WARHEAD (Avon Books, 1997) chronicles the sinuous path of weapons-grade uranium after it is stolen from a Russian nuclear weapons laboratory. Smuggled out of Vladivostok by the Red Mafia, the missing Uranium-235 passes from an East Asian heroin trafficker to a pair of American wannabe drug smugglers operating out of Puerto Vallarta, and then to Mexico's reigning drug kingpin. Eventually, the deadly material ends up in the possession of Stan Reams, a disgraced expatriate hiding out in Cabo San Lucas. Reams then becomes the ultimate terrorist as he seeks his revenge against the government that destroyed his business and ruined his life.
Private investigator Tom Parker, on assignment in Puerto Vallarta on another case, accidentally crosses paths with Reams. Unaware of the missing U-235, Parker then becomes embroiled in a convoluted cascade of events orchestrated by Reams that leads to theft, kidnapping, torture and murder. Reams eventually leaves Parker "holding the bag" in PV when he escapes to the U.S.
The plot accelerates when a Russian military officer who has been continuously searching for the hijacked U-235 traces the uranium to Stan Reams. The Kremlin subsequently alerts the White House to the threat that Reams represents. The FBI, CIA and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) then begin a massive campaign to find Reams.
Tom Parker, still in the dark about the missing uranium, stumbles right into the middle of the nationwide hunt.