HAYWIRE by James Mills


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 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.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1995
ISBN: 0-446-51619-8
Page count: 408pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995