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The General’s Daughter July 18, 2005

Posted by batduck in Books, Reviews.

posted Mon, 07/18/05

The General’s Daughter

Nelson Demille

Date: 2005-07-18 15:29:38   —   32.00   —   Book

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Long before the John Travolta film of The General’s Daughter (which the author extols in the foreword), Nelson DeMille’s seventh mystery was the breakout hit of his career. The rapid-fire dialogue and scenes are cinematic, and the storytelling puts most movies to shame.

The book has three heroes: Paul Brenner and Cynthia Sunhill of the army’s Criminal Investigation Division and Capt. Ann Campbell, found dead with her underpants around her neck on the firing range at Fort Hadley, Georgia. Brenner and Sunhill are lowly warrant officers, but as investigators they can theoretically arrest their superiors–as long as their case is airtight. This ups the tension level, as does the fact that Brenner and Sunhill once had an adulterous affair.

The chief problem, though, is too many suspects. Capt. Campbell, the daughter of the general who runs the base, is literally a poster woman for the New Army, a West Point grad and Gulf War hero who posed in a life-size recruitment poster. It’s pinned up on her basement wall–and when the sleuths touch the poster it swings back to reveal a hidden playroom stocked with sex toys and videos of many army guys in pig masks and the captain in high heels. She was a high-IQ “two percenter”–and Brenner finds that two percenters often wind up on his desk as homicide suspects. Why is this one a victim? It has something to do with the collected works of Nietzsche on her bookshelf, corruption in high places, and the rag and bone shop of the heart.

This is one racy read, and it crackles with authenticity. DeMille is a Vietnam veteran who does for military justice what John Grisham does for civilians. –Tim Appelo

I have read one other of Demille’s books in the past and had enjoyed that one. This one however, I enjoyed much more. I knew that this book had been made into a big movie, but having never seen it I wasn’t bogged down with those visuals. As I read the book I could easily see how this – if done correctly – could have been a wonderful and suspenseful movie.

I am just slightly annoyed (more with myself than with the author) that I figured out the murderer all too easily… but the nuances of his motive and what really did happen that night I had no clue.

I recommend this book to any one who likes suspense!



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