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  • Fade
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I have read or listened to all of Kyle Mill's books and his newest book--Fade--is among the best! In Salam al Fayed (Fade) Mills has created an exciting, somewhat zany, and resourceful character. This is a book about revenge and the settling of old scores between men who were once partners and friends. Fade is the ex-seal and elite special ops agent whose been pushed too far, one too many times.

In the beginning of the book Fade's career comes to an abrupt halt when he is nearly killed while attempting the rescue of a young Arab girl. In a typical bureaucratic snafu (situation normal all "messed" up), the government denies him the complicated medical procedure that would have returned him to work and full health and as a result he is on his own with nothing to show for a life devoted to the most dangerous missions imaginable. Now, years later, the government has once again come calling for his unique services. Only this time it's Fade who has no desire to help. Threatened and pursued by the government and in turn the police (on trumped up government charges/lies), Fade does the only thing he was ever trained to do when attacked. He attacks back, and with all the skill and imagination that had at one time made him the very best in the business!

Thrilling and absorbing weekend end read!
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on August 4, 2005
After a brilliant debut novel, Kyle Mlls wrote three or four good but not great books. Not so for his last two. These are page turners deluxe. Three weeks ago I read and reviewed his tongue and cheek novel about big tobacco, called Smoke Screen and was extremely impressed. Now I've just finished his latest book, "Fade" and I am again impressed.

The title "Fade" is the name of the protagonist - Salem al Fayad, Fade for short - an ex CIA killing machine. Fade is a born and raised in the US, Christian Arab, who after being operational in the Middle East in the late nineties, found himself seriously wounded - a bullet near the spine - which threatened to paralyze him. There was an experimental operation which could remove the bullet and the danger but his friend and handler Matt Egan was unable to get anyone to pay for it.

Fast forward to present day; Matt is now working for Homeland Security and he and his boss, Hillel Strand have been tasked with setting up an overseas ongoing Middle Eastern operation and while reviewing the files of possible candidates, Matt's boss, to Matt's chagrin zeros in on Salem al Fayad, deciding he would be the perfect recruit. Matt tries to dissuade Strand but he is unyielding and insists on a visit to meet his new would be recruit.

Fade (Salem al Fayad) is bitter about his previous shoddy treatment by his country. When the government wouldn't pay for his operation, he went to work for a Columbian drug lord, in Columbia, helping him eliminate some of his competition, in order to raise enough money for the operation but alas, when he finally amassed the needed amount, it was too late as scar tissue, congregating around the bullet made the operation impossible. So when his old friend Matt and the imperious Hillel Strand showed up trying to enlist his services, they were sent packing in no uncertain terms.

Hillel Strand was not used to not getting his way, so he arranged for Fade to be arrested on some phony murder charge, wherein he would clear Fade, thereby making him indebted but as if in response to Murphy's Law, the worst case scenario ensues, putting Fade on the run and Strand hiding out from Fade, who now has promised to kill him. (This is the one weakness I found in the story - The sheriff sending out a SWAT team in the middle of the night to arrest a man on an anonymous phone tip)

Even though "Fade" is only 311 pages long, Kyle Mills manages to give the reader a good feel for his characters. Both Egan and Fade are likable as is Karen Manning, who enters the story as the head of a SWAT team sent to arrest Fade. The villain, of course, is the self important Hillel Strand, with runner-up honors to Manning's boss, Sheriff Pickering. Egan is put in the middle of the battle between Fade and Strand and you don't know which way he will jump.

As with Mill's previous six books the narrative is strong, smooth and fluid, without being wordy. As mentioned the book is only 311 pages and that is because he doesn't drag the reader into loquacious dialogue or go off in unnecessary directions. Instead he seems to reel the reader in by increasing the suspense on a chapter by chapter basis, in which the reader finds it difficult to take a break.

I'm further impressed that Mills seems to have an unending array of divergent plots. This is his seventh book and while some best selling writers seem to rehash different versions of the same plot, like Harlan Coben, Mills has not repeated any characters, nor has any of his wildly diverse plots have any similarities. So far, when you pick up a book by Mills, you are reading a fresh, new and well written story. Expect Kyle Mills to make the NY Times bestseller list in the future and eventually become a mainstay.
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on June 24, 2005
The story told in FADE by Kyle Mills initially seems...well, familiar. A Special Ops guy --- in this case, a Navy SEAL --- is retired, quietly living his life and attempting to exorcise his personal and professional demons, when Uncle Sam comes calling, wanting to bring him in for one last mission. The ex-op, who is the best ever at what he does, refuses. The government tries to force him into it, and things go downhill from there, with the ex-op taking on the Army, or a town, or whatever. Like I said, it sounds familiar. At first. But FADE cannot be dismissed as another Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. By the time movies like Commando or First Blood end, FADE is just getting warmed up.

