Burn Factor (2001)

Burn Factor is an edge of your seat thriller of a novel from the author, Kyle Mills. In fact, it is his debut novel. It features a new heroine, Quinn Barry as the principal character. She is an FBI computer specialist that has aspirations of becoming an agent one day. When she is attempting to rewrite a search program for the CODIS genetic database, she stumbles upon a link between some cases that haven’t been previously connected (the computer part was what drew me in…). The novel then portrays a series of characters and situations that cause her concern if she can trust anyone as attempts are made to make sure she is silent.

Mills uses the technique that is featured in the DaVinci Code, and other Dan Brown novels, where there are very short chapters, each ending with a kind of mini cliffhanger that keeps the reader constantly turning to the next page. Also, the plot unfolds from both the standpoint of our heroine, and the evildoers simultaneously, as the short chapter’s trade back and forth. What results is a story that can hold its own even in our society of minimal attention span and instant message communication.

A word of caution though. Several parts of Burn Factor are especially graphic as we follow a serial rapist and murderer. It’s kind of like the uncut version of CSI, but parts of it are more than a little disturbing to me. I wonder what kind of normal minded individual could write such violence with such an attention to detail (a little research on the author's website reveals that his father was an FBI Agent which may explain this).

Burn Factor is an excellently written thriller. It is one of those novels that are hard to put down once started. This is the first Kyle Mills novel I have read, and I plan to read more of this author.

Overall Grade: B+

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Bill, the Wildcat said...

I've been a fan of Kyle's books for years, starting with his first book RISING PHOENIX. BURN FACTOR was something of a departure for him, given the graphic elements you refer to. Kyle's work almost always contains a conspiracy theme to it. The most interesting thing to BURN FACTOR for me was how I could see Kyle using the serial killer story as something of a secondary element--in the end, BURN FACTOR is still a conspiracy/cover up story, something few do better than Kyle.

Glad you enjoyed this one. I don't think you'll be disappointed by his other books.

digitaldoc said...

Thanks for your insight into Kyle Mill's work. He definitely has enough novels to keep us busy for a while around here. We'll look at more of his work soon, Armchair style!