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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  5,866 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Back from the Cold War, intelligence officer Keith Landry returns to his hometown of Spencerville, Ohio. Twenty-five years after their last encounter, Keith runs into his first love, Annie, now unhappily married to the town's chief of police--an abusive alcoholic. In his efforts to reclaim Annie, Keith will have to draw on all the skills of a violent lifetime.
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Published April 1st 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1984)
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Some artists can work in different styles without diminishing quality. Michelangelo's work with oils and sculpture come to mind. When it comes to action mysteries with humor, Nelson DeMille's John Corey series is at the top of my list. I gave all but Wild Fire a 5 star rating. However, Spencerville is not an action mystery with humor. It's a slow romance with an action climax. It's Michelangelo standing under a bridge holding two cans of spray paint.
For an intelligence officer the guy was pretty stupid!!!!

FACTS:Orwellian" describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments
Andrea Larson
Nelson Demille arrived on my favorite authors list after reading The Gatehouse, so I was anxious to read another selection and found Spencerville in the library.

Keith Landry finds himself without a job after budget cuts in the federal government force him to review his life and decide what comes next. After twenty years of serving as a soldier and then intelligence for Uncle Sam, he decides to return to his hometown of Spencerville, OH. Though he won't admit it to himself at first, his main obje
Benjamin Thomas
This novel suffers from mis-categorization. If you begin reading it expecting a thriller in the same vein as Plum Island, Cathedral, or Wild Fire, you will be disappointed, as many of the other reviews here admit. However, if you are looking for a more of a straight fiction, character-driven novel, with lots of backstory, and some bits of action thrown in, then you've come to the right place. DeMille is an excellent writer and has a way of drawing you in no matter what he is writing. I think eve ...more
Tamora Pierce
Is it just me, or does DeMille really have a problem with women? I read several of his books when he first began publishing and stopped because I didn't like the way he handled his female characters. Then I thought I'd try this one because I was on a trip and desperate for a page-turner, it wasn't one of his military titles, and it took place in small town America. I figured it might be okay. Instead the entire ending revolves around the abuse--pages and pages of it--of the errant wife, far more ...more
Hands down, the silliest DeMille book.
The cold war has ended, the MC (ex-CIA) returnes home to a lost love in the heartland and is almost immediately outwitted by a stereotypical, wife-beatin', cheatin', lyin' and theivin' hick cop.
No, really...I'm serious. It's in the book, honest.
Unfortunately, I read this book immediately after "Word of Honor" and was nearly crippled by story intelligence whiplash. I'm still not sure what the moral of the story was behind this one. Maybe it didn't have one.
Marcia Chocinsky
I usually love anything by Nelson DeMille, but this must be an earlier work and his writing wasn't as great as it is now. I found the story itself interesting and I would get caught up in it for a time. Then it would switch gears and I would want to skim over parts just to get through them. I forced myself not to skim and would have quit reading it (something I can't remember doing in forever) but I did want to know how it ended, AND I kept hoping it would improve - after all it is written by Ne ...more
Once again, DeMille has created a book to keep me up all night. After having read only so-so books for the last couple of weeks, what a pleasure it was to finally pick up a red-hot page-turner.

Spencerville is one of his stand-alone books (i.e., not a John Corey novel), and although it was first published in 1995, it stands the test of time well. Part of artistry he brings to his craft is the ability to create believable three-dimensional characters. That along with a consistent fast pace make r
Oct 12, 2013 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who hasn't read it
Shelves: adventure
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dennis D.
I've enjoyed most of Nelson DeMille's books, but this one was an exception.

Spencerville is a standalone story unrelated to some of the author's recurring characters. Keith Landry is an ex-CIA agent who returns home to the rural Ohio town that gives the books its title. Landry still has the hots for his high-school sweetheart, but she’s now married to the abusive and misogynistic small-town sheriff. Can you see where this is headed? Me, too.

The central character is well-drawn, but there’s little
Perry Mowbray
Spencerville was not one of Nelson DeMille's best, we didn't think...

It just never got into the believable realm, which was funny, as in an abstract way the plot made lots of sense, but it just didn't ever get filled out so that it was believable.

In the end, though not un-enjoyable (we didn't hate it), it just seemed ho-hum... but we continue to love his sense of humour!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Marlow
Very detail and could see everything he was explaining to detail. I loved this book so much that I went out and bought three more of his books.
It was a very heart wrenching story and at times a little disterbing, but thrilling. He builds and builds till the end and then you can not put it down so you can get to the end. I like that he didn't use the heroin to fix all the problems, he uses tact to creat the need to finish something.
I was satisfied at the end.
La idea de la novela es muy buena, pero el estilo del amigo Nelson no termina de convencerme, por lo que todo el "punch" que puede tener el guión se diluye en las más de 500 hojas escritas a cámara lenta por el autor.

