The General's Daughter Hardcover – Dec 6 2001
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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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
After the wit and panache of his bestselling The Gold Coast , DeMille's latest effort may disappoint his fans. The author returns to his more customary stylish-suspense-novel mode but retains a smart-aleck narrator--here, Paul Brenner, of the Army's Criminal Investigation Division. At Fort Hadley, Ga., Ann Campbell, daughter of the post commander, is found murdered under bizarre circumstances. Brenner learns that Ann's entire personal life, in fact, veered toward the bizarre; she even had a secret basement "playroom" in her home. Moral turpitude runs riot at Fort Hadley, and Brenner must wade through muck of all sorts to discover the killer's identity. Too much muck, as it turns out: the detective work becomes repetitious, and suspense is unfortunately in short supply. Brenner's one-liners have none of the punch of John Sutter's wry observations in The Gold Coast --indeed, the device of a waggish narrator doesn't fit these proceedings; the wisecracks seem grafted on. So, too, does a resumed romance between Brenner and an old flame--we don't get a good enough picture of either to care about whatever sparks might fly. Characterization in general is fuzzy, though DeMille captures the often unquestioning regimen of life on a military base. One only wishes that his tale had more spirit and dash. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
My second read will be right before I watch the movie.
Enjoy this book!
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Mystery at it's finest,love DeMille's sense of humour and his quips.A great read for having an understanding of sexual depravity I think. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2011 by John Wiley
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2007 by Melanie
I had seen the movie several times and enjoyed it enough to read the book. The book is better. Hard to believe. The main character has charm and yet is cynical and sarcastic. Read morePublished on April 13 2004 by Amazon Customer
I'm a non-fiction writer (author of "Love Is Not A Game") but I enjoy a good mystery. Every Nelson DeMille book I've read has been great. Read morePublished on April 12 2004 by Randy Hurlburt, author of "Love Is Not A Game"
The first Demille book I read was "The Charm School," which I loved. "The General's Daughter" is a terrific whodunit, though I must admit it dragged a bit in... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004
The psychological warfare equivalent of a thermonuclear weapon has detonated and Fort Handley, Georgia is at ground zero. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004 by Dr. Rodney Myers
a great who done it
demille writes with a style that keeps you interested in the plot and a flow that makes the reading faced paced
a great book for the beach or on the... Read more
how come all of nelson demille's books revolve around an older man getting a younger women who leaves her husband or boyfriend for him its a good book though like all the others he... Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2003 by Michael Allen Miller