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Wild Fire

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Nelson DeMille

Starred Review.Set in October 2002, bestseller DeMille's can't-put-it-down fourth thriller to feature ex-NYPD detective John Corey (after 2004'sNight Fall) involves an American right-wing plot to suitcase-nuke two U.S. cities. The idea is to provoke … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Nelson DeMille
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
1 review about Wild Fire

A promising start degenerates into a tedious read

  • Feb 25, 2007
Rating:
+3
Nelson DeMille is quite a good writer. His style is as smooth as warm maple syrup flowing over hot pancakes. Unfortunately, with regard to "Wild Fire", it seems that DeMille and his editor fell too much in love with this talent.

"Wild Fire" is at least eighty and perhaps a hundred or so pages too long.

As a result, what starts as a promising plot - - - a plan to destroy a large chunk of the world's Muslim population along with a few million Americans - - - turns into prolonged silliness as DeMille struggles to fill one excessive page after another.

The primary hero, Detective John Corey, assigned to the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force, is another of those stereotyped wisecracking, insubordinate, arrogant cops with their roots in 1940s noir. Unfortunately, DeMille's Corey comes across as a smart-mouthed boor who combines both a massive inability to see beyond his nose with an uncanny and utterly unbelievable capability to survive certain death. In short, Corey is a poor hero and a shallow character.

His wife, Kate Mayfield, also assigned to FATTF is a lawyer, FBI agent and Corey's supervisor. She is by turns, submissive and domineering; brilliant and incredibly dumb. She too is ulimately shallow.

DeMille's writing could have saved both: the plot, for the first couple of hundred pages, isn't bad at all. Eccentric billionaire has big plans for the future of the world. An FBI agent sent to the billionaire's estate is murdered - - - it was supposed to be Corey. Corey and Mayfield are sent by their boss, who may or may not be a bad guy, to investigate.

That's where DeMille gets into trouble. Corey is a wisecracking, insubordinate buffon who rapidly becomes unbelievable. Forget about good police procedures - Corey is practically clairvoyant. He directly braces the billionaire, leading to more unbelievability.

The novel should have ended at about page 438. It didn't. Instead DeMille prolongs the agony for another 80 or so pages. What could have been a slam-bang ending, becomes instead a series of entirely predictable cliches.

"Wild Fire" isn't awful. But it could have been vastly improved by simply lopping off 80 to 100 pages. I wouldn't suggest avoiding it entirely, but there are better reads available.

Jerry

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