Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

WELCOME TO ED’S BLOG

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Welcome to Ed’s Blog. One man’s perspective on the world from the outskirts of the hub of Western Civilization. Subscribe to RSS feed above, for email alerts at right..

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“THE TRANSPLANTS” A NOVEL

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 CLICK FOR FREE PREVIEW  OR  BUY ON AMAZON.COM

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

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Donald Trump: Those who believed/hoped that Donald Trump would self-implode or that another candidate would surpass him in gathering delegates for the Republican National Convention should snap out of it. Trump is a legitimate, winning candidate, and it will take more that wishful thinking to defeat him. The remaining Republican candidates have to understand Trump’s appeal and address it’s roots as strongly as Trump has. Republican and most Independent voters are fed up with the Republican establishments failure to stand up to President Obama and his destructive policies. Most have done this to a lesser extent, but not with the force and believability Trump has. Cruz has made this the backbone of his campaign, but not as convincingly as Trump. Until his poor performance in the New Hampshire debate, Rubio had been doing this almost as well as Cruz, but now has to dig himself out of the the hole he dug for himself.

John Kasich did well in New Hampshire because of the time and attention he paid to New Hampshire voters and his good ground game. Like Bush, however, Kasich is unlikely to turn his second place showing in New Hampshire into a trend. If the Trump / Sanders victories demonstrate anything they demonstrate that this is not the year for establishment candidates, and Kasich doesn’t have the organization beyond New Hampshire to pull off a repeat.

Ted Cruz has the benefit of being a non-establishment candidate and a strong conservative, and he is likely to remain in the top three as the primaries progress. Nevertheless, he has to fight to get out of Trumps shadow, and after New Hampshire, that has become more difficult.

Jeb Bush turned in his best debate and vote-getting performance in New Hampshire, but he still has an up-hill climb he may not have the strength for.  He was the principle beneficiary of Rubio’s stumble and likely would have finished behind Rubio had that not occurred. Still Bush, more than any other Republican candidate, represents the establishment now so reviled by Republican voters. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, Republicans want their party to be a true opposition party and it has ceased being that.

Marco Rubio’s still hangs on by his fingernails and if he does well in South Carolina, he could make a comeback. Even if he does, however, Trump would have to stumble big time for the race for the nomination to become a two-man race between Rubio and Cruz

Chris Christies’ suicide attack on Marco Rubio was effective, but it ruined his chances of finishing in the top four or five. Before the New Hampshire Republican debate Christie made the strategic decision to go after Rubio hard as a way of advancing his own candidacy. That strategy failed partially because of the meanness in which he executed his attack on Rubio and partially because of his incessant bragging about it during interviews after the debate. His behavior came across as un-presidential and downright nasty. As a result, he is out of the race.

Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson: Both are good people, but they did not do well in New Hampshire for different reasons. Carly, in my view, didn’t catch on because Republican voters didn’t buy into her electability in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Memories of devastating personal attacks on conservative women have left cars on Republican voters. Carson was too weak on foreign affairs and too meek as a candidate. This year Republican’s want a fighter. Carly dropped out today and how much longer Carson will stay in the race, I don’t know, but neither stood any chance of becoming the party’s nominee.

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton:  The conventional wisdom is that from here on out it’s Hillary’s show. She will do better in states where blacks and other minorities make up significant portion of Democratic primary voters. True; however, Clinton is a seriously damaged candidate, and even if she wins the nomination as most pundits on both sides predict, odds of her winning a general election against Trump or any of the other top republican candidate are not good. Hillary has proven a poor, un-energetic campaigner, mired in the past and hobbled by scandals past and present. Today’s young Democratic voters lack the forgiving attitudes their counterparts had 20-years ago; and Bill Clinton is not the adroit politician campaigning on behalf of his wife he was as a younger man. Hillary’s attacks on the the women in her husbands “bimbo eruptions” has her now viewed no so much a victim as an enabler. Comparisons of Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby make the point. Most damaging is Hillary’s email scandal which will likely come to a head before the November election. The FBI already has begun to drop breadcrumbs suggesting the referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice. The attorney general and President Obama likely will do everything they can to stonewall, but the accusations of cover-up will become deafening and damaging.

