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on October 6, 2003
The story is about a general's daughter found dead on the practice range of an Army Base. The intrigue and behind-the-scenes capers going on at this base are incredible. Investigator Paul Brenner (Up Country) opens up a hornet's nest with his intelligent snooping and sarcastic humor.
The action is continuous as always and this is another
'can't put it down book'. Again DeMille's characters leap out at you from the printed page. The piecing together of what REALLY happened is a work of art. The mixture of power, intrigue, back-stabbing etc. make this a great story. The sexual detail is a bit much in spots, but DeMille blends this in fairly well. Any negatives about this book are greatly outweighed by the overall quality of this book. The writing is superb and as usual DeMille shows that he is a great story-teller.
I wish Nelson Demille could write as fast as I can read.
He is among the FEW authors whose books I keep to read
again later.
My second read will be right before I watch the movie.
Enjoy this book!
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on September 11, 2007
I am so glad that I read this book before I saw the movie, as it was so much better. The story is about the body of a girl who is found bound and naked on the firing range of an army base. To make matters worse she is the daughter of The General. The case is passed on to Paul Brenner and Cynthia Sunhill who have to try and solve it without going outside of the armies rules and regulations. This becomes quite difficult when they stumble across corruption and the daughters secret life. The book moves at a fast pace after the initial character building and kept me hanging on every word. Great mystery Novel.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 28, 2009
As usual, the author provides the reader with a good yarn and snappy dialogue. This is a suspenseful mystery by a master storyteller. It is no surprise that is was made into a blockbuster film starring John Travolta in the role of Criminal Investigation Division Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, a member of the Army's elite investigative unit. Having seen the movies first, the book is as good as the movie, which was a pretty good film.

Brenner is assigned to investigate a politically sensitive case, the bizarre rape-murder of Captain Ann Campbell, a graduate of West Point, the army's poster girl, and the daughter of a legendary and highly regarded general. Brenner's assigned partner on this case turns out to be none other than his former lover, rape specialist Cynthia Sunhill. As they begin their investigation, information that does not jive with the image of the deceased keeps popping up. Moreover, they run into some stonewalling that does not sit well with Brenner. Clearly, something is wrong with the facts as originally presented. Intrigue and deception seem to be everywhere.

Brenner, however, is determined to solve the case before it is taken away from him by the FBI. He smells something fishy and he doesn't much like it. Moreover, he senses that there is something corrupt that permeates the surrounding facade of honor on that Army base, based upon what has come to light about the apparent double life Ann Campbell led. Brenner is convinced that this corruption is at the heart of Ann Campbell's murder.

