The World on Fire by Sheldon Woodbury
Publisher: James Ward Kirk Publishing
Date: August 2014
Reviewed by: Dez Nemec
Fiction Addict Scorecard: C
Louis Sedah is also known as the “Angel of Death.” He is a serial killer/arsonist/seriously bad dude. One day he walks into a small church, confesses to the congregation, and is arrested, ending a six-month rampage of destruction and death. However, the confession is not due to a desire to repent – Louis has something else in mind entirely. After the trial where he is sentenced to death, he is sent to a Supermax prison in Colorado, to be housed with the country’s worst criminals. Days before his scheduled execution, he agrees to speak to the press for the first time – but only to a reporter from the National Enquirer. David Milton, a disgraced NY Times reporter who is currently slumming for the rag, is enlisted to fly to Colorado for the most important interview of his career. David has had a run a bad luck – first he lost the job of a lifetime at the Times, then his daughter, Jess, became seriously ill. He’s hoping the interview will put his life back on track. But things don’t go as planned. With the help of a priest and multiple prison guards, Louis breaks out of prison taking six death row inmates and the handcuffed reporter along for the ride. Apparently, Louis had concocted it all – the arrest, the break-out, and the subsequent crime spree. Working with a radical group, he had everything arranged. And then the real carnage began. The world really is on fire, at least the American part of it.
Enter Special Agent Locke Wright, a member of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI. He has been chasing the worst of the worst for years and has the psychological scars to prove it. He’s dragged out of retirement for one last big case – to catch the Angel of Death and his nefarious band of psychopaths. But it’s not going to be easy.
The World on Fire is fast-paced and visceral. The Angel of Death’s first target after escaping from prison is Mount Rushmore, which he and his cohorts destroy completely. The stark visual of the destruction of such a recognizable landmark reminds the reader of the fallen Twin Towers or the smoldering ruins of the Pentagon on 9/11. But the devastation becomes more widespread as our villain sows discord among malcontents across the nation, and you realize no one is safe. Perhaps the scariest part of the story is wondering if, with the right psychopath at the helm at the right time in history, this isn’t possible. And then knowing that it absolutely is.