Bottom Line: Right now a Trump-Clinton match up in the November election appears most likely. Of course, anything can happen between now and then. The vicious, dirty Democratic campaign, like those we’ve witnessed in the past is about to begin, first on Bernie Sanders then on Donald Trump. Presidential politics is about to become very dirty–again. Hillary’s next book may be titled “Guess What Happened to Me on the Way to the Coronation?”

 

 

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HOW MANY CARS HAVE YOU OWNED?

We have owned 19 cars and one motorcycle. The shortest we’ve owned a car was the VW Beetle (less than 1 year). The longest we’ve owned one is the 1989 BMW 525i (15 years). My worst car experience was trying to restore an old TR2. Never try to restore an old car unless you have plenty of money and free time. My favorite car is my 2007 BMW 335i, followed by my 1967 Jaguar XKE. Seventy one Thunderbird got the worst gas milage, around 11 miles to the gallon, right in the middle President Carter’s gas crisis. Owned 3 Z cars. Fun to drive. Sold the 240Z after 3 years for more than I paid for it. Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited caught fire while my daughter was driving down the road. Policeman saw the flames and pulled her over in time for her to get out of the car before enveloped in flames. The fastest I’ve ever driven in a car was 151 mph in the XKE. When the Missouri State Patrolman pulled me over and asked me “Do you know how fast you were going?” I replied “Yes, but I’m not going to tell you.” When he found out I had just returned from Vietnam he let me go without a ticket.

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15 PHOTOS: VIETNAM 1966-1967

It is hard to believe all this took place 50 years ago..

http://ewross.com/A_Soldiers_Journey.htm

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THE DONALD VS. MEGYN

kelly-trump

The biggest story in politics and about the media this week is the tussle between Donald Trump and Fox News over Megyn Kelly. Ever since Megyn asked Donald a question he didn’t like about his attitudes toward women in the first Fox News debate, he has been calling her a bimbo, a terrible journalist and worse. Megyn, for her part, has tried to stay above the fray, having the natural advantage of being the “victim” of the Donald’s attacks. Her question at the opening of the first debate was well with acceptable parameters for presidential debates.

All this came to a head this week when Trump said he wouldn’t participate in the second Fox News debate tomorrow if Megan Kelly was one of the moderators. We don’t know the totality of communication that may have taken place behind the scene between the Trump campaign and Fox News, but Trump first said he “probably” wouldn’t participated in the debate and then soon followed with a statement that he would not participate. Instead, he would hold a separate event in Iowa to raise money for veterans. That probably has something to do with the sarcastic statement the Fox News press office put out.

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Trump has been a master at manipulating the media, and many see this as just another artful move on his part to garner attention before the Iowa caucuses. Until Trump came along, the media has had the upper hand in American politics. It has been able to destroy any politician that didn’t genuflect before it. All Trump is doing in the dust up with Kelly, the argument goes, is demonstrating that he can tell the mighty Fox News “screw you” and get away with it. This no doubt will endear him even more to his host of ardent supporters. He’ll win Iowa and New Hampshire and breeze through the primaries to the nomination at the Republican National Convention. In the end the way he has treated Kelly will have been justified as part of a winning strategy.

The other side of this coin is that Trumps comments and treatment of Megan Kelly are un-presidential and uncalled-for and expose Trump for who and what he really is—an egotist, a narcissist and a misogynist. His attack on Trump will turn off voters and, in the end, could help cost him the nomination.

