Monday, April 28, 2008

"The Second Horseman" by Kyle Mills (published 2006)

Way back in October, 2007, I discovered Kyle Mills by reading his book "Darkness Falls." His writing style is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and anxious to turn the page. His genre is government thrillers. Most of his books feature a returning character, FBI Agent, Mark Beamon. Actually 5 of his 9 books have Agent Beamon. The other 4 fall within the same genre but with little twists here and there. In my "fanboy" lens I created about Kyle Mills ( ), I state, "Tom Clancy, look out Kyle Mills is on the scene." Because I believe that you can easily count his work up there with Tom Clancy.

This book, "The Second Horseman," does not have the character of Mark Beamon but does have a great lead character in the guise of Brandon Vale, a career thief, the best there is. One of the great things Kyle Mills is that every single character in his book has depth and that depth is shown through both a good side and a bad side. So Brandon Vale, the thief, has the bad side, his attitude to life and his humor offsets the bad with some good.

The story starts out with Brandon in prison on some trumped up diamond heist charge. Sure he was framed for this one, but he's not exactly innocent. But, for some reason when it comes to time for lights out a guard takes Brandon out to the gate, gives him a cell phone and says go. Confused, Brandon stares at the guard, the guard then takes his nightstick out and proceeds to knock himself out. Brandon then realizes something is awry. He then makes for the woods bordering the prison. He then is led to a change of clothes and a house via calls on the cell phone.

It turns out that Brandon's last job was merely a cover as Brandon cased Las Vegas. After all, how does Vegas keep all that money from just piling up? It turns out Brandon had almost all the plans figured out as to how to heist the money leaving Vegas and heading for the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. About $200 million would be good money, for anyone. It would also be good money for the government, supposing they wanted to buy some black market nukes to get them out of terrorist hands and not have to keep records of the money or the nukes. Also $200 million would be good for purchasing same nukes and destroying a middle eastern country.

So what turns out to be a mix of Oceans 11 and a Tom Clancy novel Kyle Mills delivers an action thriller which first takes us through a "fun" heist releiving Vegas of some funds and then saving the world through government double crosses.

Some great action and very fun dialogue in this book, so be prepared to be thrilled, entertained and kept on the edge of your seat when you read "The Second Horseman" by Kyle Mills.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:50 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Fade" by Kyle Mills

If you are into action thrillers where the good guys and bad guys have a fuzzy line dividing them, then Kyle Mills has written a book just for you. Throw in some political drama, topical plots and you have the gist of the book "Fade." But there is so much more.

One of the things I love about books is when the authors create characters that are not only believeable but also have depth and the character of Salam al Fayed, Fade to his friends, has that and more. A little background on Fade; he's a former Navy SEAL who later went on to work for the CIA and to do some "under the radar" assassinations, for the good ole U. S. of A. During one of those missions Fade got a bullet in the back. He survived but the bullet is lodged near the spine and he will soon die or become paralyzed as the bullet moves. The problem is at the time it happened it could have been operated on, but Uncle Sam's great wealth wouldn't pay for the "experimental" procedure. So Fade was left on his own. He went down to Columbia to do some work for the drug-lords. This was the kind of work the U.S. Government, trained him for. He earns some big money assassinating competing drug-lords. When he has enough money he comes back to the states to get that operation. However, the bullet is now covered in so much scar tissue that an operation is out of the question. Too late for Fade. Now Fade lives the life of a hermit, waiting for the bullet lodged near his spine to paralyze him. The last thing he wants to hear is that his country needs him—least of all from his ex-best friend Matt Egan, whom he holds responsible for his condition.

Enter today, and a secret department of Homeland Security is recruiting agents to work undercover in the Middle East and the director wants his second-in-command, Matt Egan, to bring aboard his old friend Fade. Matt and Fade went on several missions together in the CIA. Matt, at the cost of his job, even fought for Fade's operation, to no avail. Also when Fade went to Columbia, Matt covered up those records so the government would never know.

Fade seems perfect for the job. An ex-Navy SEAL, the son of Syrian immigrants and speaks perfect Arabic. When the director of Homeland Security goes around Egan and tries to "persuade" Fade to join the team, they inadvertently start the bloody war that Fade has been waiting years to fight. A war that the government, with all its resources, may not be able to win.

Fade kills several police officers in what he thinks is the government coming after him. When Fade discovers the error the chase is on. Will Egan be able to find his friend-turned-fugitive before Fade can take the ultimate revenge?

