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Book Talk: Nelson DeMille, The Maze

True story: About a decade ago, the body of Shannan Gilbert, who had been reported missing, was found — possibly strangled — among briar bushes in a remote part of a beach town in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York. Over the next month, police found four more women’s bodies within about 400 yards. This led to a more exhaustive search, and at least six more bodies, all believed to be sex workers like the four that had been found with Shannon. The unsolved case is variously referred to as LISK (Long Island Serial Killer), the Gilgo Beach Killer, and the Craigslist Ripper.


Fiction story: In Nelson DeMille’s “The Maze” (2022, 409 pages in hardback), Former police detective John Corey is relaxing at his Uncle Harry’s beach house on the south shore of Long Island when he is tempted to get involved with a case consisting of a series of crimes. His decision to become a CI (Confidential Informant) for Chief Sylvester Maxwell (familiarly known as Max) throws him together with Sergeant Beth Penrose, whom he hasn’t seen since their steamy (and possibly altar-bound) affair years ago on Plum Island.


“Plum Island” (1997) was the first of the eight books in the John Corey series. In that novel (one of DeMille’s best), Corey’s personality as a witty and brilliant detective is revealed. Now, a quarter of a century later, those same characteristics have become self-serving, narcissistic, misogynistic, and just plain annoying.

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