Where do I stand on all this? I fully understand and appreciate Trumps masterful manipulation of the media. A vast number of voters, Republicans and Democrats, are fed up with the status quo and enjoy, no love, Trumps act. They want to see the establishment toppled—the equivalent of stabbing Caesar. However, they may have felt about Megan Kelly before the clash, they excuse Trumps behavior toward her as brilliant strategy.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am among the millions of admirers of Megyn Kelly. She is one of the brightest media stars to come along in a long time. Many pundits refer to her as the new Barbara Walters—forget the Barbara Walters of The View and consider her impressive life’s work. I agree. I understand also why Fox’s Roger Ailes is supporting Megan and refusing to cave to Trump’s pressure. She earns Fox News a lot more money than they will lose because of lower ratings in tomorrow’s debate. Should Ailes pull Kelly from the debate, she no doubt would bolt from the network.

Furthermore, I’m not among the legion of Trump loyalists. While I share much of their dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., establishment, I have my doubts about his ability to run the country and command the U.S. Armed Forces. There is no room in the presidency for on-the-job training. It didn’t work with Barack Obama and I don’t believe it will work with Donald Trump.

We won’t have to wait long to determine who benefits the most from this scuffle. Frankly, I’m pulling for Megyn.

Here’s the link to the article I wrote on Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, and Barbara Walters ROSIE, THE DONALD AND BABS

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SNOWARMAGEDDONAPOCALYPSE

Mid Atlantic States Prepare For Large Snow Storm

From the Outskirts of the Hub of Western Civilization (Jan 23, 2016) The wheels of the United States government have ground to a halt, albeit on a Saturday. Still, up to 30 inches of snow could keep it closed Monday and Tuesday. Unlike shutdowns of the government from congressional inaction, however, the endless stream of borrowed money will continue to flow. Nothing prevents Barack Obama from issuing executive orders from the comfort of the White House. And nothing prevents presidential candidates’ TV commercials from airing constantly on broadcast and cable television.

As a 37-year-resident of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, I’ve seen several monster snow storms, but none as bad as this one. I’ve also seen several presidential elections from the nation’s capital, but none as wild as this one. Fortunately the snow will melt away and everyday life in and around D.C. will return to normal. I can’t say as much for presidential politics. The snow (job) just gets deeper and deeper and there is no end in sight.

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Check out my novel. Click on image.

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INDICTING HILLARY CLINTON

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With new disclosures in a letter from the Intelligence Community inspector general to the chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Foreign Relations committee, the Hillary Clinton email scandal has entered a new and precarious phase for the Democratic presidential candidate.

Given the punishments handed out to people like General Petraeus and other high-ranking government officials for disclosing classified information to people without the proper clearance or a need to know, many respected former government officials and legal experts argue the Justice Department must indict her. On the other hand, others say that President Obama, who has shown blatant disrespect for the law, simply won’t indict her; she’d have to commit an axe murder in public before he would allow her to be prosecuted.

For almost any other offense, I would agree with the latter. For this offense, however, I believe the administration has no choice but to indict her. I held a TOP SECRET SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (SCI) clearance for 32 years in the department of defense. During much of that time I had access to several special access programs (SAP). Among the most sensitive of them was HUMINT (human intelligence). This is information about clandestine human intelligence collection operations. Disclosure of this information reveals sources and methods which pose not only a grave risk to U.S. national security but puts at risk the lives of foreign agents and U.S. case officers. High-level sources have told FOX News reporter Catherine Herridge that some of those emails referred to in the inspector general’s letter involved HUMINT information. Consider the fuss and the designation of a special prosecutor made over the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity, and she no longer was working as a clandestine agent.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ recently stated that, “The odds were pretty high” that governments hostile to the United States accessed Hillary Clinton‘s private server.” This makes Clinton vulnerable. She sent and received classified information thru a personal unclassified email server. According to the law, whether or not it was marked as classified at the time is irrelevant. The secretary of state should be able to recognize classified information when she see’s it. I can tell you from personal experience, recognizing classified information isn’t that hard to do.

Whether or not the Russians, Chinese or Iranians hacked into her email or not, allowing that possibility to exists constitutes gross negligence. Again, under the law [18 U.S.C § 793(f)(1)] such gross negligence is a felony.