Fade is Salam Al Fayad, an off-the-scale soldier who was forced to retire as the result of a grievous gunshot wound sustained in the line of duty. A bureaucratic snafu denied him the medical attention he needed; as a result, the bullet lies buried in scar tissue near his spine, causing him irrevocable nerve damage and bringing him closer to paralysis with each passing day. When Homeland Security decides to create a covert military surgical strike team, a career bureaucrat named Hillel Strand thinks that Fade is just the man for the job and assists on recruiting him, over the objections of Matt Egan. Egan, who had worked with Fade in the field and was at one time Fade's best friend, is well aware of Fade's bitterness toward his former employer --- a bitterness that includes Egan, who Fade blames (incorrectly) for the denial of his medical treatment.

Strand and Egan nonetheless approach Fade, who is living in solitude, eking out a living by building and repairing furniture while stoically awaiting the paralysis that will eventually result from his injury. When Fade predictably rebuffs the pair, Strand engineers a wrong-headed operation that sends a local police SWAT team to arrest Fade on trumped-up charges, a maneuver that is supposed to force Fade back into the fold of the U.S. government. Fade, however, believes that the SWAT team invading his home is actually an assassination squad, and successfully wipes out the entire crew, save for one: Karen Manning, the SWAT team leader, who is quickly taken hostage by Fade. Manning slowly begins to realize that Fade was set up, but it is too late.

Strand, hoping to cover up his duplicity in the action that has gone so horribly wrong, has set the might and majesty of the Federal Government against Fade. Well aware that his days are numbered, Fade has only his wits and planning abilities to aid him in his final quest, which is to obtain the ultimate revenge against Strand.

It would be easy to classify FADE as an extremely entertaining novel; indeed, it is a fast-paced work, one during which the reader never knows what will happen from one moment to the next. But Mills brings an element of moral ambivalence to the work that places it several steps above the garden variety explosions-and-karate one normally encounters in the genre. Almost all of the primary characters in FADE --- with the exception of Strand, and one other, whom we do not meet until the end of the book --- are innocents, cast against each other in a deadly dance where fates seem preordained and no one escapes entirely unscathed.

FADE, in its way, is a modern re-telling of the Frankenstein myth, done up in geopolitical dress and given a new relevance for our times. While there is plenty of action here for fans of the thriller genre, there is much for thoughtful, if disturbing, reflection as well. Recommended.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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VINE VOICEon November 30, 2005
When a book starts off with an early scene depicting the protagonist committing violent acts against other 'good guys,' you can be sure that you're not in for one of those stereotypical Baldacci book by numbers.

Kyle Mills delivers a fast-paced thriller in which many of the typical twists and turns and unbelieveable romantic side stories never appear. Hooray! This book delivered on the promises made on its jacket, and kept me reading far past my bed-time.

An excellent and exciting thriller.
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VINE VOICEon June 9, 2006
Kyle Mills has written a few good novels, primarily involving his hard-luck FBI agent Mark Beamon. Beamon is not in Fade, but that doesn't stop it from being Mills's best book yet, a top-notch thriller that avoids the usual cliches.

Fade is the nickname for Salem Al Fayad, an American of Arab descent who in pre-9/11 days was an elite government assassin, with a definite gift for killing. A mission left him facing paralysis with a bullet in his back and the government unwilling to pay for the only surgery that could help him.; to try and come up with the money himself, he did some mercenary work in Columbia for a drug lord, and though he got the money, it was too late. The surgery was no longer possible and someday he would become a quadriplegic.

Now, six years later, ambitious Homeland Security bureaucrat Hillel Strand has decided that he wants Fade for a mission. He is discouraged by his co-worker Matt Egan, who was once Fade's friend, but Strand decides he will recruit Fade anyway. When Fade, now a recluse, soundly rejects the offer, Strand comes up with a clever ploy: frame Fade for a crime, have the police arrest him, and then Strand will bail him out on condition that he will work for Homeland Security. Karen Manning, a SWAT team leader, is tasked with arresting Fade against her better judgment.

