Sunday, June 14, 2009

Book review

I have not done book reviews before. This will be my first, and it will be terse.

My Mother gave me a copy of Nelson DeMille's "Wildfire". The plot is right up my alley, and my wife (and Google) attested to the quality of this author's other works, none of which I had read. Sounded perfect.

I enjoyed the book to a degree, as I covered the 500 pages in a few days. But, overall, I found it stupid for several reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The premise is that the US Government has a secret contingency plan which provides that if a nuclear weapon is detonated in the United States and there is no substantial negative evidence within 30 minutes of detonation that it was not the work of Islamic radicals, the US would automatically and without discussion launch 122 ICBMs at Islamic countries from Morocco to Pakistan and wipe them all out. No presidential authorization would be needed to launch these 122 missiles that would kill at least a billion people, and would contaminate the entire planet indefinitely. Under this plot, the President had to take affirmative steps to stop the launch of 122 nuclear missiles, not specifically authorize such launches. Hence, part of the plot is to have the President distracted and out of communication during those 30 minutes.
  • The hero, along with his wife, identifies the body of their friend and colleague in a morgue, the victim of a gruesome murder. After they leave the morgue and go back to their B and B and while they are unraveling a conspiracy of apocalyptic proportions with only hours available, they are uncontrollably horny and decide to use one of those hours to have sex.

I will stop there. The book was not an uninteresting read, with all of its flaws. But it made the early James Bond movies seem remarkably plausible in comparison, including the "Mr. Bond, here is my plan, you cannot stop me, and have a seat over there and enjoy some Scotch while you watch me destroy the world" final chapter.

If plots like this still make the NY Times bestseller list, I need to seriously consider a different line of work.