Jenny Maloney's Reviews > Plum Island

Plum Island by Nelson DeMille
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Oct 26, 11

bookshelves: 2011, action, first-of-series, intrigue, mystery, pirates, virus
Read in September, 2011, read count: 1

Ah...sarcastic narrators. This book's got one.

"I gripped my right ear and twisted, which is how I tune out idiots."


Unfortunately, it's apparent that everyone except John Corey (our fearless, convalescing-from-getting-shot-on-the-job narrator/hero) is an idiot. I sorta wish that his ear had been turned off for some larger chunks of the book -- because the reader has to wade through a lot of red herrings and schtuff to get to the meat of the book.

For example, getting a tour of Plum Island, the spot where world-threatening viruses are studied and possibly stolen, shouldn't be so long and tedious. For an example of that: there are numerous mentions of the ospreys -- but don't get all excited. It's not a clue. Apparently the bird has nothing more to do with the story than a narrative motif, which doesn't quite come off for me. The tour of Plum Island takes 100 pages and by the time you reach the end, witty repartee like

"I had to ask, 'But is the female screwworm fulfilled?'
'She must be,' Zollner replied. 'She never mates again.'
Beth offered, 'There's another way to look at that.'"


is just a little frustrating. You want INFORMATION, not wit, by that point.

That being said, the characters are certainly likeable (you know, except for the ones you're not supposed to like)

And even the false leads are intriguing. Pirate treasure, virus hunting, international intrigue, historical implications, etc. You just can't get much better than that. The whole thing is an adventurer's wet dream. It's fun to go and figure stuff out along with Corey -- though the turn might be a little to easy to catch. I mean, I got the gist before they left Plum Island...which might explain why a lot of the copious detail felt, well, copious.

~Jenny
Place for the Stolen
Under Ground Writing Project
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Quotes Jenny Liked

Nelson DeMille
“It occurred to me that the problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished.”
Nelson DeMille, Plum Island


Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Claudette The tour of Plum Island - doesn't he say at one point how boring it is? But then he subjects us to every detail anyway! This book was way too long, with way too many details that had nothing to do with the story in the end. Although I liked Corey's voice for the most part, I got a bit bored with him too toward the end. I don't think I'll be reading any more books by this author.


Michelle Morris You don't read a novel for INFORMATION.


Jenny Maloney By INFORMATION I don't mean details about Plum Island and how it works - because, you're right, you don't read novels to get that kind of INFORMATION - I'm looking for stuff that'll drive the plot forward. I'm looking for information relative to the case that is in front of us.


Lauren Jenny you captured my sentiments exactly. Towards the end of the novel I just started skimming paragraphs, he gives so much unnecessary and tedious detail. You want to remember it all-- you are after all trying to solve the mystery before he does, but like you said some of his motifs go nowhere. That said, I still enjoyed the book and would read another by DeMille if only just for comparison. Have you read anything else by him? I've heard good things.


Jenny Maloney Lauren wrote: "Jenny you captured my sentiments exactly. Towards the end of the novel I just started skimming paragraphs, he gives so much unnecessary and tedious detail. You want to remember it all-- you are aft..."

The only other thing I've read by DeMille is The General's Daugther, and I really liked it. Much grittier.


Kristen I agree that this one was tedious but don't give up on DeMille until you've read Night Fall. That book was amazing.


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