Scott Brick is one of my very favorite audiobook narrators, which is why not too long ago I picked up the audiobook of Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille. Scott Brick, as usual, does a great job, but the actual novel itself? Well, it had potential. Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Welcome to the Custer Hill Club, a men’s club set in a luxurious hunting lodge whose members include America’s powerful business leaders, military men, and government officials. The club is a place to relax with old friends, but one fall weekend, the club’s Executive Board gathers to talk about 9/11 and finalize a retaliation plan, know by its code name: Wild Fire. That weekend, a member of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force is found dead. It’s up to Detective John Corey and his wife, FBI Agent Kate Mayfield, to unravel a terrifying plot that starts with the Custer Hill Club and ends with American cities locked in the crosshairs of a nuclear device. Corey and Mayfield are the only ones who can prevent global chaos form being unleashed.
Okay, so it sounds pretty interesting, right? Well, again, it had potential. But here's my main problem with the story:
John Corey is assigned to check out the club but a friend and coworker of his, Harry, goes in his place. And Harry then is caught and brought before the club's "Executive Board" where he listens to the men discuss their ultimate plan, which is to nuke two U.S. cities and start off a military program called Wild Fire, which is basically an unspoken understanding between the U.S. and the Middle East that if nuclear weapons are ever detonated on U.S. soil, then the U.S. will immediately strike back with every nuclear weapon they have. Sort of like a new Cold War. So Harry listens to this plan -- the men speak right in front of him, after all, and the top bad guy even eggs him on by asking him his opinion at times -- and the entire time I'm thinking, This guy better not somehow manage to escape and then end up stopping them after he's already learned their master plan.
Well, Harry doesn't. Instead he's killed and his body is left out in the woods to be made to look like a hunting accident. Enter then John Corey and his wife Kate Mayfield, who begin to look into Harry's death. They believe it may not have been a simple accident -- something that we, as the reader, already know. They begin to investigate and learn that the Custer Hill Club may not be just a simple rich men's club -- again, something we, as the reader, already know.
And really, that's my entire problem with Wild Fire -- we, as the reader, already know everything that is going on, and we're just watching and waiting for our heroes to connect the dots. And because of that, there is no suspense. Also, let's not forget the scene in the end when the bad guy who plans to nuke two U.S. cities decides to bring our two heroes, whom he's captured, along for the ride so they can witness the destruction. Because -- surprise! -- our heroes then manage to get away at the last second and stop the bad guy from nuking those U.S cities. It reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers where Dr. Evil captures Austin Powers and keeps him alive so he can tell him his master plan and all the while Dr. Evil's son Scott is saying how they need to just kill Austin Powers and get it over with and Dr. Evil tells Scott to be quiet and then, of course, Austin Powers manages to escape.
Unfortunately for anyone who reads the entirety of Wild Fire, there isn't any escape. Because, despite it being a large book (the audiobook is 15 discs), not much seems to happen. Just a lot of talking as our heroes try to solve a mystery we, as the reader, already know the answer to. So when, at the end, they do finally uncover the truth, you think, What took you so friggin' long?