The action in this book is non-stop and Kyle Mills throws in several humorous sections especially with the cynical and sarcastic attitude by Fade. The book also has a very nice surprise ending, that actually leaves the reader feeling good, even with the destruction in Fade's wake.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:08 PM Comments: 1

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Review: "Burn Factor" by Kyle Mills

After reading all the Kyle Mills books that revolve around the character of FBI agent, Mark Beamon (who by the way is a great "everyman" crime fighter, better even than Clancy's Jack Ryan) I've been reading his other books. They have proven to be some fun books, I'll have to admit this is only the second "non-Beamon" book. This book, "Burn Factor," however does cross into Beamon territory and even has a very brief appearance of Mark Beamon. This book is a little different from the Beamon books in that this starts out being a novel about a serial killer, but soon becomes a serial killer novel with a government cover-up in place.

Quinn Barry is an ambitious employee of the FBI. She works on databases and coding for the FBI's systems. She very much wants to be an agent and as soon as her superiors see fit to send her to training that's what she will be. But for right now she's working on some coding to help matchup new hardware with the FBI's CODUS database for DNA. Her new search engine seems to have a glitch. 5 extra results are found for unmatched DNA. These results were not in the original programming. She soon finds that embedded in the old coding someone hid some DNA markers that were to be ignored. Thinking this is just some test code that got stuck in the old system she sets out to prove her program is better.

Once she announces the DNA code error, she gets transferred to Quantico to reprogram some databases. But she doesn't give up. She requests the police reports from the 5 extra results, knowing they don't exist and that once and for all she can show how she saved the FBI time and money she can get that agent training. However, it seems the 5 cases are real and are very heinous crimes of what appears to be a serial killer. At this same time her CIA boyfriend is snooping through her stuff and all of a sudden acting nice to her.

The action builds and never stops once Quinn decides to investigate the murders herself and is lead to a physics genius Eric Twain. She soon discovers this is a cover-up by an unknown government entity and her life is in danger as she tracks down the killer and the cover-up.

This is a great book for an adrenaline junkie. The character of Quinn Barry never knows when to stop and takes the inevitable good guy/bad guy chase to all new highs.

The fun part of the book is when Quinn is trying to determine who she can tell to reveal the cover-up and the only name she can come up with is Mark Beamon, but as the name comes to her she once again must be on the run so we have to settle just for the mention of his least (SPOILER ALERT!!!) until the end.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:03 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Book Review: "Smoke Screen" by Kyle Mills

Okay so I've now read all of Kyle Mills' books that feature FBI agent Mark Beamon, now what? Well, I now am reading his other books and "Smoke Screen" is one of them. While this book is not the thriller that the others are, it does keep you on the edge of your seat and anxious to turn the page to find out more.

This book is actually quite fun and some nice humor thrown in to a "What-If" situation. The what-if is; What if the tobacco companies all shut down and stopped producing the deadly products? Kyle Mills ponders this question and in the middle of telling a fun and interesting story gives a little lesson in civics. You see the government is so dependent on monies from the tobacco industry that while saving lives a lot of other lives would be put in harm's way and, most important to the government, lots of money would not be arriving in the political coffers they've come to depend on. These monies come in the form of taxed product, bribes/donations from the tobacco industry and even the people working in the industry.

So what would happen? This book offers one possible outcome and does so in a well researched way that it makes you stop and think about this crop that pretty much was highly influential in the development of the United States of America as a country back in the break from England.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have finally found the weakness they’ve been searching for and filed a $200 billion lawsuit that the industry will be unable to appeal. America’s tobacco companies react by doing the unthinkable - they close their plants and recall their products from retailers’ shelves.

The book's hero, Trevor Barnett, is from a family who made the tobacco industry what it is. One of the most powerful industries and political decision makers. However Trevor is not a rich person. He lives off a trust that basically pays little until he's 60 then he gets a few million dollars to enjoy. But until then he must be in the constant employ of big tobacco. So he's got a mindless job in the company his family founded.

But now he's charged with the task of going on national television and making the announcement: Not another cigarette will be manufactured or sold until the industry is given ironclad protection from the courts. This all because he wanted to get fired. When asked to summarize the latest surgeon general's report for the CEO of the company, he simply writes "Tobacco still kills and we don't know what to do about it." This is the first time anyone has ever talked "straight" with the CEO, Paul Trainer. So through an inexplicable series of unwanted promotions, Trevor Barnett has become the lead spokesman for the tobacco industry just as it’s on the verge of extinction.

