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Lords of Corruption    by Kyle Mills order for
Lords of Corruption
by Kyle Mills
Order:  USA  Can
Vanguard, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kyle Mills' Lords of Corruption is a high octane thriller set mostly in Africa. Its young hero, Josh Hagarty, has a tough background. He grew up in a Kentucky trailer park with an alcoholic mother, and focused on protecting his frail younger sister Laura. However, a drunken mistake (he was with a friend who robbed a liquor store) sent him to prison. Since then, he's turned his life around. But, despite an engineering degree, an MBA, and a 3.94 grade point average, the black mark on his record is preventing him from finding a job.

Josh is drowning in student loans and in despair when he's contact by NewAfrica, a 'nonprofit focused on creating sustainable agricultural projects in Africa.' CEO Stephen Trent offers him a job, managing a terracing project in an area with deep tribal animosities. What they don't tell him is that his Ivy League predecessor was hacked to death with a machete after asking a few too many questions. Josh is met by blank-eyed thug Gideon and driven for seven hours through a landscape where 'hints of death's presence seemed to be everywhere.'

Josh finds the project in disarray, with the tractor cannibalized and very little progress on the terraced cornfield. The workers are led by tribal elder Tfmena, whose life Josh later saves. Gideon takes Josh to a luxurious expat compound where he gets to know cynical journalist JB Flannary. After JB introduces Josh to Norwegian aid worker Annika Gritdal, the pair make an extended field trip to check on NewAfrica's other projects - what they discover sends them on the run from Gideon, with all the resources of the country's vicious dictator at his disposal.

As Josh (fighting for survival in Africa) and JB (back in the United States) seek evidence to bring down NewAfrica, the company's criminal founder, Russian Aleksei Fedorov, hits back where the good guys are vulnerable. And Josh learns that 'Third chances didn't come along every day.' Kyle Mills' Lords of Corruption is his best thriller yet. It's the kind that keeps you up reading all night and its violent action would play very well on the big screen.

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