I won’t predict that President Obama’s Justice Department will indict Hillary Clinton, but if it doesn’t the damage to our country done by that omission will be greater than the damage Hillary Clinton already has done by her disregard for national security. It would set a precedent that would make it very difficult to prosecute senior officials who commit similar offensives in the future.

To be sure, indicting a former first lade, senator and secretary of State would be unprecedented and would set off a bitter partisan debate. Nevertheless, no American is above the law.

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“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

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“13 Hours” ranks up there with the best war movies ever made. It’s a gripping movie that arouses your patriotism, touches your heart, and peaks your anger. My top ten list of great war movies, in order of release date, are listed below with links to the Internet Movie Database.

They Were Expendable (1945)

Twelve O’clock High (1949)

From Here to Eternity (1953)

In Harms Way (1965)

Patton (1970)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Patriot (2000)

We Were Soldiers (2002)

American Sniper (2014)

13 Hours (2016) 

What all these movies have in common is that they not only portray combat realistically, it shows those who fight and die for our country as the complex, compassionate and patriotic people they really are. There’s a reason the American Warrior and the U.S. Armed Forces are the most respected class of people and institution in America, and they are it.

War movies at the top of my list, made in the twentieth century, didn’t have the advantage of the sophisticated, real-life-effect computerized graphics movies today have. But great graphics alone don’t make a good movie. Too many filmmakers today believe that all you need is eye-popping destruction and that will drive people to the box office. Moviegoers haven’t changed in the past 100 years. They want a good story, well acted, and well told.

To be sure, “13 Hours” has plenty of great graphic effects, but they don’t overshadow the story of the bravery and sacrifice of a small group of men who fought and died for their comrades. We’ve heard a lot about Benghazi on the news over the past three years. It’s become a hot political topic divided along party lines. For that reason, along with the fact that the story has received scant coverage in the mainstream media, many of not most Americans have tuned out to the story.

Michael Bay did a great job of making the movie as apolitical as possible. There’s no mention of Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration attempt to cover up what really happened in Benghazi. Nevertheless, the debate over Benghazi is too well known, if not well understood, and you can’t watch the move without asking yourself, Why did the President, the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor lie to the American people and believe they could get away with it. Why didn’t AFRICOM deploy assets to support the beleaguered diplomatic post and the CIA annex?

The movie never explains why AFRICACOM or EUCOM never launched an effort to support those fighting and dying in Benghazi; but can you imagine them not taking action unless ordered not to from above? I can’t.

There’s no need for me to summarize the plot of “13 Hours.” You know the gist of the story. But no matter what you think you know, I guarantee you that you’ll come away from the movie with knowledge and insight you didn’t have before. I give “13 Hours” five stars.

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“The Transplants” a novel by Ed Ross. Click on image.

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FLASH-MOB RAPE

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Will the migrant/refugee flash-mob rape attacks that happened in Europe likely spread to the United States.

The short answer to that question is probably not, and the reason for that is that we have fewer Middle Eastern refugees, Those already here are more integrated into society, and American women are better armed than their European cousins.

What happened in Europe on New Year’s Eve is deplorable. Bands of Middle Eastern men, presumably Muslins, sexually assaulted and robbed women in Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland. Assaults in Germany occurred in at least six cities. Precisely how many women were assaulted is unknowable as many, no doubt, did not report their incidents.

What happened isn’t surprising considering the status of women in Middle Eastern cultures. Abuse of women and children is far more prevalent than in the U.S. Why would young Middle Eastern men behave any differently after they arrive in Europe than they did in their home countries. I’m not referring to all Middle Eastern or Muslim males, just a large percentage of those who have been educated not to see women as equals. The logical conclusion many come to, therefore, is that as the number of Middle Eastern/Muslin migrants/refugees in the United States increases, sexual assaults of this sort will become more common.

Other commentators, however, have noted that the integration of Muslims into society in the United States if far better than in Europe where Muslin populations have grown quickly and tend to isolate themselves in their own communities where they don’t assimilate Western values. Add to that the smaller number of muslins in the U.S. (1%) compared to Europe (6% and increasing rapidly to 8% by 2030). The numbers of Middle Eastern/Muslim men in America who reflect the behavior of those we saw in Europe on New Year’s eve is only a small fraction of the 1% of them in the U.S. This could change, of course, if large numbers of Middle Eastern migrants/refugees enter the U.S. in a short time.