As the economy falters and chaos takes hold, Trevor becomes the target of enraged smokers, gun toting cigarette smugglers and a government that has been off from one of it’s largest sources of revenue. Soon it becomes clear that this has always been his function - to take the brunt of the backlash and shield the men in power from the maelstrom they’ve created.

While the author, Kyle Mills, is a great thriller writer, in this book he takes a different approach that makes this book fun. Lot's of humor, tongue in cheek pokes at pretty much everyone and to top it off it's told in first person with Trevor Barnett as the narrator.

This book is a fun read that may also jolt the brain into thinking about some interesting issues. Some great sarcasm here for folks that love it (like me).

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:55 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book Review: "Free Fall" by Kyle Mills

Mark Beamon is the FBI agent created by Kyle Mills and is the main character in 5 of his 9 books and has to be one of the most interesting fictional characters created. You're never really sure if Beamon is on top of everything or if it's just a bunch of dumb luck. No matter what the case Mark Beamon is the one to turn to when wanting to find someone that can't or doesn't want to be found. Even the FBI top brass that don't like his ignore-the-rules methods, will pick Beamon to be the guy in such a situation.

In this book it seems more of a mix of both dumb luck and some smarts from Beamon that helps find an alleged murderer of a rock climber/government employee. At first tracking the murderer who is an expert rock/ice/mountain climber as well as being the ex-girlfriend of the victime. What at first could be a lover's tryst unfolds before Beamon to be a darker side of the run for the presidency.

Before I get too far ahead of myself in this review, let me first applaud Kyle Mills for creating an edge of your seat thriller that includes his personal passion/obsession of rock climbing. Mills spends his off time rock climbing in his native Wyoming (as well as other prime climbing sites). With 2 successful books under his belt ("Rising Phoenix" and "Storming Heaven") it was time to combine his passions; writing and climbing.

FBI agent, Mark Beamon is being held accountable for some leaked wiretappings that incriminate several prominent political figures. The recordings were discovered in his previous case and somehow leaked into the media. While he did not release the tapes, the political elite need a scapegoat and that's what Beamon is best at being. The FBI offers him a deal in which he will do minimal jail time if he confesses. They give him 3 weeks to decide. During that 3 weeks he is suspended. As he prepares for the political machine to mow him over, he breaks it off with his girlfriend so she can move on and not have to be wrapped up in this mess. But being Mark Beamon he can't just do nothing.

Trystan has pretty much given up the free life of rock climbing and is working on a law degree at Georgetown, he gets a job working for the government looking for newly declassified documents. Trystan runs across a file called "Prodigy," in which the Hoover era of the FBI kept tabs on promising upstarts in order to use against them in case they became too powerful, Kennedy is one such person that would fall under the Prodigy profile, with his affairs. What Trystan sees in this file is so amazing that he risks his job and takes the document from the storage house to hide somewhere.

Enter Darby Moore, the world class female climber, pop philosopher, Trystan's friend and once girlfriend. She convinces Trystan to go rock climbing for the weekend. During the night of the climb Trystan and Darby are abducted by men looking for the file. Trystan is injured, but he and Darby escape. They split up and plan to meet back up to evade their unknown pursuers. When Darby returns to her van the next morning she finds it surrounded by police and the body of Trystan hanging out of the van.

Turns out that 3rd party presidential candidate David Hallorin wants that file to use the information to guarantee his election bid. Now Darby is wanted for the murder of Trystan and is pursued by all the law enforcement agencies and Hallorin's men.

Someone wants Darby found and wants her found fast, and since the best man to do the job is not busy, Mark Beamon is hired by an unknown person and promised enough payment to cover his legal fees and get out of the frame job from the FBI.

So the adventure begins with Mark Beamon trying to track down a woman who can live in the mountains and not be dependent on society, while at the same time finding more and more that Darby is also being framed. To find out why he has to find Darby Moore.

The thrill of the chase and the constant twists and turns are what Kyle Mills is good at writing and he doesn't let off with this book. The descriptions of some of the climbs and the struggles made my knuckles turn white.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:27 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Book Review: "Storming Heaven" by Kyle Mills

I've recently become a fan of Kyle Mills and especially of his character, FBI Agent, Mark Beamon. And this book, makes me even more of a fan. "Storming Heaven" is Kyle Mills second book and the second of 5 books (so far) with Mark Beamon. Let me tell you in this book Mark Beamon gets everything thrown at him that can possibly go wrong...but, spoiler alert, he wins in the end. However it is an extreme rollercoaster ride of thrills in this book before we get to the end.

