I’ve put in a transfer to the ATTF’s Irish Republican Army section, which I will probably get. I don’t have any real feelings about the IRA either way, but at least the IRA babes are easy to look at, the guys are more fun than your average Arab terrorist, and the Irish pubs are primo. I could do some real good in the anti-IRA section. Really. – John Corey, The Lion’s Game
It took me more than six weeks to listen to the five books in Nelson DeMille’s John Corey series, but it was time well spent. Everything about these books is fantastic – DeMille is the master of taut, suspenseful thrillers, and reader Scott Brick nails every performance.
John Corey is a wiseass NYPD homicide cop with an unerring nose for trouble and a healthy aversion to following orders. When he’s injured on the job and pensioned off, he becomes a contract agent for the Anti-Terrorism Task Force, where he continues to pursue justice the way he sees fit. Corey has an obsession with the truth, and his deep-seated sense of justice and fair play often forces him to work outside common boundaries. If he gets in trouble with his superiors while doing so, well…it's easier to beg forgiveness rather than permission, right? That's pretty much John Corey's motto.
John Corey Books in Chronological Order
- Plum Island
- The Lion's Game
- Night Fall
- Wild Fire
- The Lion
- The Panther (expected publication: Fall 2012)
I cannot emphasize how well Scott Brick performs John Corey’s character. He has the NY accent down cold, but he also captures Corey’s irreverence and sarcasm perfectly. Just how good is he? Nelson DeMille has said that when he writes the books, he hears Scott Brick as John Corey in his head.
The books are nearly a hundred hours in total(!), but they’re so action-packed and fast-paced that I barely noticed how long they took. I’ve listed them in chronological order above, but put them in order of my favorites below. If you're game for a lot of audiobooks, by all means read them in order, but if you only have time for one or two, follow this list. I read them out of order, and each book works well as a stand-alone.
- The Lion’s Game – This one goes on my list of all-time top audiobooks and is one I’ll happily listen to multiple times despite its length. When a jumbo jet from Paris lands at JFK with all its passengers and crew dead, Corey finds himself hunting a vicious terrorist with a thirst for revenge against America. To complicate matters, Corey is assigned to work with Kate Mayfield, a straight-laced FBI agent whom he dubs “Wendy WASP from Witchita," and who is determined to keep him in line. I gave this audiobook to my brother and, no joke, he called me everyday to tell me how good it was. Take his word for it – it’s that good. (No. 2 in the series; 24 hr, 52 mins)
- Night Fall – Five years after the crash of TWA Flight 800, Corey and Kate Mayfield (now his wife) want to reopen the investigation into the mysterious crash off Long Island. Was it terrorism, friendly fire or a mechanical accident? Unfortunately, someone in the government doesn’t want them getting too close to the truth. This book highlights Corey’s detective instincts and is a fascinating glimpse into pre-9/11 anti-terrorism efforts and the build-up to 9/11. (No. 3 in the series; 14 hr, 45 mins)
- Wild Fire – One year after September 11, Corey and Kate investigate a secret right-wing club bent on ending Islamic terrorism permanently. DeMille claims the premise of the book (a government program titled Wild Fire) is real. For all our sakes, I hope not. This one is an interesting look into homegrown terrorism. (No. 4 in the series; 18hr, 51 mins)
- Plum Island – In the first book in the series, Corey is recovering from his on-the-job injuries by relaxing at his uncle’s beach house on Long Island. While there, he’s unofficially pulled into a murder investigation that involves the threat of biological weapons and hints at a history of piracy. This one starts off really well but lost steam toward the end. Still, it’s a great intro to Corey. (No. 1 in the series; 19 hr, 42 mins)
- The Lion – This is a direct sequel to The Lion’s Game, but it's a bit too gory for my taste. Corey faces off against an old nemesis, but after an attack on Kate, he seems to lose all sense of honor or perspective. It’s still a good listen, but it didn’t have the humor of the previous books. (No. 5 in the series; 15 hr, 45 mins)
Thanks to Jen at Devourer of Books for hosting Sound Bytes, a weekly audiobook feature! Visit Jen’s site for links to other audiobook reviews. Happy listening!
*Note all above links are to the unabridged books on Audible.com.