Paperback 720 pages
Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille is the kind of tired domestic thriller one might expect to see Bruce Willis or Wesley Snipes starring in, in the future (Snipe would be a better fit for the role of John Corey). The narrative starts off at a pedestrian pace but the reader should not be lulled into thinking that they have a slow paced cozy ahead Wild Fire is a fast paced once the feds lock and load but the pace is not indicative of the quality of the narrative.
John Corey is getting ready for a long Columbus day weekend when his friend and partner Harry Muller tells him that he is off on a one man stakeout of an upstate of the Custer Hill Club. A domestic terrorism stakeout of right wing loonies Corey assumes and heads off for a long weekend with his wife (and FBI boss) Kate Mayfield.
While the bulk of the story is fast paced the plot is completely lacking in twist, turns or suspense. To put it bluntly Wild Fire is a bee-line novel. While John Corey and his obvious penchant for self destructive behaviour may play well for a short time it gets tired very quickly. It is almost as if DeMille had no editor for this book and simply put in what he felt would work at any given moment. The whole massive tome could have been a good deal shorter and may indeed have made a very good 10 – 12 page short story in the hands of a great short fiction writer like John M. Floyd.
We have seen all the cast of mania driven nut jobs in the past and whether they are on the extreme right or the extreme left in fiction it doesn't matter unless you can believe that they are plausible. While someone having the idea to commit the kind of terror that is contemplated in Wild Fire may be plausible the possibility of any confluence of events occurring to make it possible are so far beyond the realm of thriller fiction as to leave the reader wondering just what they are reading for. Usually the villains in mystery novels and thrillers are at least working within the realm of the possible in the real world and it is not too much to expect that in a novel. If this were a work of speculative or science-fiction that criterion would not be taken into consideration but then the novel would fail on other fronts.
The end result is that Wild Fire is a pass – but it still might make a good movie.