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The Panther    by Nelson deMille order for
by Nelson deMille
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though there's plenty of action and betrayal (direct and political) in a John Corey thriller, it's all about the banter - and it's nonstop in his latest adventure. Fans first encountered the veteran NYPD cop in Plum Island, and followed his continuing adventures in The Lion's Game, Night Fall, Wild Fire and The Lion (where Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, finally dealt with vengeful Libyan assassin Asad Khalil).

This time, their superiors propose to send John and Kate to Yemen. Both carrot and stick - relating to the renewal of John's contract and Kate's probable transfer to Washington - are used to encourage them to take the assignment. Though John is unenthusiastic, having investigated the Cole attack in Yemen in 2001, Kate is keen to do her duty. John sees the problem in the country as 'a very small American presence in a very hostile environment. A recipe for disaster. Ask General Custer about that.' Why does he give in? He has his devious reasons, which readers discover late in the story.

Turns out that they are being sent to Yemen as bait for The Panther, who holds an American passport and is one of the masterminds behind the USS Cole attack. Why bait? Both John and Kate are on Al Qaeda's hit list for killing The Lion. Their team in Yemen includes Buck Harris (from State Department Intelligence) and Paul Brenner (whom deMille fans will recall from The General's Daughter and Up Country, nice to finally have him and Corey in the same book). There is also an elusive CIA agent whom they meet late in the game.

John is concerned that the CIA might want payback for his and Kate's involvement in the death of one of their agents and for stopping the CIA's Operation Wild Fire. Is he right? Who are the hunters and who the hunted? Read on. The mission takes the team from Sana'a to Aden, and to Marib. As they find out more about the CIA plan, it starts to smell, prompting John, Kate and Brenner to ally in the interests of survival. A fake kidnapping unfolds, followed by Predator strikes and betrayals in spades. Fortunately John Corey stays one half step ahead of the game.

Along with a myriad of other fans, I can't get enough of John Corey. Fortunately he's at his best in making enemies and he added to that list in this adventure. So we'll be hearing from him again soon, I hope. Don't miss The Panther!

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