Unfortunately, she proceeds as ordered, and Fade, expecting a raid by Strand's men, routs the cops and kills most of them, with only Manning left as a temporary hostage. He realizes what he has done and is regretful, but knows that now his days are limited: if the stress of his new battles doesn't paralyze him, then Strand will have to arrange his death to cover his own tracks in this debacle. Fade vows to kill Strand and Egan and the cat-and-mouse game is on, with both sides switching between the feline and rodent roles.

Besides Fade, the story also follows Manning and Egan. Manning has to deal with the fallout of the botched raid and her mixed feelings about Fade: he is a cop-killer, but it seemed to be in self-defense. In addition, she is involved with the hunt for a serial killer called the Collector. How this subplot is resolved is interesting and a bit unexpected. As for Egan, he's also been involved with his share of government wet work, but now he wants a quiet family life; he knows, however, that he may not have long to live if Fade wants to kill him; his ex-friend is far too adept at what he does.

Mills is at his best with this novel which fits the bill as a page-turner. He avoids predictability, offers plenty of action and has a few dashes of humor to lighten things up from time to time. This is a satisfying read that really works well.
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on April 25, 2010
I read the Kindle version of this book and there were so many typos that reading was not pleasant. The word "the" was frequently replaced with "die", and many times words were run together with no space between them. It is interesting how many ways a series of letters can be divided into different words. Stopping to interpret destroyed the flow. I wonder if this is a problem with the conversion from print to Kindle; however, I have not seen the problem in other books.

I found the story line interesting if not realistic.
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VINE VOICEon July 30, 2005
I think Kyle Mills is at the top of his game with this novel. A suspenseful thriller laced with just the right amount of humor. I loved his earlier Beamon novels and this thriller rates right up there with them. Keep up the good work.

From inside:"The media's no different than the government, Elise. Everyone has the impression that America is becoming the most danerous place in the world, but it isn't. In some ways, it's actually getting safer. But those twenty-four-hour news stations have to keep people glued to their sets so they can sell Pampers or SUV's or whatever. People who think they're in danger don't channel surf."

"Anyone who would give up liberty for safety deserves neither" (Ben Franklin)

Highly recommended.
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on September 30, 2014
I was browsing the Vince Flynn's books looking for another Mitch Rapp book. I find out, much to my sorrow, that Vince Flynn passed away, and because some people thought Kyle Mills was up to the task of finishing the unfinished Mitch Rapp book from Vince Flynn (because of a previous novel from Mr. Mills called FADE) he got the job..
What better way to see what type of writer will be completing a Mitch Rapp book from Vince Flynn.
That's how I approached this book.

A silly story. A contrived story. A nonsense plot, with back stabbing government officials as a sub plot.
You know how, on your Kindle, you are shown the % read, and when the book is good, and you get to 82%, you wonder how fast it went?
When my Kindle said 57%, I couldn't believe I had to try to get through another 43% to finish!
Repeated thoughts from each of the 4 main characters, over and over. Our loveable villain, FADE, outfits an old Caddy with machine guns front and rear (like James Bond), and when he is about to be killed, it's time to use the car guns in a high speed chase, he loaded the guns with blanks!
They are useless/
Mr. Mills, make up your mind if you are writing comedy, or a terrorist thriller! Would Mitch Rapp ever do that?

Hope you do better in the Flynn book you have been commissioned to complete!
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on June 25, 2005
While the title character seems a little too humorous at times to jive with his big, bad history I still enjoyed this quite a bit. It was the perfect blend of suspense and humor. Well done and I can't wait to read the next one!
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on August 14, 2005
A director of Homeland Security,Hillel Strand is trying to recruit agents for undercover work in the Middle East.Strand gets his second in command Matt Egan to approach his former

friend Salam al-Fayed better known as Fade.Fade is a former Navy

Seal who speaks Arabic and is the son of Middle East immigrants.

There is one problem.Fade was shot in the back in Iraq and the

American government denied him help.

He is now living a low income life with a bullet near his spine that could cause paralysis.Fade is bitter towards the

government and Matt Egan blaming both for his present situation.

He refuses to go back into government service.Strand convinces the local police to arrest Fade on false charges so he can attempt to strike a deal for Fade's cooperation.A police SWAT

team is killed by the former Navy Seal.He becomes a fugitive at

large because of this incident.A massive effort is launched to

arrest or assassinate Fade.There is nonstop action as the

authorities attempt to apprehend Fade.It has a very exciting finish.Be sure to read this book.
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