Reign in Hell – William Diehl

With the ending of the first World War in Churchill, I took my break and picked up another work of fiction.  This time it was Reign in Hell, the third installment of the Martin Vail series by William Diehl.  You may remember Martin Vail as played by Richard Gere in the movie version of Primal Fear.

Unfortunately, this was also the last novel in the Vail series, as Diehl died in 2006.  At the risk of including a minor spoiler, Reign in Hell ended in such a way to leave you believing that he was already writing the next book in the series.  For whatever reason, however, he wrote only one more book and it was unconnected to the Vail series.

With the exception of one (fairly major) “coincidence” in the book that I found hard to believe, this was a pretty good read, just as the first two have been.  And, a big reason why I enjoy reading fiction, particularly in the Mystery or Thriller genres, is for the opportunity to suspend disbelief for a little while.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it and I put it to good use here.

One of the great things about writing a blog like this, even if nobody else reads it, is that it forces me to do a little more research into things that I wouldn’t normally even think about.  In this case, I learned that Diehl didn’t begin his writing career until he was 50.  As a guy who feels the pressure of the clock ticking almost everyday, wondering how I got to be 37 all of a sudden, stories of guys like Diehl – and Churchill, who didn’t become Prime Minister until he was 65 – give me some measure of hope and inspiration by their example.


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