Though not one of my favorite Demille books, it is still an enjoyable read. The main protagonist, Paul Brenner, is a well-fleshed character and likable. The mystery, however, seems a little forced, and the tawdriness of the life led by the deceased is depressing. Notwithstanding this, it is still a pretty good read from a master storyteller.
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on September 28, 2003
After reading 'The Gold Coast' I got a hold of a bunch of DeMille's books. He is a master and this one is no exception, however it is a different type of book than what I expected, perhaps because I started with 'The Gold Coast'.
I had seen the movie before I read this book, so I kind of had an idea what the subject matter would be, however, they are different enough that the book was still very enjoyable, in fact, I rented the movie again and didn't like it as much.
"The General's Daughter" is well written and the lead character is instantly likable, something DeMille seems to be very talented at because in this and other books I've read, I've noticed that I get into the protagonist's head almost from page one. DeMille himself must be a real character, I can't imagine that he makes his lead characters totally out of thin air, they are too believable.
This book is a great murder mystery and suspense novel, but it is also just a great novel because it gets the reader into the mind of the character so well. I highly recommend this work to anyone that enjoys mysteries, suspense, or military fiction.
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on April 8, 2003
Not into reading mysteries...but book was given to me from a co-worker. So I felt it may be good.
Capt. Paul Brenner of the Criminal Investigation Division, along with Cynthia Sunhill are located in the deep south at Fort Hadley, GA. Paul is there as an undercover supply sergeant, trying to solve a case about Dalbert Elkins, who has been supplying arms to Cuban Freedom Fighters.
However, something more pressing comes up, when the General's Daughter, Ann Campbell is found dead and naked on the rifle range.
So, Paul and Cynthia, who have had a past, team up to solve this mystery. Lots of suspects with no motives. We find that Ann has a past, and one that has been haunting both her and her family. Paul stumbles upon this in her basement, and the story is set. By interviewing several of her acquaintences, the blurry trail to the murderer becomes clearer. And they have a couple of days to finish, as the FBI, will then take over the investigation.
Written in first person, Paul Brenner. A well thought out mystery, that keeps you guessing as to who killed Ann Campbell and why. Demille develops his characters well, each with varying personalities. Very descriptive with words...although this leads some of the dislikes.
Obviously...the language, and description of the sex/rape/murder scenes. If it wasn't for this, the book would have scored 4 stars.
Finally...would not recommend this book to family or friends because of the language and sexual content. Too bad we cannot have an edited version...which would not take anything away from the story. But given that it is a mystery surrounding the rape/murder of a woman...what can you expect?
Based on this...will skip watching the movie, unless it is on network TV.
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on February 23, 2003
This is a novel that showcases many of DeMille's strengths as a writer--it manages to be incredibly sad in parts, and utterly hilarious in others. This is a military detective story, and probably the best one I've ever read. DeMille's authenticity as regards military life in the modern Army is total--he transports the reader into the military culture--which is a culture derived from American culture but nonetheless profoundly separate from it.
The daughter of the Commanding General of Ft. Hadley has been murdered under bizarre circumstances. DeMille's protagonist, Warrant Officer Brenner, a detective of the Army CID, is detailed to discover who, how, and why. This novel is written in the first person from Brenner's perspective and in this novel this perspective works brilliantly. Brenner and his teammate, WO Sunhill, discover that finding the answers to the riddle is like peeling an onion--with multiple layers of intrigue and corruption surrounding the circumstances of the victim's death. Brenner's observations about the investigation, military life, and his approach to crime-busting are all fascinating, possess a wry but sad humor, and contain a gritty authenticity that make this story highly plausible. The characters crackle with life and realism. The story develops smartly and never drags.
This is one of those books that you won't put down. The ending is climactic and startling--and incredibly sad. I was depressed for days after reading this novel, but since then I have read it several more times. This book is an incredibly "good read" and anyone who likes suspense novels will enjoy it thoroughly. Few will read this novel without being moved by it.
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on June 27, 2002
Wow I was dismayed by this book. While it had it's playful and comic moments the dialog largely had only brief sparks. The plot was silly and fantastical. Pop-psychology underpinnings with all the depth of an individually wrapped slice of cheese... and ultimately, sorry Mr. DeMille, misogynistic. Despite all breathless attempts to seem otherwise, it's voyeurism is vulgar (I'm so not a prude, this really is a badly written book).
The character's were terribly clichéd. Let me guess... the smart alecky, pushy, throw-away-the-rule book male investigator and his former lover, the bitter, by the rules, brilliant but ultimately passive female partner are going to patch things up by persevering in this trying investigation and live happily ever after. Phew! Someone open a window. This is just one step above a Harlequin romance novel with a long haired hunky pirate on the cover.
I started reading DeMille with Plum Island, a much better book, then went on to the Lion's Game, Charm School, and then this. Each book progressively worse IMO. I'm debating trying Gold Coast (seems well reviewed) or simply giving up on this author. Seems like no editor can stand up to him.
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on April 12, 2002
I am a book snob. I refuse to see a movie of a book I really like. I also seldom read a book after it's been made into a movie. That explains my reluctance to read "The General's Daughter". I was however going into Demille withdrawal and having read all of his other books had no choice. This is a great book. The story grabs you and you can't put it down. It's a fairly complicated story with a lot of villians. If fact almost every character in the book is a real jerk. All of Mr Demille's main characters are the same people with different names. The men are caustic, mid 40's, strange sence of humor. The female lead is about fifteen to twenty years younger and madly in love with caustic 40 year old men. I don't find this to be a problem. This book is a page turner. I didn't expect the ending which is unusual. I thought he laid the ground work for assisted suicide.
Read this one, it's not as good as Plum Island, The Charm School or Lions Game but it's a great book from a great author. Actually read everything he's written it's worth the time.
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on October 13, 2000
For all of the oceans of ink spilled on serious criticism and Top 100 lists, there's still something viscerally satisfying about a good straightforward read like The General's Daughter. After all, if it weren't for fare like this, what would we do for beach & airplane books? Luckily there are guys like Nelson DeMille cranking them out. DeMille, who won a Bronze Star in Viet Nam, has written a couple of excellent books, I especially liked By the Rivers of Babylon and Cathedral, though I've read some others that I didn't like as much. I'd recommend this one.
General's Daughter opens with Captain Ann Campbell, a West Point honors graduate and daughter of the general of the base, staked out, raped and strangled in an artillery field. Wisecracking investigator Paul Brenner of the Criminal Investigation Division and rape specialist Cynthia Sunhill, his former lover, team up to solve the crime. Turns out the General's daughter has a pretty sordid past, which makes just about every male at Fort Hadley a suspect. This profusion of suspects combines with normal Army red tape and extraordinary reticence about scandal, to form the basis of a briskly plotted procedural.
The solution to the mystery is pretty pedestrian and Brenner's a little too much of a wise guy, but the story hums along and DeMille does us all a favor by not piling on multiple melodramatic conclusions. He tells his story and then wraps it up neatly. The one thing I really liked was Brenner's righteous indignation at the despicable conduct of his Army brethren. At least in this novel, the sense of military honor is not dead.
Accept this novel on its own terms and you'll enjoy it.
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on April 5, 2000
After reading this, I had one question: "How did this thing hit the big screen?"
After reading the book, I watched the movie. The visual version was plain awful, while the book had some decent qualities, but was still less than satisfying.
The book is about a General's daughter that is murdered in shocking style. CID officers Paul Brenner and ? (I actually forgot Madeline Stowe's character name already) get the case. Of course, they are former lovers that hate each other first, but soon start getting along. It doesn't take them long to find out that the General's daughter has romanced everybody in the state of Georgia, and therefore the suspect list is long. The premise is okay, but the overall story is weak. The motives behind what happened are implausible at best and downright silly at worst. Worse yet is the killer all but introduces himself to you in the early going, and by the time it is made "official", there is no mystery or suspense at all. The book drags at times, and I found myself skipping pages. All in all, it was on the level of your typical Grisham tale, which is to say it was pretty weak. I wouldn't recommend it.
This was my 3rd Demille. Plum Island was so-so, and The Charm School was awesome. I am trying Babylon now and I have Gold Coast on the shelf. If Babylon stinks, then I won't bother with Gold Coast or anything else by him.
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