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Kirkus ReviewsIn Mills's exceptionally accomplished debut thriller, a well- organized and generously financed vigilante group essays a final solution to America's festering drug problems.
When the popular Baltimore-based televangelist Simon Blake learns that his teenage son has been experimenting with marijuana, he commissions John Hobart, the church's security chief, to activate a draconian scheme casually mentioned in the course of a discussion about the federal government's inability to stem the inbound flow of narcotics. With $2 million at his disposal, Hobart (who was drummed out of the DEA for brutality) recruits a small band of like-minded associates and executes a cunning plan to poison the country's cocaine/heroin supplies at their offshore sources. Alerted to the extralegal campaign, the FBI puts maverick agent Mark Beamon on the case. Before Beamon can get started, however, addicts and recreational users alike are dying by the thousands from dope adulterated with the residue of a rare mushroom known as orellanin. Although more than half the country approves of what the conspirators are doing, and narcotics use plummets, Beamon mounts a furious effort to bring the unknown conspirators to book. Concerned by the group's impact on their cash flow, Colombian druglords and America's Mafia chieftains join the chase. The law and the outlaws catch up with Hobart simultaneously, and he doesn't go gently into that good night. By the time he's killed in a three- way shootout along the Baltimore waterfront, copycat organizations are doctoring the drug stocks delivered to ghettos and high-rent districts throughout the US.
A chillingly effective and suspenseful tale, complete with the moral ambiguities and guilty pleasures of such vigilante dreams as Death Wish.