“Radiant Angel” by Nelson DeMille is the 7th novel in the John Corey series. DeMille has been writing political thrillers for approximately 35 years, but like a fine wine, he has gotten better with age. With this new novel he has pivoted from the antagonists of Arab terrorists to the dangers of a newly resurgent Russia.
DeMille’s new novel takes readers into the heart of a re-birth of the Cold War with a clock-ticking plot that has Manhattan in its crosshairs. It will remind readers of his earlier book, “The Talbot Odyssey,” about the Russian plot to knock out all electronic communications while attempting to do great damage to the U.S. As with all of his books, DeMille warns of dangers to America and explores wider worldwide issues. In “Radiant Angel” the threat is a Russian plan to explode a suitcase nuclear bomb, a “Radiant Angel”, in New York’s Harbor. This believable and realistic plot takes place over a 24-hour period.
“I regret not writing more on the Cold War,” DeMille said. “I did write ‘The Talbot Odyssey’ and ‘The Charm School,’ but by the time the paperback of ‘The Charm School’ came out the Soviet Union was imploding. I also was tired of writing about Arab terrorists, which is why I gave John Corey a new job. Finally, I thought the events of this book could happen. In the real world, the Russians are being aggressive in their area of influence in Europe and, to some extent, in Asia, but also they’re hacking into our computers. I took resurgent Russian to an extreme. The Russian story is still unfolding. It is a huge country. Let’s not forget that during the Cold War they were our military equivalent, and that can happen again. Russia has been badly handled since the end of the Cold War, specifically this administration. President Obama, after the election, said he was going to have a different relationship. Well, he was right, but it is not a good one — but a bad one.”
The book begins with John Corey at a new job in the Diplomatic Surveillance Group, after he was unofficially asked to seek other employment by his Anti-Terrorist Task Force superiors. It is known to be a dead-end job, and is called “a quiet end” for a reason. His duties include watching Russian diplomats working at the U.N. Mission, mainly Col. Vasily Petrov. After the colonel mysteriously disappears from a Russian oligarch’s party in Southampton, Corey knows he must track him down.
Fans of this main character will not be disappointed knowing that John will take a seemingly routine job and find a substantive danger — which is the motif of the book. What makes it even better for Corey is that he is no longer under the thumb of the FBI, free from the bureaucratic office life, and does not have his wife constantly looking over his shoulder. Readers will enjoy the mixture of thrills and laughs as this wisecracking protagonist once again strives to save America.
DeMille also discussed his future projects. Unfortunately the John Corey television series is no longer. Because there was only a commitment to making “Plum Island,” the first John Corey story, he decided to shelve the idea. He is looking at cable TV where they will buy the series as a package.
The next book is a stand-alone and will not include John Corey. The status of John is up in the air since the new publisher, Simon and Schuster, wants a new character. However, DeMille made it very clear that any future Corey book will have the return of Suffolk County detective Beth Penrose, who made a cameo appearance in “Radiant Angel.”
The ensuing novel will hopefully be released a year from October. The setting will be in Cuba and Florida. The main character, Mac, is a U.S. veteran who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. After being severely wounded, he decides to start a fishing and tour boat business. Because of his expertise a Cuban exile group hires him. DeMille does not have the plot down, but gave a heads up that it could possibly include searching for millions of dollars of treasure buried by the Batista government, finding six nuclear warheads left behind by the 1962 Russian pullout, and/or finding a convicted police killer, the Black Liberation Army militant.
As in all his books, the characters are well developed, the plot fast paced and the story thought provoking. Readers will not want to put down “Radiant Angel,” and will want to finish it in one sitting. This book is not DeMille’s prototype, since it is only about 300 pages; yet, it has substance and reality.