What if some of America’s most powerful men sat around an old hunting lodge and dreamed up ways to influence oil prices, the balance of world power and nuclear armageddon? This premise is explored in Nelson DeMille’s novel Wild Fire. I’ve read a number of DeMille’s books, and they deal most often with national security, FBI, CIA, and the smart-aleck NYPD cop John Corey. I’m no huge fan of mystery novels, cop thrillers or whodunits, but DeMille’s writing is clever, fast paced and entirely entertaining.
Wild Fire is post 9/11 (actually a year later) thriller that was written in 2006. DeMille has the luxury of writing with 5 years of hindsight, but he does a great job of capturing the post-9/11 sobriety of government officials and the general public.
The book’s baddie is Bain Madox, a military trained and decorated billionaire who just has too much time on his hands. He owns a good ol’ boys club in the Adirondacks, and has guests ranging from nuclear physicists to CIA insiders to presidential advisors. Of course the new hate of the day is directed at raging suicidal terrorists which are hiding behind every rock, so Madox wants to initiate project Green, a plan that will set into place Wild Fire, which equals nuclear demolition of the entire middle east.
The book is really one huge conspiracy theory (which I happen to like) plus a police officer who just won’t stand for that kind of thing going on in his country. Although Corey argues the ends don’t justify the means, every book he’s in ends with the ends justifying the means. The book is long – 519 pages – but reads quickly and is similar to other offerings, like Plum Island, The Lion’s Game and Nightfall.
DeMille isn’t so brash as to let his novels involve anything major that didn’t actually happen, but he gives an inside peak as to what could have been going on behind the scenes during 9/11 with the people we assume are there to protect us. I wonder if he’d ever branch out and go towards a novel that doesn’t restrict him to actual events, but that doesn’t seem to be his style.
As far as I know, his only book to film is The General’s Daughter, which I actually didn’t even really like, so I hope to see Detective Corey in a few upcoming films. It might be tough to cast for, Corey is such an over the top character. This is a fun read though, and with summer coming up, it should make it onto a lot of people’s vacation book lists. Thanks for the book Mike and Marina!