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Sphere of Influence by [Mills, Kyle]
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Sphere of Influence Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 460 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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I Can't Make This Up

Product description

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times bestseller Mills (Burn Factor) returns with his fifth novel, featuring brilliant FBI tough guy Mark Beamon, who is investigating a terrorist threat linked to a global conspiracy. Killing time on a dead-end assignment while the Bureau plans his downfall, Beamon is thrown together with his former colleague Laura Vilechi when a videotape is delivered to the American media, indicating that Al Qaeda has smuggled a rocket launcher into the U.S. Their threat to use it against civilian targets has thrown the country into a panic, with people afraid to leave their homes. Meanwhile, Chet Michaels, one of Beamon's former trainees, now deep undercover in pursuit of a psychotic Mafioso, is nervously watching drug deals being made with shadowy Afghans. Looming behind all of this is a CIA deal with the devil (in the form of Christian Volkov, an international criminal mastermind), in which the U.S. government attempts to use organized crime figures as a proxy underworld army in the so-called war on terror. This thriller features real people and groups drawn from daily news headlines, playing on the anxieties of the American public-from the heroin trade to terrorism (and the connections between the two). But Mills avoids cynical exploitation, offering up human characters and a story that, despite some implausible subplots and heavy-handed editorializing, remains engrossing and affecting.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Reeled in from a dead-end job, outspoken FBI agent Mark Beamon is sent undercover to investigate a terrorist cell with access to modern missile technologyand promptly sees a fellow agent get murdered. From the author of The Burn Factor.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1185 KB
  • Print Length: 460 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399149341
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Sept. 2 2003)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third or fourth novel Kyle Mills has written with Mark Beamon as a main character. Mark's the best investigator in FBI history (everyone says so, about every fifty pages in this book) but he's been kicked up stairs to Special Agent in Charge in Phoenix. He makes a lousy supervisor, and is getting a review of his performance which is horrible, and will lead to his reassignment. One of his friends from Washington has a problem: she's investigating a case of terrorism in which some Al Quaeda extremists have smuggled a missile into the U.S. and are threatening to use it. She requests Beamon's help with an undercover investigation, and the result is that Beamon becomes Nicolai, a shadowy character who's part assassin and part organized crime kingpin. Another FBI agent is killed, and Beamon becomes Nicolai for more than a minute, and stays undercover, looking for who ordered his partner's death.
This is a pretty formulaic novel. It's very well-written, but the plot is so predictable and the villains are very easily identified. As a result, I didn't enjoy it as much as I might. I was wondering how he was going to end the story, but I will confess that again the ending was predictable and rather formulaic. Good writing, but lousy plot.
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Format: Hardcover
I remember reading Mr. Mills first book, Rising Phoenix, and being amazed at the imagination and skill of this new young writer. After that initial success however, Mr. Mills has become a rather average thriller writer who shows little penchant for complex plots or unique ideas.
The plot of Sphere of Influence revolves around a terrorist threat made against the US government. Somewhere inside the United States, a Muslim fundamentalist group has procured a Russian rocket launcher and threatens to use it against civilian targets. The FBI is desperate to find the weapon and they put their crack investigator on the case, Mills familiar protagonist, Mark Beamon. The plot soon becomes much more complex, with a shadowy criminal organization becoming involved and the obligatory CIA conspiracy.
So what's wrong with this promising story? Well, a lot of things. First off, the main idea that just by showing a picture of an old Russian rocket, the whole United States will be panic stricken is ludicrous. Mills talks about how people run from hospitals and most restaurants are closed. Come on. Besides this problem, I took issue with Mills political sermonizing. It's what hurts Clancy, and it hurts Mill's here.
As the plot lurches on, numerous holes appear. In the hands of a very talented writer, the plot involving a CIA-Cartel-Al Qaeda cospiracy might have been better presented, but I felt Mills really just couldn't handle it. The story just gets weighed down and is very predictable. Beamon is a cliche, but he is a pretty interesting character. Also somewhat fascinating is the character of Christian Volkanov, the leader of a world wide hidden crime syndicate. That's about it in the entertainment department.
Mr. Mills shows signs of talent, and I hope he succeeds in the future.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Though not normally a fan of thrillers, I liked this one, mostly because of its humor, pace, and exploration of ideas behind the action.
Mark Beamon is a smart FBI office chief whose best days seem to be behind him. As the country is gripped by terrorist threats from Muslim fanatics, one of Mark's proteges, Chet, is undercover working for a dumb mafioso who buys drugs from Afghans. The mafioso, taking orders from an unseen boss, plans to murder them and steal their drugs. Fearing that that would trigger further instability-or just get them all killed-Mark goes undercover as an international criminal mastermind to try to control the situation.
However, the boss give the mafioso the order to kill Chet. Mark gets sucked into scheme after scheme to further infiltrate the criminal network, hoping to avenge Chet's death. He ends up working with Christian Volkov, who, although a criminal, impresses Mark as one of the only trustworthy people around him. Christian is the epitome of the organized criminal businessman who, operating outside of government regulations or corporate bureaucracy, conducts business with ease and efficiency. This character-well-connected, urbane, untouchable-is hardly realistic, but entertaining in his ability to "make things happen" and of course, to escape every scrape.
In thriller tradition, we know "whodunit" long before Mark does, but he doesn't quite figure out the truth; it more just kind of comes to him. His sardonic humor keeps all the cloak-and-dagger from getting too serious. He lampoons his own weaknesses, such as heavy drinking and smoking, mercilessly.
Michael Kramer, the narrator, did an above-average job reading and expressing what was going on, but his accents were not great. A Mexican sounded exactly the same as an Arab.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
So you think Bill Gates is the richest man in the world? Perhaps he's gathered the world's largest legitimate fortune, but how do we know that there are not shadowy underworld figures whose wealth makes the Gates' billions seem like small change?
FBI agent Mark Beamon believes in the existence of such people, and what's more thinks they are linked to the CIA, terrorist organisations, the Mafia and huge drug cartels. When a rocket launcher suddenly appears in the deserts of Arizona or Nevada, a young agent which the disgraced Beamon helped train is put on the case. To help her investigation, Beamon goes underground taking on a persona of a terrorist himself. About there things start to go wrong.
Another agent is killed, the Mafia man Beamon was working for is arrested, and the CIA is stirring trouble with the world's heroin suppliers, trying to distance themselves from the rocket launcher. Beamon then encounters the enigmatic Christian Volkov, perhaps the richest man in the world, perhaps not. To keep his cover, Beamon becomes manager of Volkov's heroin business. As events unfold, Beamon discovers Volkov has far superior intelligence sources than the combined US agencies, commands an enormous underground economy, and despite his criminal interests, is a highly cultured, well meaning person. He also finds the CIA has been hiding a lot of it's dealings from it's own government, and is not in control of heroin trafficking whatsoever.
The story throws up a number of moral dilemmas, like is a crime still a crime if it is committed to prevent a larger crime, or is the policy of "any means necessary" justifiable in conducting a nation's foreign affairs. The conclusion of the story is a little unexpected, but shows one possible solution to these dilemmas.
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