“The Panther,” by Nelson DeMille, “Seconds Away” a Mickey Bolitar novel by Harlan Coben, and “Rogue,” by Mark Sullivan

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Its tough guys this month at Grit-Lit. Well, technically two tough guys, one tough gal and one scary tough, big teen aged boy.

The Panther

“The Panther,” by Nelson DeMille. (Grand Central Publishing, $27.99, 629 pages, hard back.) www.NelsonDeMille.net.

Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield are Grit-Lit’s favorite husband and wife team. And DeMille is our favorite author of international tough guy/gal intrigue. Partly because of the things you can painlessly learn reading his books. “Panther” takes place in Yemen and New York City. DeMille gives you a great sense of the people, cultures and emotions.

Plus the writing is entertaining, insightful and often funny.

The setting—Corey and Kate are being briefed by Buckminster Harris prior to a Yemen mission where they will be part of a five person team. Corey is reluctant because he’s been there and considers it the anus of the world.

Buck said, “Sex.”

I sat up.

“Sex,” he repeated. “We all know or think we know about the Muslim’s attitude toward sex, so I won’t repeat all that you’ve heard, but I’ll recap. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden, and adultery is punishable by death.”

“Right. Screw the divorce lawyers. Get that jambiyah (a local knife) sharpened.”

Buck smiled and said, “That shouldn’t be a concern for a happily married couple.”

Correct, but I had to ask, “Do guys get the death penalty for screwing around?”

“Not usually, but—“

Kate interrupted, “They do with me.”

And later, after the briefing.

… Kate said, “I can’t believe we’re getting on a plane tonight to go to Yemen for a year.”

“Did you unplug the toaster?”

“Well … maybe it won’t be a full year.”

“Probably not.”

She asked me, “Are you excited?”
“I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

She stayed silent as we walked to the elevators, then said to me, “I feel better that we’re together and we can look out for each other.”

“Right.” I remembered an old Arab saying. “When walking through a minefield, make one of your wives walk fifty paces in front of you and your camel.” I didn’t say that, of course. I said, “If I had three more wives, we’d have a whole five-person team looking out for each other.” Actually I didn’t say that either. I said, “We always look out for each other.”

Seconds Away

“Seconds Away” a Mickey Bolitar novel by Harlan Coben (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99, 338 pages, hard cover.) www.harlancoben.com.

If you want your kids to get hooked on reading and grit-lit, Coben’s Mickey Bolitar series is an excellent place to start. Even the renowned literary critic Dave Berry, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of such timeless classics as, “I’ll Mature When I’m Dead” and “Boogers Are My Beat” says “Harlan Coben is a terrific storyteller.”

Mickey, a 6 foot 4 inch high school sophomore, has been forced by circumstances to relocate and live with his uncle Myron Bolitar. Tragedy strikes and Mickey, with his new friends “sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon” get involved in a murder mystery.

Perfect for the young adult crowd and likely to please adult grit-lit fans. Clean language, no racy sex and limited gore. Yet still an engaging, entertaining story.


“Rogue,” by Mark Sullivan. (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 384 pages, Hard back.) www.marksullivanbooks.com.

Robin Monarch is not your ordinary spy. He’s an orphaned thief from the worst slums of Buenos Aires. A near fatal injury put him on a circuitous route that ends up with him working for the CIA.

In “Rogue,” Monarch abandons a CIA mission to return to his old ways. But he can’t escape and is more or less forced to finish the mission.

Author Sullivan is a proven performer—he co-wrote with James Patterson—and is the author of seven international best sellers on his own. The Robin Monarch series is an excellent new addition to the grit-lit genre.

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