Summary and book reviews of Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills

Smoke Screen

By Kyle Mills

Smoke Screen
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2003,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2004,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

The Firm meets the tobacco industry in this wildly compelling corporate thriller.

Through a series of unwanted promotions, Trevor Barnett has become the lead spokesman for the tobacco industry just as it's on the verge of extinction. Plaintiffs' attorneys have finally found the weakness they'd been searching for and have filed a $200 billion lawsuit that the industry will be unable to appeal. America's tobacco companies react by doing the unthinkable - they close their plants and recall their products from retailers' shelves. The message is clear: Not another cigarette will be manufactured or sold until the industry is given ironclad protection from the courts. As the economy falters and chaos takes hold, Trevor finds himself the target of enraged smokers, gun-toting cigarette smugglers, and a government that has been cut off from one of its largest sources of revenue. Soon it becomes clear that this had always been his function - to take the brunt of the backlash and shield the men in power from the maelstrom they've created. As he is slowly abandoned by an industry that his own ancestors helped to create, he begins to hatch a plan to fight back.

Kyle Mills continues to explore the controversial subjects that have won him legions of fans and accolades around the globe. Fascinating in concept, rich in characters, and broad in appeal, Smoke Screen has all the trademark flair of his previous novels.

Chapter One

"So do you have to be naked to use the foosball table?"

At least that's what I think she said. The house's half-million-dollar sound system was being pushed to its limit by one of those repetitive, mechanical-sounding drones people slightly younger than me liked to listen to. I focused on her mouth as she spoke, trying to read her lips through the smoke and chaotic lighting, but found myself concentrating on their plump perfection instead.

I managed to turn slightly, bumping someone behind me and sending most of his beer down my back. It felt pretty good, so I shrugged off his apology and looked out across a dance floor so full that it made nonvertical motion completely impossible. On the downbeats, I could just make out some bare skin over the top of the pogoing crowd.

"I'm not really sure," I shouted loud enough for her to hear but not so loud as to shower her with spit. "I think it's more of a guideline."

She mulled that over for a moment. "Why?"

...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

.. a timely and chilling tale hinging on the power of Big Tobacco...The novel's plot is carefully crafted and original...an absorbing business thriller.

Booklist - Wes Lukowsky

He does an exemplary job of presenting both sides of the issue--essentially, health versus choice--and presents a Swiftian solution designed to bring both warring factions to their knees. This may disappoint a few of the author's usual fans but will gain him many new ones.

Library Journal - Jane Jorgenson

In his latest thriller, Mills mines familiar territory with completely new and powerful tools....Readers who are convinced that they know where they stand on the tobacco issue may have to think again. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

Funny, near-credible fantasy about an unlikely hero who takes on Big Tobacco and cuts it down to size....Fast, lively, provocative. If at resolution time Mills blows a little smoke, you'll at least have been thoroughly entertained.

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