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The Second Horseman (Fade) by [Mills, Kyle]
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The Second Horseman (Fade) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description

Product Description

To save the world, Brandon Vale's going to steal $250 million

Brandon Vale is a career thief---the best there is. Or at least he was before he was thrown in prison for a jewel heist gone bad. And even more embarrassing, he had nothing to do with it. His time inside is going fairly quietly until the night he's broken out against his will by Richard Scanlon, the now-retired FBI agent who framed him in the first place.

Scanlon, who still has ties to the United States intelligence community, has discovered that a Ukrainian crime organization is auctioning twelve nuclear warheads to the highest bidder, but he can't convince the government that the sale isn't a hoax. The only way he can get his hands on the $200 million necessary to take the warheads off the market is to do something that goes against everything he stands for: steal it.

The choice Brandon is given is simple: help Scanlon and hope to live through it, or turn himself in and face the repercussions of his "escape."

Suddenly, Brandon finds himself with only weeks to plan a Las Vegas heist that that he's been dreaming about for years, but has always thought was probably impossible. And to make matters worse, Scanlon insists on choosing his team personally. Led by the relentlessly intelligent and undeniably beautiful Catherine Juarez, not a single one of the former government operatives he picks has so much as shoplifted a pack of gum in their lives.

As the day of the heist approaches, Brandon's carefully constructed plans begin to break down and he suspects that the elaborate double-cross he's devised to save himself could cost millions of lives. He finally has to ask himself just how far he's willing to be dragged into a game that he can only lose.

With The Second Horseman, the heart-stopping, all-too-real novel, Kyle Mills proves once again that he is one of the freshest and most original thriller writers working today.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 731 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 1 2007)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003J48BWS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #206,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Second Horseman
By Kyle Mills
St. Martin's Press
August, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-33575-5
ISBN-10: 0-312-33575-5-X

Brandon Vale has been broken out of jail by the man who put him there. Now, instead of having just one year left to serve, Brandon's looking at another twenty-five. The only solution is to get out of the country and permanently change his face. No sweat. All Brandon has to do is agree to steal $200,000,000 as it's transported from Las Vegas to a San Francisco bank, use the money to buy 12 nuclear warheads from insane Ukranian mobsters and avoid being rewarded for his hard work with a shallow, unmarked grave.

The nightmare in which Brandon finds himself is the brainchild of Edwin Hamdi, the President's national security advisor. Using the services of a defense contractor who peddles intelligence (a private equivalent of the CIA), Hamdi intends to take the warheads off the market by any means necessary.

But what drives a man like Hamdi to such drastic measures? Why do government decision makers believe this threat is a hoax? The Second Horseman answers both questions as the author takes us inside one man's terrifying solution to conflict in the middle east.

A troubling study of the consequences of contract espionage, government sponsored terrorism and flawed US foreign policy, this fast moving and well written thriller may surprise you. Kyle Mills has populated his novel with characters unfettered by traditional mores. No one is portrayed as either good or bad. Instead, we're given characters who are deeply committed and terribly flawed...
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 12 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Second Horseman has enough material in it to make four novels: A jail break; a high-tech heist; buying nuclear weapons on the black market; and stopping terrorists from using those weapons. And that's the problem. If the book had stopped at about two novels' worth, it would have been a lot better.

Brandon Vale is finishing a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit when the guard he most fears takes him through empty passages to throw him out into no man's land just outside the walls of the prison. When Brandon tries to give up, tower guards shoot at him. Soon, he's off into the woods running for his life. That interesting beginning is the high point of the novel.

Brandon soon finds that he's got help. As long as he follows orders, things go smoothly. But Brandon knows that there's a bullet in his future.

Brandon is a genius at stealing things . . . and not getting caught. That's why he's been sprung. In the tried and true reversal of It Takes a Thief, The Second Horseman looks at how a thief might steal a vast sum of cash and get away with it. The crime planning and execution parts are almost as much fun as the prison break. Brandon is whiny and needy . . . and provides a lot of comic relief.

