Books by James Mills

THE HEARING by James Mills
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 13, 1998

A witty morality tale about the depraved events that can influence a controversial Supreme Court nomination is, wonderfully, about character. How can we know who is right for any job in Washington when everyone has a skeleton in the closet? Sleazy criminal lawyer John Harrington, who had unsuccessfully defended repulsively fat Colombian druglord Ernesto Vicaro, warns Gus Parnham, the federal judge who sent Vicaro to prison, that if Parnham accepts a nomination to the Supreme Court, terrible things might happen to the daughter Parnham never knew he had. It seems that when Parnham was attending Harvard Law, Michelle, the girl he eventually married, became pregnant with his child. Without telling him, Michelle chose adoption instead of an abortion. As far-fetched as this sounds, veteran thriller writer Mills (Haywire, 1995, etc. ) makes it work by reminding us that sometimes love means believing only what you want to—and forgiving anything else. It takes Parnham's law enforcement buddy Carl Falco only a few days, ten thousand frequent flyer miles, and some comic viciousness to find the girl's nasty stepmother Doreen in Wisconsin and then to locate her kinder, gentler stepfather Larry Young, a cocktail pianist at a swank Saint-Tropez nightclub. Gus and Michelle successfully manage a teary reunion in France with biological daughter Samantha. Come what may, Gus accepts the nomination. Meanwhile, Harrington, aided by a murderous assassin supplied by Vicaro, the ruthless confirmation committee chairman Senator Eric Taeger (a live ringer for Bob Packwood), and the depraved "subviolent" spin doctors of the Freedom Federation, an utterly immoral "social activist" lobbying group, go after Parnham and company in public and in private. The story suffers credibility when an assassin's bomb almost blows up the Parnhams, but Samantha's testimony to defend her father brings it to a rousing climax. That innocence ultimately triumphs over guile is, perhaps, the only unbelievable element in this cooly constructed, smartly plotted Washington-insider novel. Read full book review >
HAYWIRE by James Mills
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 22, 1995

A Father's Day nightmare: a son pressed into service as an illegal currency courier disappears with $100 million in bearer bonds sewn into his stuffed lion. Just what is Charley Fleming doing with that kind of money? It all goes back to his father's decision in his DEA days to run a covert operation killing thousands of acres of Peruvian coca, and then covering his involvement by fingering Satan-worshipping Peruvian presidential hopeful Gen. Enrique Alvarez as the culprit who turned on the growers. Years later, Doug Fleming and his well-groomed wife and child are living a Reader's Digest life, interrupted only by Charley's scary intimations of demons and angels, when Doug's computer business suddenly goes broke, and, desperate to recoup his losses, he agrees to let Charley carry the lion for Clifford Landau—a Venezuelan ``soft drink'' manufacturer—in return for a percentage that will buy him back into his suburban Arcadia. Who would suspect a nine-year-old of involvement in a deal like this, and what could go wrong with his parents sitting just a few rows ahead of him on the flight from Caracas to JFK? Answer: The DEA pulls Doug and Karen Fleming off the plane in Miami, and when it lands in New York, Charley's vanished, along with his mascot. Don't go public, the feds hiss at Doug, or Landau will vanish, too, and we'll never get him back. But Doug goes public—AP, CNN, the works—and Landau doesn't vanish: He gets executed. Doug circles the world on the run from the DEA and its cronies, scouring every luggage compartment in the sky and every airport men's room on the ground. But it's not until a hideously overlong explanation from an old DEA buddy that he realizes what the dullest reader will have guessed long ago.... Veteran Mills (The Power, 1990; the nonfictional Underground Empire, 1986, etc.) has put together a staunchly action-packed male weepie, expertly shifting its hapless hero from the frying pan to a series of hotter and hotter fires. Read full book review >