Beyond these considerations, we should not play down the fact that the number of American women buying guns and obtaining concealed-carry permits for self defense has increased exponentially. “The number of women going to gun ranges has jumped roughly 60 percent since 2001 to more than five million, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.” More women bought guns in 2015 than men. Contrary to President Obama’s response to a rape victim in the CNN Town Hall on Guns that a woman with a gun is more likely to get shot with her own gun than an attacker, women have demonstrated time and again this is not true.

I don’t expect we will see flash-rape mobs in the U.S. any time soon, but if we do, let them be forewarned.

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UPDATE: “THE TRANSPLANTS” SEQUEL

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If you regularly follow this blog, you know I’m working on the sequel to “The Transplants,” my sci-fi, action adventure novel available at Amazon.com and all major eBook distributors. I had originally planned on having the sequel “The Transplants: Errant Dragons,” available for sale on line this month. However, I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t publish the book unless it was better than the original, which took me almost three years to conceive, organize and write. About half way through I didn’t think I was headed in that direction, and I have gone back and am doing a major rewrite.

Think about it. How many sequels (books or movies) can you think of that were better than the original? Among the most successful movie sequels (James Bond, Star Trek and Star Wars) not every sequel made the grade. What made one better than another was the story, characters and the quality of the script. Add to that something new and original. The exception to that rule is probably the Jason Bourne trilogy. In all three books and movies the CIA is out to kill him and he is out to find out who he is and get to the source of the problem. It works because all three episodes are part of one big action-packed story.

In “The Transplants,” Rion and Sena arrive on earth from the planet Auria, pass themselves off as humans and cross two continents looking for each other while evading and escaping the U.S., Russian and Chinese governments. What’s different about “The Transplants: Errant Dragons” is that the tables are turned. These governments aren’t so much chasing them as they are after the Chinese government that abducted their children in a failed attempt to abduct them. And after ten years on Earth, the couple have become human psychologically and emotionally. On Auria, God, religion and faith were alien concepts to them. On earth they accept them, while not becoming overly religious.

If you have read “The Transplants,” I welcome your suggestions and recommendations on what you would like to see in the sequel. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll find links to where you can purchase it at http://ewross.com/transplants.htm. For updates and blogs on a variety of topics you can subscribe to Ed’s Blog at the link to the right in the center column beneath the picture of Washington, D.C.

All the best, Ed

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WHY I’M NOT OVERLY CONCERNED ABOUT BARACK OBAMA’S LAME ATTEMPTS AT GUN CONTROL

gun-controlLike millions of

American gun owners, I am bothered by President Obama’s and Democrats’ constant attempts at so called “common sense” gun control. Why they can’t understand the facts that stare them in the face befuddles me. Nevertheless, I am not overly concerned. Here’s why.

Large numbers of felons who should be denied the right to purchase a firearm after a background check aren’t. Poor and inconsistent reporting keeps them off the list. Prosecutions for gun crimes has dropped precipitously over the past decade. Etc., etc. We don’t enforce the gun laws we have on the books. Americans don’t understand why we need new gun laws when we don’t enforce the ones we have.

Beyond this, terrorism, the Ferguson Effect (discouraging aggressive policing) and rising crime rates make Americans feel less safe. Law abiding Americans buy guns to protect themselves and their families because they know that by the time first responders reach them, in most cases it will be too late.

Gun purchases and gun manufacturers stock prices are going through the roof not because rural rednecks are buying their tenth and twentieth gun. They are on the rise because more and more Americans who have never owned a gun are buying them. Despite all the anti-gun propaganda, they understand that they are their own first responder.

There will always be a cohort of people, mostly on the left, who abhor guns and would like to eliminate them from society altogether, but they are losing the battle. With every domestic terrorist attack and mass shooting in a “no-gun zone” more Americans buy guns.

