The Gate House, Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)

gate house bk

Readers who have been waiting nearly 20 years for a sequel to The Gold Coast (1990) can begin celebrating: this new novel, which picks up 10 years after John Sutter’s wife, Susan, killed her lover, a Mafia don, is exactly what they’ve been waiting for. After divorcing his wife and sailing around the world, Sutter took up residence in England. But now, nine months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he has to come back to Long Island’s Gold Coast to tie up some loose ends. He’s worried about how he will handle a reunion with Susan but that turns out to be less painful than he anticipated, even somewhat invigorating. Also taking him by surprise is the job offer from Anthony Bellarosa, son of the murdered don, who wants John to be his consigliere. The offer seems genuine, but readers will wonder if this is a textbook case of “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” DeMille perfectly captures the tone that made The Gold Coast a best-seller—a readable combination of social satire and easygoing humor—and his re-creation of the principal characters, John and his ex-wife Susan is so precise it’s as though the two novels were written back-to-back. Revisiting characters and themes after such a long time is always a risk, but this one gets it right. Expect high demand for that rare publishing phenomenon: a sequel that doesn’t disappoint.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, September 2008.

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