Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wild Fire

I have read a couple of Nelson DeMille novels before, and have found them quite readable. I picked one up -- Wild Fire -- after a long gap. I have not made it through Chapter 1 yet, but I have already been assaulted by a combination of cliches, trying-too-hard-to-be-clever quips, an overdose of testosterone and plain old jingoism. Some samples:
  • "We are now a mostly paperless organization, and I actually miss initialing memos. I had an urge to initial my computer with a grease pencil, but I settled for the electronic equivalent. If I ran this organization, all memos would be on an Etch A Sketch."

  • "Also included in our collegial group are people who, like ghosts, don't actually exist, but if they did, they'd be called CIA."

  • "Also, this guy has a bad habit of coming back from the dead - he's done it at least once before - and without a positive body identification, I'm not breaking out the champagne."

  • "My wife is a beautiful woman, but even if she weren't, I'd still love her. Actually, if she weren't beautiful, I wouldn't have even noticed her, so it's a moot point."

  • "The message read [Ed: It's in all caps in the novel -- BTW, somebody please tell the author that normal people don't type in all-caps anymore -- but in the interest of not hurting the eyes too much, I've changed it to normal text]: Let's knock off early, go home, have sex, I'll cook you chili and hot dogs, and make you drinks while you watch TV in your underwear. Actually, it didn't say that. It said: Let's go away for a romantic weekend of wine tasting on the North Fork. I'll book a B&B. Love, Kate."

  • "Like most men, I'd rather face the muzzle of an assault rifle than a pissed-off wife."

  • "... who I strongly suspect was once romantically involved with my then future wife. This is not why I disliked him - it was why I hated him. I disliked him for professional reasons."

  • Never referring to Osama bin Laden without the prefix "scumbag", a derogatory reference to the Middle East ("Sandland"). We get it -- you are a red-blooded American.

  • "Not one of my better cases, but it brought me and Kate together, so the next time I see him, I'll thank him for that, before I gut-shoot him and watch him die slowly."

  • "This was one of the reasons. we got divorced. The other was that she thought cooking and f**king were two cities in China."
I think it would have been easier to scan the pages and put them up, as someone recently did for a book with really bad porn.

Update: Surprisingly, the book turned out to be an entertaining read, the Bollywood style climax notwithstanding.