Despite Barack Obama’s tendency to ignore The Constitution and the law, there is little he can do with his pen and his phone. The 10 executive measures announced on January 5 are meager and won’t stand up in the courts or survive a Republican president.

I don’t suggest we shouldn’t resist Obama’s and Democrats’ gun-control campaign, we should just buy more guns and more shares of American gun manufacturer’s stock. That sends a powerful message no on can ignore. Gun owners vote, and 2016 is a year to send another message. “Don’t mess with my guns.”

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HAVE YOUR READ “THE TRANSPLANTS” YET?

“The Transplants” http://ow.ly/TsaTe is still selling strong, but the sequel is progressing. If you haven’t read “The Transplants” yet, you’ll want to before “The Transplants: Errant Dragons” comes out. Book one takes place in Australia and the US. Book two will unfold in China. Like all sequels, you need to read the first book for it to make the most sense. Ed

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VINCE FLYNN – KYLE MILLS, THE SURVIVOR A REVIEW

THE SURVIVOR

I was one of the few people fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of the new Mitch Rapp novel that comes out on October 6, thanks to Vince Flynn.com and Simon and Schuster. Here’s my review with no spoilers.

Like most Vince Flynn/Mitch Rapp fans I’ve read every one of Vince’s books and was saddened and disappointed when he died from prostate cancer on June 13, 2013. Vince had begun his next book in the Mitch Rapp series, “The Survivor,” before he died, but hadn’t completed it. Judging from what we learned on Vince’s webpage, most people, like me, believed the book would never be published, and the Mitch Rapp series had come to and end.

Along comes Kyle Mills. Kyle is an experienced New York Time best-selling author like Vince with 14 political thrillers under his belt written between 1997 and 2015. You can check him out at http://www.kylemills.com.

Nevertheless, there was only one Vince Flynn, and I wasn’t sure Kyle could love the colorful and complex characters Vince created, like Mitch, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, Stan Hurley, Scott Coleman and a host of other allies and villains. Most important, I didn’t think anyone but Vince, could capture the complex character of Mitch Rapp. After all, when it comes down to the essentials, it’s not the plot that makes or breaks a book. It’s the characters and what the author does with them. Assassins kill bad guys and occasionally a not-so bad-guy. How and why the kill them makes all the difference.

Mitch often is brutal, but he isn’t a cold-blooded, emotionless killer, it’s-all-in-a-days-work-kind’a guy, at least not all the time. He’s a patriot who loves his country and puts his life on the line for it, which is what makes Mitch Rapp such a compelling character. All the Mitch Rapp books have counterbalanced plot lines, and the survivor is no different. One is Mitch in the field doing what the world’s most feared assassin does. The other is Mitch in Washington, D.C. fighting an often corrupt political system and CIA haters that are true to contemporary headlines.

Unlike just about every other fictional assassin, Mitch wasn’t an ex-military, ex-special forces veteran used to killing for a living. He was an All-American Lacrosse player at Syracuse University when Libyan terrorists blew Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing his sweetheart Maureen, whom Mitch had known since he was 15, along with 35 other Syracuse students returning from a semester overseas. Determined to make the terrorist who had done this pay, he was an easy recruit for then case officer Irene Kennedy. The rest is literary legend.

Whether you begin with the Survivor, or American Assassin and read the books in story vs. published order, you won’t be sorry. American Assassin and Kill Shot are prequels, the last two complete books Vince wrote, but they begin at the beginning of Mitch’s professional life and I recommend that anyone new to Vince/Flynn and Mitch Rapp begin there.

Finally, allow me to put in a shameless plug for my novel “The Transplants” http”//ewross.com/transplants.htm. Vince was a big inspiration for me and I tried to create characters that he would like and understand.

 

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I’M READING THIS AM ABOUT SPACE ELEVATORS

I’m reading this AM about space elevators and aliens that prevented nuclear war. Did I write a novel or a documentary? http://ow.ly/QZyCT http://ow.ly/QZyH2

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