Why would the FBI want to cover up a link between five unsolved murders, especially a link as telling as matching DNA recovered from every one of the crime scenes? That's the premise of Kyle Mills's Burn Factor
. Instead of his usual hero, FBI agent Mark Beamon, the author introduces Quinn Barry, a relatively low-level analyst for the agency who stumbles across what at first looks like a glitch in the computer's forensics program. But of course it's not--the serial killer protected by the powers that be is a truly mad scientist who's indispensable to the completion of a top-secret weapons project. Quinn, whose lifelong ambition is to move up in the ranks and become a full-fledged FBI agent, is transferred out of her programming job as soon as she brings the link to the attention of superiors. But the plucky woman ignores their warnings and enlists the aid of another scientific genius, who also happens to be the chief suspect in at least one of the gruesome murders she's intent on solving.
Burn Factor is big on implausible and illogical plot twists, and small on characterizations. We never learn enough about Quinn to understand why she puts her career (not to mention her life) in jeopardy, even as evidence of a massive cover-up continues to mount and her boyfriend, a CIA agent, turns out to be a willing accomplice to the conspirator-in-chief. Fans of Mills's previous novels (Rising Phoenix, Storming Heaven, Free Fall) who keep waiting for Beamon to show up and save the day will be disappointed, especially since the author doesn't quite succeed in making Quinn Barry as appealing a protagonist. --Jane Adams
"'In the world of thrillers, I have a feeling that Kyle Mills will soon be a very big player' FREDERICK FORSYTH 'A new genius for taut, compulsive adventure writing' TOM CLANCY 'Mills blends fine character work with a high-torque plot' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 'Writing in the Tom Clancy tradition, Kyle Mills has produced a power-packed drama about the men and women who battle the bad guys to protect us all' William H. Webster, former director of the FBI and CIA"