Review: Vince Flynn’s Enemy of the State – A Mitch Rapp Novel by Kyle Mills

enemy-of-the-state-9781471157752_hrWhen the CIA learns that the nephew of the King of Saudi Arabia is funding an impending ISIS attack on American soil, US President Josh Alexander finds himself unable to officially act. Nonetheless determined to retaliate, he calls upon legendary operative Mitch Rapp for a blacker-than-black mission to assassinate Prince Talal bin Musaid. If he accepts the mission, Rapp would need to cut all ties with the agency and his allies, and utilise the criminal contacts of his partner / lover Claudia to accomplish his objective. Failure would result in Rapp being disavowed, left to fend for himself. The safety blanket he has benefited from during his two decades as a counter-terrorism agent would be ripped out from under him. Rapp would be alone, and on the run, a target of worldwide intelligence services. You got it: he would be an — [insert audible gasp] — enemy of the state. Hardly a tantalising proposition, but this is Mitch Rapp we’re talking about, the equivalent of Britain’s James Bond, whose dedication to the protection of his country circumvents any concern for personal safety. Naturally he accepts the President’s clandestine mission.

 

Enemy of State is the sixteenth Mitch Rapp thriller, the third penned by Kyle Mills, who took over from Vince Flynn following the author’s death, and readers who’ve enjoyed the previous fifteen novels will find much to enjoy here. The action comes thick and fast, and while there’s never any doubt as to who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong, there’s always something thrilling about seeing a long-running protagonist cut loose and abandoned by his allies. Trouble is, that particular plot thread — an outcast Mitch Rapp — isn’t utilised to its fullest extent. The manhunt for Rapp could’ve — and in my opinion, should’ve — been prolonged, and it would’ve been exciting to see Rapp face up against former friends. Unfortunately that must remain the stuff of fan fiction. Instead, Rapp’s enemy status serves only to convolute his search for the prince; it plays an important factor in proceedings, of course, but it feels a tad under cooked.

 

Enemy of the State is good entertainment for readers with a penchant for fast-paced thrills, with enough evildoers left over to ensure Mitch Rapp’s return. Will satisfy fans —and newcomers, too.

 

ISBN: 9781471157752
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 7-Sep-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Review: Order to Kill by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills

“It’s a beautiful night and we have a cooler full of beer and a stolen A-bomb. It don’t get any better than that.”

9781471148293.jpgIf that sort of nonchalance about nuclear weapons doesn’t gel with your particular sensibilities, Order to Kill might not be the book for you. But if you’re looking for a lean, mean, action-packed geopolitical thriller, look no further. With his second Mitch Rapp novel, based on the late Vince Flynn’s take-no-bullshit, tough-as-nails CIA agent, Kyle Mills proves the series is in good hands.

Following on directly from the events of last year’s The Survivor, Mitch Rapp and his allies are tasked with keeping Pakistani nukes out of terrorists’ hands. But Russian President Maxim Vladimirovich is determined to use these nuclear weapons for his own nefarious purposes: destroying Middle Eastern oil fields to divert revenues to Russia. Naturally he assigns his most capable man for the job:  the super-talented assassin Grisha Azarov, who we’re reminded is every bit Rapp’s equal.

Order to Kill features several entertaining action scenes, all brutal and certain to get your adrenaline pumping. It’s visceral, but not overly gratuitous. Mitch Rapp is every bit the great American Hero, who refuses to conform to bureaucratic standards, even dodging a phone call with the President of the United States at one point. That said, there’re a couple of ludicrous moments when Mills overplays the whole tough guy thing; one that particularly grated (and this is a slight spoiler, so be warned) was Rapp throwing a high-ranking military official out of a helicopter because he disagreed over tactical matters. It would almost be laughable, if not for the novel’s high stakes. And that clearly wasn’t the author’s intent.

The final confrontation between Rapp and Azarov is brilliant; tense and dramatic, and plays out with a nice twist that belies the typical conventions of the genre. Sure, the overall plot plays out fairly predictably, but Order to Kill is a taut thriller, with the expected villainy, cliffhanger-ending chapters, and plenty of shootouts. So, precisely what Vince Flynn fans want from Mitch Rapp’s escapades. Kyle Mills is carrying on that tradition seamlessly.

ISBN: 9781471148309
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 11-Oct-2016
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Review: American Assassin by Vince Flynn

American AssassinAmerican Assassin is a prequel that didn’t need to be told.

Prior to this there had been nine novels in Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series, and over the course of those books, Rapp’s origin was succinctly illuminated. I never felt like any pieces of his origin were missing; never thought anything needed to be clarified, or desired to know the specifics of his training or the details of his first mission. Some things are better off unsaid. Prequels are dangerous things, in any medium. More often not, they fall flat. Unfortunately that’s the case with AMERICAN ASSASSIN. There are flickers of enjoyment throughout – Flynn’s adept when it comes to the action scenes – but this prequel lacks the excitement of his earlier works, and coupled with a meek plot and a litany of typographic errors, it’s impossible to whole-heartedly recommend. Indeed, I’d suggest skipping this entirely, and starting with TRANSFER OF POWER.

Let’s ignore the errors littered through the novel. There are plenty, that’s for certain – from simple spelling errors to characters appearing out of nowhere. Sections of AMERICA ASSASSIN read like a first draft in need of a strong editors pen. Flynn’s novel seems to have been short-changed in this department, and the novel is all the worst for it. Authors deserve better, but especially bestselling ones, whose names sell books. These mistakes grate as they accumulate, but could perhaps be overlooked if the narrative excelled.

It doesn’t.

The novel lacks the cohesion I’ve come to expect from Flynn. There’s really no need to delve into Rapp’s training, besides proving he’s an elite operatives, and shining the spotlight of his trainer, Stan Hurley’s, bad-assness. Rapp’s proven his brilliance over the course of nine novels – if anything, being so skilled prior to his training damages his authenticity. When the plot focuses on Rapp’s team tracking down elements responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie’s, the novel zings along. But all too often it grinds to a halt, as Flynn those in random elements, like the sole female character, Greta, who exists as one of the most artificial love interests I’ve ever read. She and Rapp share barely thirty pages together before they’re going at it. The whole relationship feels very trite. Still, as Flynn manoeuvres the various players integral to the plot, AMERICAN ASSASSIN builds to what threatens to be an exciting conclusion, but eventually fizzles out unsatisfactorily. No real shocks. No real surprises. I closed the novel not having hated the journey, but questioning why it needed to be told in the first place.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN isn’t all bad – it’s just not on the same level as (most) of its predecessors. The first published Rapp novel was exciting. TRANSFER OF POWER was brilliant. It is the perfect opener to a series. AMERICAN ASSASSIN doesn’t come close to matching it. Do yourself a favour; ignore the chronological reading list and read the Rapp series in order of publication.

ISBN: 9781849830348
Classification: Thriller / suspense
Format: Paperback
Pages: 528
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 26-May-2011
Country of Publication: United Kingdom