fascinated the victims, which led to a relationship with North Fork's leading socialite, the foppish Fredric Tobin. Three more people die prematurely, and the chase is on. DeMille's Mike Hammer-like cop is a chuckle-provoking winner, and the plot cleverly combines biological hazards and shiver-me-timbers pirate legends. An entertaining mix from the big-selling DeMille. --Gilbert Taylor
I read this book on the recommendation of my wife, who is a HUGE Nelson Demille fan. I don't read mysteries, but I thought I would give it a try.
During the first few chapters, my reaction was mild annoyance. The narration, told in first-person by convalescing NYPD Detective John Corey, was just too flip, the wisecracks too forced, so that it detracted from the story.
Another thing that bothered me was that Corey comes from the "No class, no manners, no charm--yet the chicks can't keep their hands off" style of character. I couldn't understand why the pretty antiquarian was so eager to jump him at first sight. Oh well, have your fantasy, Mr. Demille.
Some of Corey's lines are pretty good. After one fellow cracks a lame joke, Corey muses, "He smiled at his wit; appropriately it was a half smile." And he actually is a good investigator, in a bumbling, Columbo sort of way.
The plot was well thought out, and had me rushing through to its exciting conclusion. This was one of the fastest books I've read, as I couldn't put the darn thing down.
All in all a good yarn, if a little silly at times. Kind of like a Hardy Boys mystery for adults.
Some Indian bits in Plum Island:
All in all, Plum Island is a solid mystery/adventure. It's as good as an average book in the Harry Bosch or Jack Reacher series, two of my favorites. Rob's rating: 8.0 of 10.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.