Since his introduction in PLUM ISLAND and subsequent appearances in
THE LION'S GAME and NIGHT FALL, ex-NYPD cop John Corey has been
entertaining millions of readers with his ready sense of humor ---
the same sense of humor that drives his superiors wild. If he
weren't so good at what he does, he almost certainly wouldn't have
Now, as the first anniversary of 9/11 has just passed --- without
incident --- the national security level remains heightened, on
Orange Alert. A group of highly placed, highly powerful men who
meet at a highly guarded private "hunting and fishing lodge" and
call themselves the Custer Hill Club would like to see the alert
status on permanent green. Their leader, and lodge owner, Bain
Madox has a plan to accomplish that very thing. The downside is
that it involves the nuclear obliteration of a lot of people. But
Madox and his "board of directors" are convinced that the end
justifies the means. They believe, in their warped thinking, that
they will be doing the world a great service by making it safer for
generations to come.
The government seems to sense that something is brewing up at the
Custer Hill Club, so they send Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF)
agent Harry Muller out to investigate. Poorly briefed and basically
clueless, Muller encounters more than he bargained for when he
steps onto the Club property. Despite learning what unimaginable
plans these men have for their country's immediate future, he
doesn't live long enough to share his knowledge. Luckily, though,
he does leave some provocative clues, and they point directly at
mega millionaire Bain Madox. But bringing charges against such an
influential man as Madox that will stick looks troublesome.
John Corey, currently a federal agent at the same ATTF base as
Harry Muller, arrives at his office at the opportune moment to hear
of Muller's disappearance. Someone has to go find him, so Corey and
his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, grab the next helicopter to the
Adirondacks. As they do, the nuclear clock starts ticking.
Corey, as smart and smart mouthed as ever, is full of fast
comebacks. He pops off with the things we all would love to say but
don't have the guts to. If there's anything Corey lacks --- like
maybe respect for his supervisors, a modicum of good judgment, an
iota of restraint in cracking wise --- he definitely does not lack
At the moment the planes hit the Twin Towers, Corey was on his way
to a meeting at Windows on the World in the North Tower, and he saw
the devastation firsthand. As with all of us, he lost a little
innocence that day; he also lost many friends. So he's a little
touchy when it comes to the subject of terrorism, and his intuition
tells him that Madox is somehow connected with terrorism. But Bain
Madox presents as an all-American hero and success story. He
possesses purple hearts, war scars, medals --- and rich oil fields.
His love for his country seems undoubtable. And soon, Corey
realizes, so does his madness.
Together, Corey and Mayfield form a fearsome team. Fortunately,
they follow their instincts instead of their orders; otherwise, the
Earth would be facing several very bleak decades. Playing by the
rules, they realize, won't work with this newest enemy. Too rich,
too patriotic and too insane, Bain Madox is a lethal combination of
Corey's worst nightmares. As they search for Madox's weakness, it
appears he has thought of everything, so stopping him looks nearly
impossible. But to John Corey and Kate Mayfield, "impossible" just
means "this could be a little bit tough."
WILD FIRE reads like, well, wild fire. The only problem comes when
it's over --- which it is all too quickly. I instantly wanted more.
I can only hope that Nelson DeMille is hard at work on John Corey's
next mission. I am addicted.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 24, 2011