Sunday, October 5, 2008
The Gate House by Nelson DeMille
I had never read any other books by Nelson DeMille so I had no warning about what was to come. Certainly his style of writing breathes life into and embodies all that is sarcastic in a protagonist and that fitted John Sutter to a T. I found John's sarcasm to be very difficult to relate to and his snideness made me feel less than sympathetic about the past events in his life. Frankly, in many ways, I am surprised that John ever had a family or friends to come back to. This book wraps up the story of the characters begun in the novel "The Gold Coast".
The book takes place on the Gold Coast on the eastern seaboard of America in the aftermath of 9/11. I only mention this because it is spoken about frequently in the book as it pertains to the changes in people's consciousness about their invincibility or lack thereof.
John has returned from London, where he has been practising law since he returned from his 3 year adventure sailing around the world. He left his home and family originally when his wife shot her lover Frank Bellarosa, a mafia don, who was testifying for the FBI. The subsequent fallout of notoriety and tabloid fame created a monster that John needed to escape from.
John returns because an old family retainer of his exwife's family, the Stanhopes, is on her deathbed and as her executor he is needed. He takes up residence in the gate house of the old family estate and is disconcerted to find that the son of the old mafia don has moved into the new housing complex that was built on the grounds of Bellarosa's estate. John knows that the son bears his exwife Susan ill will and he is worried about her despite himself. John has had very little contact with his exwife but he needs to impress upon her the seriousness of this situation but also protect himself from further reprisal.
None of the characters were very likable people throughout the entire story but I still became invested in their eventual success and the conclusion was satisfying. Despite myself, I enjoyed this novel as it appealed to the inner secret tabloid reader in me but I found the book to be too long. Reminded me of reading Harold Robbins' books in my teens.