Book Review: Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island

Posted January 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island

Plum Island

It is part of the John Corey #1 series and is a on January 1, 2002 and has 592 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include MatchUp

First in the John Corey suspense series revolving around a cop in New York City convalescing from bullet wounds. Although, the story actually takes place in Long Island.

My Take

Oh my god. I swear, if you look up “snark” in the dictionary, you’ll find John Corey’s picture. He is so incredibly funny as the sarcasm just falls right out of his mouth.

Early on, John visits the murder scene (as a consultant for the cops), and the homicide detective in charge is annoyed at what appears to be some lookie-loo on her scene:

“Excuse me.”

“You’re excused.”

“Excuse me, are you supposed to be here?”

“I’m here with the band.”

And it just keeps gettin’ better!

I am curious how the pay offer falls from $100 a day to a week to $1 a day.

It’s powerplays, subterfuge, history, and plain old detective work that solves this one. An excellent example of keeping one’s mind open. Sadly, it’s also an endorsement for sticking to the rules, sigh.

It’s also a lesson in changing your locks!

I enjoyed the bit of piratical history for the area. I also enjoyed Corey’s idea of a morning-after gift… Who knew guys did stuff like that?

The Story

While convalescing at his Uncle Harry’s 1890s Victorian farmhouse, friends are murdered, and Max wants Corey to be his backup since he’s the one with the homicide experience and Max isn’t.

It’s not something Corey wants to be involved in. Partly because he’s on the disabled list and isn’t supposed to be doing policework, and partly because he doesn’t want to be involved with the FBI or the CIA.

But the Nashes are friends. And Corey can’t resist sticking his nose in, especially when it means he can pull the noses of the FBI and CIA as they try to cover things up!

The Characters

John Corey is a NYC homicide detective convalescing from gunshot wounds incurred in the line of duty. He “thinks the government should allocate one thousand silent ‘e’s’ to New England and Long Island, and when they’re used up, no one can have any more.” It doesn’t take much to make him horny. Dominic Fanelli is his partner in NYC. Detective Lieutenant Andrew Wolfe is Corey’s unhappy boss. Jim and Lynne are his siblings. Robin Paine is his ex-wife.

Sylvester “Max” Maxwell is the police chief of the Southold Town Police Department. Corey reckons he always looks out for number one. Detective Elizabeth Penrose is with Suffolk County homicide and in charge of the investigation. George Foster is FBI; Ted Nash is Department of Agriculture, a.k.a., CIA.

Plum Island personnel
Paul Stevens is the security chief with a stick up his…ahem; Kenneth Gibbs is his assistant. Dr. Karl Zollner is in charge of the labs; Donna Alba is his assistant. Dr. Chen is a colleague of the Gordons, and she spouts the party line.

Tom and Judy Gordon are biological research scientists exploring Ebola at Plum Island. They’re imports from the Midwest and have really dug themselves into the island life from their Formula 303 boat to cultivating a friendship with a local vineyard owner, Fredric Tobin, who can’t seem to remember how friendly he was with the Gordons. Margaret Wiley sold them an acre of useless land. Edgar Murphy and his wife, Agnes, are the Gordons’ neighbors. Emma Whitestone is the president of the Peconic Historical Society.

The Cover and Title

The cover is very pretty with the night sky and the flashing yellow light of the Plum Island lighthouse.

The title is apropos as the Gordons’ work — both pleasure and scientific — takes place on Plum Island.