Básicamente se trata de un romance juvenil que por culpa de la guerra de Vietnam no se materializa, y cuando regresa Keith a Spencerville ya es demasiado tarde porque su mujer se ha casado con el jefe de Policía de la ciudad.
Destaco la descripción de este personaje, llamado Jefe Bax
Mindy Conde
My husband is a big fan of Nelson DeMille and has been after me to read something of his for awhile now. Since I was in between books, he recommended this one to me and I was surprised that I liked it more than I expected. It is definitely more of a romance novel than adventure, which I've heard is this author's normal forte, but there was certainly some adventure tossed in there as well. There was a definite good guy, a despicable bad guy, and the sassy love interest who is caught in between. O ...more
Another great page-turner from DeMille. His characters and settings are very deep, very rich. You'd swear he grew up in this small town, rural atmosphere.

* Couldn't finish
** I had nothing else to do
*** Passed the time, would be **** for genre / author fans
**** Everyone could enjoy this book
***** Everyone should read this book, I'll read it again
It is not the best written story, but I really enjoyed reading this. It all happens in Ohio where I grew up, so it was fun to read about Ohio State, Bowling Green State University and the area along 75.
3 1/2 stars, DeMille's ability to write such diverse novels that never seem to become repetitive, as some other authors do, is uncanny and makes him one of today's best authors, in my opinion.
Dona Krueger
One of my favorite authors. How this same DeMille could write Cathedral is a critics question. I felt I was reading a very bad romance with a tiny bit of elementary evil thrown in.
Razvan Banciu
not one of his best. more romance than fiction, with quite a violent finish. I find hard to believe that a fine, bright and civilised young woman would marry such a brute.
Kevin Canwell
One of his best. Outcome is totally unpredictable. Hero saved by a savvy woman.
Ada Iaboni
So far, this is the worst novel I've read from Nelson DeMille.
There was so much introspection and so much fluff that I had a hard time getting to the end.
The main character came across has a wimp, even with 25 yrs in the military and many of those years in intelligence, but could not figure out what was what in his hometown.
The bad guy was bad, but at time almost cartoon-ish, which made the good guy even more wimpy and slow to get to the point.
Galen Johnson
This book was much different than the couple other DeMille books I have read; it was a little like Nicholas Sparks meets Nelson DeMille, I suppose. Keith Landry retires from a career in the Intelligence community to his family farm in Ohio, with the intention of discovering what his high school/college girlfriend is up to twenty-five years later. He soon discovers that she is trapped in an abusive marriage with the town's Chief of Police, and Keith is harassed as he tries to reconnect with Annie ...more
Kimberly Hicks
I have read all of Nelson DeMille's books and I generally find them wonderfully enjoyable. Some of them (Charm School, Lion's Game) are among my favorite books written by any author. Spencerville, however, is a miserable experience. I wish it just didn't exist. It is unhappy, ugly, and disturbing. I sent mine to the trash just to ensure no one else might accidentally pick it up and read it.
Keith Landry, the protagonist, returns to his hometown of Spencerville in western Ohio.

The willing suspension of disbelief is often a necessary requirement to enjoy well-written fiction. This is a story of the return of a cold warrior from the power centers of Washington DC and Europe. (This story is copyright 1994, well before the rise of Islamic terrorism and threats to western govenments). The cold warrior returns to a farming community in western Ohio, even though he has only distant family
Didn't really feel like a DeMille book until 3/4 of the way in, when the typical razor tension stuff begins. Until then, it is an enjoyable but slow-moving story. One big problem--the bullying husband is cardboard thin--ahrd to believe that either someone like him could exist or that the main female character would ever have married him.
Neva Williams
Nelson DeMille is my favorite author. Of all times. This book is the ONLY book of his that I would not give 5 stars. I am writing this review many years after actually reading the book - I'm not sure even what year I read it, but I remember vividly thinking... NELSON DEMILLE DID NOT WRITE THIS BOOK!!!! I even had a theory that his wife wrote the book and they published under his name, just to get it published. I don't even remember all the reasons why that made sense to me at the time. I think h ...more
Cagney Katrenak
This was the first novel i ever read as a young teen. Not the most appropriate for a young teen but it has remained at the top of favorites list ever since. This book was unique and clever and one of few books ive read more than twice. i highly recommend this book! it can be a little bit slow at times but it makes up for it!!!!
Diane Large
Found this story so boring for the first 200 pages. He has loved her for 25 years. She has loved him for 25, however, she is married. What to do? It's repeated over and over! It started to pick up when he went to Washington DC, so I kept reading. I didn't finish. I assume her husband is killed and they live happily ever after.
For the most part, I liked this book, although I don't think it's one of DeMille's best (I'm a big fan). I knocked this down from three to two stars, when I looked up Toledo, & realized it's almost on the Michigan border. Why didn't the two idiots cross the state line???
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille. He moved as a child with his family to Long Island. In high school, he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-69) and saw action as an
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“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.  ” 1 likes
“A lot of who you were in middle age was determined before you had a chance to manipulate, control, or eve understand the things around you. It was no mystery, he thought, why some old people's minds returned to their youth; the wonder of those years, the discoveries, the first experience with the dirty secret of death, and the first stirrings of lust and love were indelible, drawn in luminous colors on clean canvas. Indeed, the first sex act was so mind-boggling that most people could still remember it clearly twenty, thirty, sixty years later.” 0 likes
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