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The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille
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The Gold Coast (original 1990; edition 1997)

by Nelson DeMille

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1,651224,363 (3.88)45
Member:yrizaria
Title:The Gold Coast
Authors:Nelson DeMille
Info:Warner Books (1997), Paperback, 707 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:thriller

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The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille (1990)

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On second read and more than ten years since the first, my impression of this story has improved. Layers of complexity are more recognizable. It's not simply a tragedy of three characters, but the under current is the erosion of all the life styles, cultures represented.

Having grown up in the area (Centre Island, Oyster Bay), I have first hand memories of the locales, but more importantly, the types of people being depicted. The WASPs of the Creek Club and Seawanhaka Yacht Club, are real and still there, but in smaller numbers, and the Italians are as well - perhaps in larger numbers, but hardly distinguishable as a separate culture today among the tony villages of the area. They too own "mini-mansions" on the gold coast as do their Episcopalain (and Persian and Jewish) neighbors. A ten acre estate - let alone two hundred acres - is a distant memory known only in movies, and archives from the times - or in the ruins very well described in this book.

There are many references to Roman antiquity - Caesars. Perhaps the most telling is the realization that the people - while loving and revering Caesar (Bellarosa), envied and despised him - leading to his demise. In the Gold Coast, his demise is similarly depicted - first an attempt by his "people" (Mafia), and finally done in by a slightly deranged woman - with "Gatsby"-ending similarities.

My one main gripe with the story is that not a single character is likeable. The protagonist, John Sutter, is at heart a selfish, smart-ass jerk, and the antagonist, Frank Bellarosa, a psychopath once you carve through his charm. Susan Stanhope Sutter and others are lesser characters, but all without many, if any, redeeming qualities. ( )
1 vote starkravingmad | Sep 6, 2014 |
Even though this book does not star John Corey, its protagonist, John Sutter, indulges in the same sardonic wit and wisecracks that endeared Corey to me. This may also be one of the best books written about the Mafia, better, I think, than The Godfather. Two disparate worlds collide when Frank Bellarosa, a famous underworld chief, buys the Long Island [b:Gold Coast|33813|The Gold Coast|Nelson DeMille|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1168465640s/33813.jpg|1603282] estate next to John Sutter, wealthy Wall Street lawyer, husband to Susan Stanhope, whose rich, arrogant family owns the property they live on. (There is a great scene toward the end, when John tells off his father-in-law.) John wants to be a good neighbor, but will have nothing to do with the seamier side of Bellarosa. He refuses to do any legal work for him, won’t meet him for lunch, does nothing that might jeopardize his reputation as an honest lawyer. Before he knows it, however, Frank has done him a favor, one that he really could not refuse. It involved moving the horse stable, an old stone building, and having it exactly reconstructed in a different location on the property. John realized that the estimate he was given by the Bellarosa contractor was ridiculously low, and he did not want to accept it, but the contractor made it clear that life would be very difficult for him (the contractor) if John refused. Soon, Sutter has been trapped into being Bellarosa’s lawyer in a murder case. He realizes that Bellarosa has been framed by a publicity-seeking state’s attorney whose real motive is to precipitate a gang war among rival families in New York. Before long, Sutter discovers that he is being manipulated by both sides: Bellarosa and the state using a trumped up IRS charge to put him in a difficult legal situation that John can only escape with the help of a shady Bellarosa lawyer. He wonders if Bellarosa’s purchase of the estate and seduction of Susan hadn’t been part of a strategic plan to ensnare Sutter’s legal assistance, because Bellarosa knows only a seemingly incorruptible lawyer can get him out on bail and prevent the state’s attorney from succeeding in his quest for setting the various mobs against each other. DeMille explores many contrasts in this book: the sexual vs. the sensual, rural vs. city, rich vs. poor, corrupt vs. so-called honest. Sutter, in his cynical way, reveals the hypocrisy in much of what we label “high society” even as he is sucked, quite unwillingly, into a maelstrom of corruption that he wonders if he can ever control. This is a really fun read.

( )
1 vote ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book. The story was intriguing. However, use of the word "anyway" to start every other paragraph took me right out of the story. That may sound like I'm nit-picking, but it really does get annoying. ( )
  hchannell | Apr 27, 2013 |
Slower pace, a slice of life, the moth that too close to the flame. Upper society meets a mafia don while the government manipulates all. ( )
  scubareader | Apr 13, 2013 |
how did i ever think he could write???? also he has a fucked up view of how men and women relate, what that should look like, and sex between them. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Epigraph
A man lives not only his personal life as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries. --Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain
Dedication
To my three budding authors: Ryan, Lauren, and Alex.
First words
I first met Frank Bellarosa on a sunny Saturday in April at Hicks' Nursery, an establishment that has catered to the local gentry for over a hundred years.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446673218, Paperback)

Welcome to the fabled Gold Coast, that stretch on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America. Here two men are destined for an explosive collision: John Sutter, Wall Street lawyer, holding fast to a fading aristocratic legacy; and Frank Bellarosa, the Mafia don who seizes his piece of the staid and unprepared Gold Coast like a latter-day barbarian chief and draws Sutter and his regally beautiful wife, Susan, into his violent world. Told from Sutter's sardonic and often hilarious point of view, and laced with sexual passion and suspense, THE GOLD COAST is Nelson DeMille's captivating story of friendship and seduction, love and betrayal.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Impoverished attorney John Sutter and his wife find their world colliding with that of their new neighbor, Frank "The Bishop" Bellaros, when John is forced to defend Frank in a murder trial

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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