Tuesday, March 10, 2009

“Darkness Falls”, by Kyle Mills (Vanguard Press)


The latest Mark Beamon thriller from one of America’s best authors

Kyle Mills is easily one of America’s most intelligent authors writing today. His novels often focus on one of the major political issues in America; whether it is the War on Drugs (Rising Phoenix), the Middle East situation (The Second Horseman), or the place of religion in American life and politics (Storming Heaven). In Darkness Falls, Mills tackles the issues of oil and the environment.

Erin Neal is the world’s leading specialist on oil and the environment. In Darkness Falls, he is brought out of his self-imposed exile and retirement in the Arizona desert to help solve an issue that is plaguing a number of global oil fields. Something is eating the oil and screwing up the extraction equipment. Mark Beamon (who is easily Mills’s best character, and certainly one of the best protagonists in thriller fiction), formerly of the FBI but now head of Homeland Security’s energy department, has to convince Neal to get back in the game and help prevent an economic disaster that could beset the world if what amounts to 1/3 of global oil is closed off (or eaten).

Mills writing is always a pleasure to read. His style is clear and fluid. His prose, plotting and dialogue perfectly constructed and well- (if not perfectly-) paced. The characters he creates – from our ‘heroes’ Neal and Beamon, to the villains of the piece led by enviro-terrorist Michael Teague – are believable and feel oh-so-real. Beamon remains irascible and anti-authoritarian, not to mention what sounds like the best stepfather ever (he is getting married to long-time love interest Carrie). Neal is a flawed genius: young, idealistic, afflicted with a ferocious drink-fueled anger, while also mourning the supposed death of his girlfriend, Jenna (who is somewhat responsible for the oil problems). The author’s take on the political side of things is, as always, perfectly on the button, making the scenarios within the novel feel oh-so plausible, almost as if they were taken from today’s (or tomorrow’s) headlines. Like fellow thriller authors David Baldacci, Vince Flynn and Charles Cumming, Mills writes lucidly, intelligently, and convincingly on the politics of the world.

It’s been a while coming, but Darkness Falls is the very welcome, superb return of Mark Beamon. Hopefully the next wait won’t be quite as long! A brilliant author, Mills has delivered again a brilliant, intelligent thriller that will keep you up way into the wee hours of the morning.

Series Chronology: Rising Phoenix, Storming Heaven, Free Fall, Sphere of Influence, Darkness Falls.

For Fans Of: Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Brett Battles, Andrew Britton, Alex Berenson, Charles Cumming, David Baldacci

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