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.