Lords of Corruption
Review: A slam-bang action adventure with an extremely plausible scenario about foreign aid, corruption and cover-ups, including murder, Lords of Corruption by Wyoming author Kyle Mills explodes like a karate kick to the solar plexus.
Now in his mid-twenties and with a criminal record staining his resume, Kentuckian Josh Hagarty has just completed an MBA. Frustrated by dead-end job searches, he thinks he's headed to heaven when the representative of a federally funded charitable organization labelled New Africa offers him employment in Africa to oversee the charity's "sustainable agricultural projects." But reality sets in when he realizes he'll have to leave his 17-year-old step sister behind in an abusive household to travel to a continent he knows nothing about to perform a job for which he's not really qualified. But the promises of money and the chance to whitewash his blemished cv outweigh his better judgement. So, he's soon winging his way into an African country with poverty, military control, disease and despair worse than anything he's ever imagined.
On the job, Josh learns fast. A hard lesson teaches him not to travel alone. He's quickly made aware of whom he can trust at a fake job site, at other charitable organizations in the vicinity, and in the gated compound where he lives in relative luxury and cleanliness compared to the starkness of the nearby AIDS-ridden villages. He gets to know the lay of the land politically, as well, when he sees and hears about the atrocities and genocide committed by the country's president, Umboto Mtiti. To further complicate his life, he must deal daily with Mtiti's brother-in-law, a ruthless sycophant assigned as Josh's assistant, but whom Josh catches running a black market in goods stolen from the New Africa job site. Josh may have stumbled in the past, but he's not about to buy into the corruption he unearths at his so-called agricultural project — in reality, a front for funnelling money for a variety of national and international criminals and crimes. But as he becomes increasingly aware of his employers' contacts and their illegal activities, Josh finds allies in a cynical American journalist, JB Flannary, and a 26-year-old Scandinavian aid worker, Annika Gritdal, both of whom sign on to help him expose the political and financial corruption around them, and to solve the mystery of a death that is so compellingly detailed in the Prologue to the novel. Annika more than willingly helps him expose his love life, as well.
As the omniscient author, Mills cleverly manipulates his story to gain the maximum in tension and suspense. The family drama with Josh and his beleaguered sister in Kentucky plays out via the uncertainties of international cell phone connections before she is kidnapped to coerce Josh into compliance for the New Africa money-laundering endeavours. Then, there are the well-paced switches from one character's version of events to another's, with each change contributing a surprise or a resolution for moving the story forward. In one sadistic scene innocent lives are lost gangland style while in others the depictions of political spin photo-ops for foreign aid could have been ripped straight from the front pages of any of today's newspapers. The rapid fire action scenes and the often staccato-style dialogue contribute positively to the pacing, too, as the characters race headlong through realistic armoured vehicle chases, rebel uprisings, bloody tribal retributions, and on to the cathartic relief of the novel's conclusion.
A high-octane thriller about dark deeds on a troubled continent, Lords of Corruption is a rapid-fire, eye-opening read.
Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) for contributing his review of Lords of Corruption.
Review Copyright © 2009 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Lords of Corruption
Vanguard Press (Hardcover), March 2009
ISBN-13: 9781593154998; ISBN-10: 1593154992
Location(s) referenced in Lords of Corruption: Kentucky, New York City, Africa
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Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Publication Date: March 2009
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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