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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  7,847 ratings  ·  345 reviews
The cold war is over, and Keith Landry, one of the nation's top intelligence officers, is forced into early and unwanted retirement. Restless, Landry returns to Spencerville, the small Midwestern town where he grew up. The place has changed in the quarter century since Landry stepped off his front porch into the world, but two important people from his past are still ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 639 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1984)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,847 ratings  ·  345 reviews

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Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016, library
Two things:

1. Lately, I really wish that Goodreads had a half star system. This book is definitely a 3.5 for me and there is no way I could go to 4. So, I settled on 3.

2. Seems like I find myself in the midst of a lot of books with sexual torture/rape scenes. This is a pattern I hope to break!

This book was okay. The premise was fairly far fetched, the actions of the characters not all that believable, and the outcomes generally coincidental. I enjoyed parts of it, but all in all it was a bit too
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read several of the reviews of Spencerville, and apparently it had many mixed reviews, in other words, some loved it, some really hated it. In my own opinion, was it right up there with some of DeMille's best, like The Charm School, Gold Coast, General's Daughter or the John Corey series, no, but it was still widely entertaining.

Spencerville introduces us to Keith Landry, who has been forced into early retirement from the Military. Landry has returned to his hometown of Spencerville, Ohio,
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tamora Pierce
Jan 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Dona Krueger
Sep 22, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who hasn't read it
Subjective Reader's Review with Plot Spoilers Follows:

I wrote the below review almost eight years ago, and have since re-read 'Spencerville' three times spaced years apart. Based on my own set of life experiences and what is relevant to me, this is the greatest novel I've ever read, but some of DeMille's others, like 'The Charm School' come close.

I was a 'peace dividend' of the end of the Cold War just like Keith Landry, but man, did he have another mission to complete! I've corresponded with
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Melissa Marlow
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Read by the ubiquitous Scott Brick

Let's see...

Okay story, nothing new or memorable
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What happened? I picked up this book as it said Nelson DeMille, I normally enjoy his book, this one I had to force myself to read to the end.

A military officer, Keith Landry, who is suppose to be in intelligence and works at the White House, is put out to retire. He had not thought of retiring at this time, and the way he was treated by his government has not been good. He returns to his home town of Spencerville, why? Well, it appears years ago, his H.S. and college flame, who sent him a Dear
Dennis D.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This long novel is 6 of 10 stars.
Kevin Canwell
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of his best. Outcome is totally unpredictable. Hero saved by a savvy woman.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew C.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
An oldie (1994) from one of my favorite authors. Finally got around to it.
This is not one of DeMille’s most popular works, nor does it feature a character that would appear in subsequent novels.
The main character, Keith Landry, is a military man retiring at a young age (in his 40s) back to the family farm in the small Ohio town where he grew up.
Like many DeMille novels, there is not a whole lot to the plot, even though my edition of this book ran 639 pages. Landry’s main current motive is to
Ron Hefner
The premise is absurd. Reminds me a little of of that old piece of crap, The Bridges of Madison County, but with other aspects. The book turns into a "chase," with all kinds of twists and turns. The chase aspect kept me reading, even though my suspension of disbelief was totally inoperable.

The sociopathic bad guy is a cardboard cutout, a sadistic, wife-abusing small town police chief (How many times has this been done?) and even the protagonist, who is going to save the wife, is not that
Raza Syed
Jan 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I usually like DeMille and look forward to hours and hours of enjoyment when I start one of his books..... this one - BLah !!!

From the beginning the story was predictable and all the cardboard characters just went through the motions !

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ! I would suggest you continue and save yourself the time !

“Retired” government “agent” returns to small town... ex-flame is in bad relationship with bad man.... he still carries the torch for her and thoughts of him still get her all hot /
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nelson DeMille published this book back in 1994, and I thought it still stands up pretty well. This is very much a character-driven suspense and romance novel. I loved the way be spent lots of time detailing the history and progression of the two lovers lives. I felt his bad guy was a little to stereotypical for today's readers.

The story is essentially a cat and mouse game between the Sheriff/husband and the Army Intelligence/returning lover. It was a page turner and the ending was gripping.

Sarah Craig
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rip-roaring thriller. I couldn't put it down. Sure, you pretty much see most of the plot coming a mile away but I thought it was great fun. It reminded me of Stephen King without the supernatural element: easily identifiable good and bad guys, mature love story, violence, suspense. I thought the character of Annie was one of his better-written women; she has a bit more agency than many of the other DeMille love interests. I was looking for absorbing entertainment and it provided.
Virginia Markhart
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book was amazing. I am not usually a fan of cops and robbers type stuff, but this book captured the complete story. It had it all, including the no good cheating husband who just happened to me the chief of police and related to just about everyone in town. A long ago romance that still held a flame kept the romance part of the story interesting. High school sweethearts, pfff. This story was riveting in the details.
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Nelson Richard DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943 to Huron and Antonia (Panzera) DeMille, then moved with his parents to Long Island. He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School, where he played football and ran track.

DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, then joined the Army where he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the United
“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.  ” 1 likes
“The danger’s passed, the wrong is righted; the veteran’s ignored, the soldier’s slighted.” 0 likes
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