Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Whole New World

No, not Disney's version. I was trying to think of another older read that I could recommend and I came across Nelson DeMille's Charm School. Now, Charm School is kind of a special title for me. For one, it was recommended and loaned to me by one of my high school English teachers. At the time, I was notorious for not taking recommendations. I was 16, what do you expect. I also was not reading anything close to Nelson DeMille's kind of work. That being said, Charm School made me an instant DeMille fan and opened me up to the world of espionage and military fiction. Hey, I was learning. I was probably one of the few teens at the time reading about Vietnam era heroes! I can guarantee you that none of my classmates were reading DeMille, although now that I think about it, he'd be great if you know some teen guys who don't read much. 

If you're not familiar with DeMille, you should be. Most of his work would probably be classified as military or espionage thrillers, there are a few regular thrillers, but Charm School definitely falls into the espionage category.

In Charm School (published in 1988) an American tourist in Russia takes a wrong turn and picks up a hitchhiker who spills some pretty intense state secrets. The tourist calls the American embassy, but by the time they get there to collect the guy, he's gone without a trace. Course the plot is much more complicated than this and involves KGB plans and a few key American players who have to unravel the whole thing. Super fun and a crazy page-turner. 

I tend to get bogged down with political plots and so most espionage fiction goes completely over my head. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I am not very politically minded nor do I follow many current events - they tend to stress me out and only lead me to believe apocalypse is inevitable, so I think it's better for my health to avoid most of it. Charm School, and actually all of DeMille's work that I have read to date, are very easy to get into. I've never had any problems grasping the stories at all. I haven't read the whole DeMille collection just yet, but of the ones I have read Charm School remains my favorites. 

So, I know you want something to tide you over until you get to watch Daniel Craig in the newest 007 movie (at least I do) and I highly suggest letting DeMille fill the gap. You won't be sorry. 

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