Mark Beamon, just off the case of solving who's poisoned the drug supply, is put out to pasture, that's right the FBI director still doesn't like Beamon, even though Beamon gets the job done. So now serving in Flagstaff, Arizona, Mark Beamon gets what could almost be called a simple case of murder and kidnapping, but nothing is simple when Beamon is involved.

Agent Beamon arrives on scene where it seems the Davis' have been murdered and their 15 year old daughter, Jennifer has been Kidnapped. The girl's boyfriend has an alibi and Mark seems to have hit a brick wall when it comes to clues for finding the girl. With the help of his young assistant, Chet Michaels, Beamon starts uncovering some clues that lead to a very bizarre story of corruption and the politics of religion. The religion in question a newly formed religion in the Church of the Evolution in which the leader of the church is the self proclaimed new messiah.

The church has its fingers in everything and sometimes those same fingers clutching the necks of some pretty high ups in the corporate world and politics. Through the book we know that Jennifer is the grand-daughter of Albert Kneiss the founder of the church. She has been kidnapped by the woman who is running the church, Sarah, while Kneiss slowly dies. The plan is for Jennifer to die on Good Friday leaving Sarah with all the power. So on top of Mark Beamon trying to solve the case, we have the adventure of Jennifer surviving the abductors.

As Mark Beamon gets closer to the church as the answer to sloving this case, the church does everything in its power to destroy Beamon's already shaky reputation. First they convince the head of the FBI to get Beamon off the church angle. seeing that not working they publish stories in major newspapers of Beamons credibility, especially with his drinking. Then the church destroys his life by releasing misinformation labelling him as a child molester, and to make matters worse they destroy his credit and cause the IRS to come after what little he has left.

But it takes a lot more than that to take Mark Beamon off the case, no longer an agent and now a wanted fugitive, he puts together a team of a computer expert that is a former member of the Church of the Evolution and a cantankerous old electronics bugging genius from the J. Edgar Hoover days of FBI work. Now not having to keep to the rules of the justice system Beamon and his team take on the Church of the Evolution. The rollercoaster ride becomes more thrilling at this point when at times Jennifer is rescued only to be abducted again and then rescued and then Beamon is double crossed by a trusted ally and so on and so on.

You will not be able to put this book down check it out.

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:54 PM Comments: 0

Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Review: "Phoenix Rising" by Kyle Mills

This is the book that not only introduced my latest hero, FBI agent Mark Beamon, but also my new favorite author, Kyle Mills. I should say this wasn't the book that introduced me to the Kyle Mills "Beamonverse" but that this is his first book and the character of Mark Beamon's introduction to the literary world. The first book that got me hooked on Kyle Mills was "Darkness Rising." I then read "Sphere of Influence," in which Mark Beamon teams up with crimelords to fight Al-Qaida. But let's talk about this book.

Kyle Mills first shopped this book among friends to find out if he had anything worth publishing. I'm glad he had some good friends because this introduction to Agent Mark Beamon and his not-so-by-the-book methods is a fascinating read. Not only do you get a book you can't put down but one that also has you questioning what is wrong and what is right.

The premise to this book is; how to tackle America's drug problem. A former DEA agent has the answer but it won't be pretty, nor will it be cheap. The former agent, John Hobart, is working security for a Televangelist. This man of the cloth is seeing many folks die in the "War on Drugs" and seeks a solution. Hobart has an idea how and works on a way to be funded and put the plan into play.

The plan; poison all drugs coming into the country thus killing off all dealers and users. So Hobart begins his dark life of finding the perfect poison and putting it into the drug supply right at the source. The poison is placed into the drugs right at the point of manufacturing in Columbia for the cocaine and then other poisonings to take place after the initial scare to make sure the point is driven home. Hobart starts up the process and forms the CDFS (Committee for a Drug Free Society)but the Televangelist says that the public should be warned. So Hobart must place ads in all major media stating what will happen. Then the deaths begin.

In what begins a great cat and mouse FBI search and a philosophical discussion of whether tens of thousands of people dying is worth it, Kyle Mills has written a great thriller.

If this is not on your list of books to read...put it there, you won't be sorry.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:08 PM Comments: 0