Former NYPD detective John Corey is back in Nelson DeMille's 14th novel, <b>Wild Fire</b>. If DeMille has become a bit of an alarmist, it's still worthwhile fun to follow Corey, the world's most irreverent terrorist hunter, as he runs down bad guys and dispenses definitive justice in an ambiguous world.
A member of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force and a formidable thorn in the side of wrongdoers and superiors alike, Corey has been the main man in four DeMille thrillers. He has been shot at, beaten and threatened with firing more times than he can count, but he measures success only in results. He also is loyal to his friends, so when a fellow agent turns up dead on a fishy surveillance mission, Corey and his partner Kate Mayfield head to upstate New York to investigate the curiously named Custer Hill Gun Club.
Mayfield is an FBI agent who is technically Corey's boss as well as his wife which Corey would surely flag as redundant. The two soon butt heads with Bain Madox, the ultra-rich owner and founder of the gun club. Madox is a rich Vietnam veteran who is righter than Rumsfeld. He also is either insane, brilliant or both, but that's for the individual reader to judge. Madox's diabolic plan is worthy of a Bond villain. Luckily, Corey has no problem playing the role of 007 as he and his wife try to stay alive while thwarting Madox's not entirely unimaginable nuclear solution to the chaos in the Middle East.
Corey, first introduced in Plum Island, keeps a stiff upper lip and cracks jokes in the face of danger. He is also grandstanding, irritating, puerile and at his best just plain obnoxious. So how is he popular enough for DeMille to have brought him back for a fourth turn? Because anyone who has ever had a boss, an enemy or a wife yes, Detective Corey, redundant again has wanted to be Corey for at least a moment. And, oh yeah, he also gets the job done.
Ian Schwartz writes from New York City.