Title: Radiant Angel (2015) Author: Nelson DeMille Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Book jacket: John Corey has left the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and returned home to New York City, taking a job with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Although Corey's new assignment with the DSG-surveilling Russian diplomats working at the U.N. Mission-is thought to be "a quiet end," he is more than happy to be out from under the thumb of the FBI and free from the bureaucracy of office life. But Corey realizes something the U.S. government doesn't: The all-too-real threat of a newly resurgent Russia Joe says: Radiant Angel is a more back-to-basics approach. Although neither DeMille nor Corey’s strongest, Angel is a fun, by-the-books, rock-n-roll chase to get the bad guys for perhaps the last time.
Perhaps a quiet end is well-deserved. After the tediously-lengthy Panther, Nelson DeMille’s latest, Radiant Angel, is a faster-paced, more back-to-basics approach for what might well be wise-ass, former NYPD-detective John Corey’s finale. Although neither DeMille nor Corey’s strongest, Angel is a fun, fine read as John is (again) fighting on his home turf, paired up with (again) a beautiful agent, going after (again) pesky Cold War-era Russians in hopes to (again) prevent a nuclear catastrophe all the while cracking off-color jokes and defending his rationale to the reader.
The benefit of Radiant Angel’s leaner length – both in pages and story-time – allows the character to work unburdened in an environment that that was becoming increasingly weighed down in the bureaucracy of both his job and history. Corey is a not a corporate player and works best when he is master of his own domain. And DeMille cleverly allows his character this opportunity. By keeping the pace up and steady, a finale is reached without the relentless over-analysis and eternal bar room machismo. Instead? Unadulterated Corey action.
As a result of this change, the plot is a basic, clock-ticking thriller interlaced with appropriate chest-thumping and the required bullet spraying. There is no clever Night Fall mystery. No governmental shadow conspiracy ala Wildfire. Radiant Angel is a by-the-books, rock-n-roll procedural to get the bad guys.
Throughout the novel, John refers to this tour as his quiet end – and the metaphor is not lost. The time of all good heroes eventually reaches that apex where retirement or death quickly becomes the liveable alternative to burn out. With Radiant Angel, Corey has hit that apex.
Or has he?
All the great characters still have that one final tale yet to be told, preferably one without crystal skulls. Perhaps DeMille has one mystery left for Corey to stick his nose in. One last great outing. The going out with a bang.
If not, this quiet end will suffice.
Along with two fingers of Dewars, please.