BOOK REVIEW: THE GATE HOUSE
Writing a sequel has to be a daunting task. With continuing the character
traits and attempting to conclude the unfinished business, any author has to
view the sequel as an unreachable goal, especially if the first book was highly
regarded. This is the task that Nelson DeMille attempted in writing the sequel
to THEGOLD COAST, THE GATE HOUSE.
With ten years spanning between the books, the author had to write for those who adored THE GOLD COAST and those who had not read the book. The story revolves around an attorney, John Sutter. He divorced his wife, Susan, ten-years-ago after she murdered her Mafia don lover. Because of her family influence and the Mafia don supposedly being protected by the government at the time of his death, Susan did not have to serve any time for her crime. However, John, being humiliated, needed to leave the area. He chose to spend three years sailing around the world and then setting up his residence in London, continuing to work for his firm overseas.
The soon-to-be-death of the family housekeeper has drawn John back to his old home to finalize her estate. Obviously, life has changed in the area and while John is at her house, he meets the son of the man murdered by his wife, who tempts John to work for him in his family business. The son also manages to threaten John's ex-wife in this initial bonding visit. Wisely, John makes no immediate decisions regarding his future.
John is also having difficulty dealing with his ex-wife as has never stopped loving her. Common sense though tells him that she might not be the best person for him.
These conflicts are what keeps the story moving - John's conflict with the past and the present.
I felt that Nelson DeMille is trying to latch onto the success of Ken Follett with his recent sequel after eighteen years. This sequel after ten-years concludes the story, however, not with the intensity of the original book. As a stand-alone, the past events from THE GOLD COAST are well-written. The book seemed mild and anti-climatic though. Somehow, I just didn't want things so neatly resolved. That's not reality.
THE GATE HOUSE was a good read, just not memorable.
My wish is that Nelson DeMille continues what he does best which is writing novels of people and their lives, without sequels.
REVIEWED BY TERI DAVIS
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