The Deserter

The Deserter

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"A taut, psychologically suspenseful military thriller ... about two army investigators on the hunt in Venezuela for an army deserter who might know too much about a secret Pentagon operation"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2019.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501101755
Characteristics: 530 pages : color map ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: DeMille, Alex - Author

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g
Galvinator
Mar 10, 2020

Another good DeMille novel, I liked it. Uses the successful Nelson DeMille formula (though this was a team-writing effort with his son): two brave cops/soldiers (Brodie male, Taylor female) go into a dangerous and nasty place and accomplish their mission without much help. This time it's Army CID investigators going into Venezuela to find an Army officer who deserted in Afghanistan. The captain left the mountains of Afghanistan in search of a tropical paradise, but instead found Venezuela- once beautiful and economically stable, but thoroughly pillaged and trashed by the current socialist narco-criminal regime. Lots of sad portrayals of the suffering population.

Throw in some fights, gun battles, really bad dudes (Venezuelan thugs, corruption within the Army and CIA, and "the deserter" himself) and the DeMille standard: a wisecracking protagonist. Makes a good read. A little long (could have eliminated some of the many places where Brodie thinks/quips/dreams/begs and considers the prospects for sleeping with his CID partner Taylor), but otherwise a winner.

I appreciate that the DeMille duo highlights the prospects for bad apples within our government organizations but does not say they are all bad. The book allows for true patriots and brave, decent folks within these organizations. Also, this book doesn't climb on any political soap box, except it rightly points out the tragedy of Venezuela.

j
jeh106
Feb 19, 2020

I have been a fan and reader of books by NELSON DeMILLE for forty years. I have just finished THE DESERTER written with his son ALEX DeMILLE. I am sorry that I was so long between DeMille books. He is, and now with Alex, at the top of his genre, military/adventure thrillers.

In this book, the reader will meet the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (aka C.I.D.) team of Chief Warrant Officer Scott Brodie and Warrant Officer Magnolia “Maggie” Taylor. CID investigates military crimes such as desertion. According to Brodie and Taylor, this is their first mission together. Both are decorated veterans of ground forces work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brodie was chasing and eliminating terrorists; Taylor worked in Civilian Affairs.

In THE DESERTER, they have been sent to Venezuela to track down US Army Captain Kyle Mercer, a member of Delta Force (Special Warfare unit of the Army) who deserted while serving Afghanistan. Mercer had been captured by terrorists and was filmed by them confessing his “war crimes”. Then he escapes and films himself with the dead and mutilated bodies of his captors. In his video, Mercer says he resigns his Army commission. It cannot be done that way according to the Army Code of Conduct. An old acquaintance spots him in Caracas, Venezuela a year later.

Among the characters in the story are:
Colonel Dombroski – their boss at C.I.D. who assigns Brodie and Taylor to the case.
Colonel Worley – military attaché in Caracas with whom Taylor and Brodie have to work in country. They do not like or trust each other.
Luis – a Venezuelan who is assigned to be Taylor’s and Brodie’s driver who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

The search takes Taylor and Brodie to some of the worst areas of Caracas. According to the authors that is really saying something since Venezuela is one notch above being a failed society. Violent crime is pandemic to its society. They track Mercer to a jungle camp near Angel Falls in Canaima National Park in southeastern Venezuela.

The dialogue between Taylor and Brodie is filled with humor and romantic/sexual issues. Brodie is all for going off script; Taylor is by the the book. The bad guys are really bad. Mercer may or may not fall in that category. There is action galore, some of it very graphic. If you want to go to Venezuela after reading this story, go well armed! I highly recommend this story and the other Nelson DeMille books.

GO! BUY! READ!

0
0007548100dmw
Feb 17, 2020

Another very good DeMille book. I enjoy his aense of humor, very good charactor developement and descriptions. A most enjoyable book.

b
Butterfly121761
Feb 09, 2020

I really enjoyed it. I really felt it was obvious though which parts had Nelson Demille's satirical touch on them. it wasn't my favorite Demille read but it was definitely a Demille read and I really liked it.

p
pdmangel
Dec 03, 2019

Very entertaining read! I love Demille's wise-cracking characters (think John Corey) and as an Army veteran, the plot logistics rang true. Highly recommend for fiction readers.

u
USAF1969
Nov 25, 2019

THE DESERTER by Nelson and Alex DeMille merits two reviews. One as a novel, and the other related to some of the backdrop content. And I am trying for no spoilers in either review. Looking at it as a novel, it is a well crafted, clever story with really good character development. And the pictorial descriptions of life in war torn Afghanistan and militant, chaotic Venezuela are exceptionally clear and help set the stage for the story. The often humorous dialogue between the two principle characters is reminiscent of some of Nelson DeMille's early novels (think about the character John Corey). So it's a great read. Now on to the content review. This may stray into spoiler realm. The primary story begins with Afghanistan and alleged atrocities there by some American troops and attempts to cover them up. The story then moves to current day Venezuela, which has descended into incredible chaos as its economy cratered and the story is filled with examples of people who had good middle class and/or service jobs, suddenly found themselves without jobs and surrounded by a totally corrupt government which was no help at all. In both cases, the story line is quite graphic. I don't have enough background on what has gone on in Afghanistan in terms of atrocities, or in Venezuela to know if the level of descriptive detail is based on truth or just creative fiction - or both. In either case, both are very disturbing. You need to be ready for that.

m
minnesota007
Nov 23, 2019

Bo Bergdahl story how the military wished it had played out.

v
vdbarry
Nov 07, 2019

Not bad, however I found it a little too wordy. Follows the same lines as 'Up Country" only on a different continent.

c
cnsreader
Oct 30, 2019

This was reminiscent of DeMille’s early works which are very good! A soldier from Delta Force in Afghanistan disappears from his post, shortly after a video is released by the Taliban showing him as a captive. Two years later, he has escaped and is spotted in Venezuela!

Two members of CID are tasked with going to Venezuela with orders to bring him back to face desertion charges. Many questions have yet to be answered! But there are others who do not want this soldier to tell his side of things! Thus begins a journey to find the deserter! It lags a little in the middle but near the end when they finally track him down, we learn his side of what happened! Overall a good, entertaining read.

debwalker Oct 21, 2019

As the Middle East descends again into chaos, timely.

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