Kyle Mills

Hodder Stoughton £12.99 hbk

Reviewed by John Escott


A video tape sent to the FBI shows that a rocket launcher is in the hands of a terrorist organisation, somewhere in Wyoming. FBI agent, Laura Vilechi, has to find it - fast. She enlists the help of Mark Beamon, last of the old-school investigators who is not popular with the FBI hierarchy but who is the right man for the job. He has been put out to pasture in the Phoenix office where it was hoped he could do little harm and have no influence on matters of importance. Currently, a report on his operations in Phoenix paint a less-than-perfect picture of his handling of things. But Laura knows there is no better man to help her find the rocket launcher and Beamon comes in out of the wilderness to `assist` operations. Meantime, schools close down, shopping malls and offices empty, and air travel practically grinds to a halt as Americans wait in fear to see what the target for the first rocket will be.
In this post-September 11 story, Osama bin Laden has been eliminated and replaced by the infinitely more dangerous Mustafa Yasim. Yasmin knows that money is the key to America`s power and his aim is to destabilise the American economy.
This complex plot also involves Mafia bosses, a powerful drug baron, Afghan terrorists and the CIA, and at times it`s difficult to work out who is working with or against whom. Towards the end of the story, Beamon is offered a job by the drug baron, Volkov, at $26,000,000 a year for a `five-day work week`. The way he feels about the FBI, and the way the FBI feels about him, it`s a wonder he doesn`t take it. Mills has a compulsive style of writing which pulls you through the story at break-neck speed. In many ways this is a timely book, and even if you are sometimes confused you are unlikely to be bored.