Excerpt from Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Smoke Screen

by Kyle Mills

Smoke Screen by Kyle Mills
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2004, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Yeah, I guess I can see how they would..."

"So anyway, then I hopped a train and headed up to Scandinavia. Ever been to Copenhagen?"

A guy in a Superman costume climbed up on a pool table and dove into the crowd on the dance floor. I watched him surf along on a cushion of upturned hands and then get ejected onto the floor a few feet from us.

"Denmark? Huh uh."

"Nice place. Nice people. And everyone speaks English, which was a good change. But man, it's expensive. I only stayed a few days before I headed south again. I spent another month just cruising around and then shipped my bike back to my folks and headed for Asia. Ever been to Thailand?"

"Never."

"Really exotic. You should try to make a trip. Great food, super cheap."

"Yeah, one of these days. Hard to find the time, you know?"

"Yeah, they work you pretty hard here," she said, leaning in a little closer to my ear. "I've only been at the company for six months. Kind of hard to make the adjustment from just screwing around all the time. What division do you work in? I haven't seen you around...Seems like I would have remembered if I had."

I managed not to wince visibly when the cramped muscles at the base of my neck spasmed. Had that been an expression of interest? The girl was beautiful, intelligent, looked good in a nose ring, told jokes about Tolstoy that were actually kind of funny, and was talking to me instead of one of the hundred other guys patrolling the area. I wasn't good under this kind of pressure.

She smiled, displaying a set of teeth that were well worth whatever her parents had paid for them. "Yeah, I definitely would have remembered."

First impressions of me were as varied as the personalities that formed them. I'm just a bit over six foot four, with thick shoulders and a narrow, well-defined waist that hasn't yet succumbed to my more-or-less sedentary lifestyle. It was a physique that provoked lust, envy, and intimidation, among other things.

My light blond hair, sun-deprived skin, and teeth that were overly white despite my best efforts to yellow them invited comparisons to angels and Nazis in roughly equal proportions.

The bad habit I had of holding conversations and maintaining relationships while almost never making eye contact made a few people paint me as shy, but most complain about my arrogance.

"I, uh, don't work for the company. I'm just friends with the owner," I stammered and then immediately cursed myself for being so stupid.

"Darius? You mean you know Darius? You're friends with him? No way!"

"Uh yeah. I guess I know him okay," I said, trying to backpedal.

Actually, we'd been best friends since the fifth grade. In fact, we'd been inseparable enough that Darius had followed me to Chico State, despite having nearly every Ivy League dean in the country willing to prostitute himself in surprisingly degrading ways to lure him to one of America's more esteemed learning institutions.

Honestly, I'd taken his willingness to drive me to California as just another excuse for a multistate crime spree. When we arrived—literally just hours ahead of the authorities—he'd disappeared, leaving me to wrestle my stuff out of the car and up the stairs to my dorm room. When he'd finally reappeared, he'd lost his shirt and socks, but gained a blanket, an alarm clock, and a full academic scholarship. Five years later, with a total of thirty credit hours and a D average, security had escorted him from school grounds for the last time. So what did he do then? What any self-respecting college dropout would do: Stumbled drunkenly to the bank, withdrew the money he'd earned by skipping class and doing cutting-edge programming jobs, and started a computer game company. Now when God needed a loan, He called Darius.

"Is he here?" The Girl said.

Copyright 2003 by Kyle Mills. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Goodbye Days
    Goodbye Days
    by Jeff Zentner
    Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    by Hannah Tinti
    Hannah Tinti follows her spectacular 2008 debut, The Good Thief, with a novel of uncommon ...
  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -