Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Gate House

I had previously read one book by Nelson De Mille. Like this one it was long, actually longer.  It was called The Lion and it moved.  Very fast, exciting, and cleverly written.

This book The Gate House was recommended to me by someone who had been convalescing. He'd never read a De Mille book before and therefore had nothing to compare it to. He was given the book as a gift, thought it was a good read, and gave me the title.

My feeling is that The Gate House took a long time (845 pages) to go not very far.  Not poorly written, but sort of a waste of time. The last forty pages were kind of exciting and there were other moments that were engaging, but you could have thrown out 400 pages here easy and not lost a thing.  I found out afterwards that The Gate House was a sequel to The Gold Coast.  My best guess is that The Gold Coast, which received positive reviews, was so well received that the author--or the author's publisher--said "write a sequel." So he got going on this book not really sure where it was going and what came out was this loooong novel that really is not that substantive.

In addition to the bloated plot, the only major character that I found sort of attractive was the narrator. Everyone else, less than meh. For example, I could not be in the same room with the love of his life for an hour without calling a cab. His in-laws are caricatures as wss his own mother. So many people seem so superficial.  I don't mind banging one back now and again, but if these people drink as depicted, they will all be dead before 50 from damaged livers or observing each other's  condescending behavior.  Elizabeth a minor character had some positive stuff going for her, as did one of the detectives, but they were peripheral.  Otherwise, I do not want to hang out with these people.

There is a scene where a couple, having been estranged for ten years, get together and make life decisions that are truly incredible.  Just not to be believed.  This scene changes the direction of the plot, and I just cant believe the event would have taken place as it did given these persons' histories.

There was some suspense--toward the end--and the narrator is clever with his story telling, but I cannot recommend this book. I may read another one of his, because I saw today with the exception of this one, all the rest are very positively received. So maybe this is just a stinker that my buddy did not know was a stinker because he never read the others.  I will not read the prequel though, because I do not want to spend ten pages again with Susan or her parents or any Bellarosa.

In short, if you are a reader, there are better books to read. If you liked The Lion like I did, maybe pick up another of De Mille's novels.

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