But there's a serious purpose for all that money: It's needed to take some nuclear weapons away from ending up in terrorist hands. Brandon finds himself pressed into duty for this role as well.

From there, the plot evolves into a very dangerous plan to stabilize the Middle East that I found added an unpleasant taste to the book. That bad taste never did leave my mouth.

One of the book's primary characters is an anti-Semite, although he cloaks it in intellectual terms. Who needs to read all that junk?

I recommend that you avoid the book. If you do decide to read The Second Horseman, however, you'll probably like it better if you stop after the heist.
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Format: Audio CD
Kyle Mills proved his mettle as a first-rate thriller writer with such titles as Rising Phoenix, Storming Heaven, Free Fall, etc. He comes to the fore once again in this fast paced tale of a thief who must steal not only to save himself but others as well. Another person who comes to the fore again is voice performer David LeDoux with a compelling narration that holds listeners spellbound.

Brandon Vale is a good thief, meaning he is capable, deft and an expert at stealing. So, it's a bit ironic when he's sent to prison for a theft he didn't commit. However, he doesn't serve out his term as Richard Scanlon, the former FBI agent who framed Vale, rigs an escape.

According to Scanlon, a Ukranian crime syndicate is auctioning nuclear warheads, and the only way to get them is to come up with $200 million. It's imperative that this be done lest the warheads fall into enemy hands.

Obviously, $200 million isn't pocket change but it seems that it can be had by robbing a Las Vegas casino. Vale has little choice - either cooperate with Scanlon or return to jail and face further punishment for his false escape. Scanlon offers Vale plenty of help for the theft - of course, the help doesn't have any experience at robbery, The only bright spot is the beautiful and wise Catherine Juarez.

A robbery might be relatively simple but it turns out that there's more involved than theft. While Vale isn't at all familiar with international machinations, he's going to have to learn and fast.


- Gail Cooke
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ae944c8) out of 5 stars 62 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aec7060) out of 5 stars A New Way to Solve the Middle East Problem...Read On... Sept. 22 2006
By John R. Linnell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story starts out interestingly enough as Brandon Vale, a career thief is being broken out of one of the he stumbles through the woods he expects to be shot and or captured, but it seems that someone has gone to a lot of trouble to arrange his escape.

As it turns out that person (Richard Scanlon)is the same one that put him in prison in the first place...and framed him to do it. Getting a little complicated? Think how Brandon must feel when he finds out.

It seems that there are some nuclear weapons on the black market, being sold by some Ukranian thugs. The price is 200 million. Scanlon with ties to the US intelligence community has been tasked to make the buy and get the nukes out of circulation. His first problem is that he needs 200 million dollars.

That's where Brandon comes in. After being convinced that his only alternative to saying "no" is to go back to prison, he agrees to engineer a heist of a truck transferring the proceeds from Las Vegas's casinos to a federal depository. However, his problems don't end there.

After pulling off the hijacking he is tapped to go to the Ukraine to make the purchase of the weapons as the person who was supposed to have done that has been killed.

I am not giving away anything to indicate that the person really running the show is the President's NSA Director. However, his plan for the nukes is not what everyone else thinks it is and I will leave the reader to find ouut what he is up to and how it all comes down.

