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Night Fall    by Nelson deMille order for
Night Fall
by Nelson deMille
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though this novel continues the story of irreverent veteran NYPD cop John Corey from Plum Island and The Lion's Game, it's quite different from the latter, in both style and substance. There's less violent action, with more careful analysis and development of a subtle plot, which culminates in an ironic role for 9/11.

Corey and his wife Kate are both members of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force, though there's a clear divide in the group between NYPD cops and career FBIers. Years before, Kate was involved in the investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17 1996, a case that has haunted her for five years. She takes Corey along to the memorial service (for the 230 men, women and children who went down into the Atlantic with the plane), and deliberately stokes his interest in re-opening a private investigation (she mentions 'government people who aren't satisfied with the official version of events', that version being 'mechanical malfunction'). If Kate's intriguing tidbits and introductions were not enough, Corey is warned off by CIA agent Liam Griffith, something bound to rouse his anti-establishment instincts.

John Corey speaks to credible individuals, some of the two hundred eye witnesses who were convinced they saw a missile rise from the water to hit the plane. He digs steadily and stubbornly into the past, and in particular pursues stories of a couple having extramarital sex on Cupsogue Beach, who may have videotaped the crash. He wonders if there is any chance at all that the videotape still exists. And, as he investigates, he finds that the names of two CIA agents keep cropping up - Liam Griffith and Ted Nash (Corey's hated nemesis who died in The Lion's Game). Corey's investigation is interrupted by the wrath of his superiors, who send him and Kate on separate duty stints abroad, as punishment for sticking their noses in where they're not wanted. But these bosses underestimate both Corey's determination and his skills.

I always enjoy time with the cynical Corey, who throws off one-liners like 'as every cop knows, lies are like cockroaches - if you see one, there are others.' During this investigation, his past catches up with him, dragging a very nasty surprise back into his life. Corey, who believes 'There isn't a single mystery in this world that doesn't have a solution, if you live long enough to find it', doggedly follows a cold, sparse trail. Though he finds his answer, the proof evaporates in an ending that changes everyone's priorities.

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