While the thought that a person in that position would act in this manner is somewhat implausible, this is a very entertaining and tightly written thriller which should help those who purchase to pass these cool nights as we head into fall.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aec72ac) out of 5 stars A great effort from Mills - 4 1/2 stars Oct. 20 2006
By Timothy J. Kindler - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like many authors today and like he did himself with his previous work, Fade, Mills uses the topics of terrorism, al Qaeda, and Middle East turmoil as the backdrop for the storyline of his latest work. Unlike Fade, however, which dealt directly with the subject, Mills' latest work actually only covers these topics in a more secondary fashion. With The Second Horseman, Mills presents the story of Brandon Vale, a career criminal who somewhat unexpectedly finds himself broken out of prison. Presented with an offer he cannot refuse, Vale must orchestrate the theft of $200 million from a Las Vegas casino in order to purchase 12 nuclear weapons (and keep them out of the hands of terroists). Vale proves to be an interesting, even likeable, character. A solid supporting cast of characters makes this a compelling read. All in all, The Second Horseman is not quite as good as Mills' previous work, Fade, which in my opinion was fantastic, but it is very close. This will be well worth your time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aec7270) out of 5 stars An Indiana Jones meets Oceans Eleven caper Nov. 22 2006
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
THE SECOND HORSEMAN by Kyle Mills begins with no small irony. Master thief Brandon Vale, arguably the best there is, has been convicted of and imprisoned for a crime --- a jewel heist, no less --- that he did not commit. What is even stranger is that, as he is doing his time in a stand-up manner, he suddenly finds himself escaping (unwillingly) from prison, coaxed along by an unfriendly guard on the inside and shooed away by a fusillade of bullets on the outside.

Vale's world turns upside down when he discovers that the man behind his involuntary prison break is Richard Scanlon, a former FBI agent who framed him for the heist that resulted in his imprisonment. Scanlon has a reason for this change of heart, however. A Ukrainian crime organization has put 12 nuclear warheads on the market. Scanlon is aware of the sale but cannot get the U.S. government to pay serious attention to it. Two hundred million dollars will be needed to take the warheads off the market; in order to obtain this amount of money, Vale plans to rob the bank deposits of the major Las Vegas casinos.

Vale is a loveable rogue with a bit of a smart-aleck style, so the result is somewhat of an Indiana Jones meets Ocean's Eleven caper. There is a villain behind the curtain who wants Scanlon's plan to simultaneously succeed and fail for his own chilling reasons, but his identity and motives are revealed far too early in the narrative to create much suspense, at least as to the "who" and "why" issues.

Still, THE SECOND HORSEMAN is great fun in spots, as Vale and his minder, a fetching lady named Catherine Juarez, attempt to prevent a nuclear conflagration masterminded by a brilliant but twisted genius who believes that the utter destruction of millions of people will bring peace to a region that has never known it.

Vale is an interesting, even charismatic, character who steadies the novel when the plot occasionally stumbles. While there are portions that require some suspension of disbelief, Mills is an entertaining and at time compelling storyteller who can keep the pages happily and quickly turning. Though not his best book --- FADE arguably retains that laurel --- THE SECOND HORSEMAN is certainly worth the investment if the reader is willing to make it.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aec7768) out of 5 stars Engaging, enjoyable little work of fiction Sept. 12 2006
By Thundering Herd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While this is not Hemingway, I found this book to be quite engaging, readable and enjoyable. The plot is well developed with enough, but not too many, twists and turns to make it consistently interesting. A nice read on a Sunday afternoon. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aec7a5c) out of 5 stars Terrorism thriller with a twist Nov. 19 2006
By Cory D. Slipman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Kyle Mills' background as the son of an FBI agent has given him real life insight, which he used quite competently, in the creation of his action thriller, "The Second Horseman"

Mills' plot revolves around the exploits of an ingenious but currently incarcerated career thief Brandon Vale. Vale had been framed to take the fall for a diamond heist well beneath his superlative criminal capabilities. Quite unexpectedly Vale gets sprung from prison with one proviso, that he mastermind a plot orchestrated by his former boss ex-FBI Las Vegas station chief Richard Scanlon.

Scanlon in secretive cooperation with Arab American national security advisor Edward Hamdi had learned of the proposed sale of 12 nuclear warheads by a rogue Ukrainian crime cartel. They proposed to have Vale scheme to steal a truckload of Las Vegas casino cash receipts earmarked for deposit in the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. The purloined funds would then be used to purchase the warheads, effectively taking them out of play.

As they say, the best laid plans often go astray, which leads to an unexpected route the plot takes as it proceeds towards a rousing conclusion.