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: Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey

Nothing Short of DyingFor the pure pleasure of uncomplicated, nonstop action, no thriller this year has come close to matching Erik Storey’s Nothing Short of Dying, the first in what promises to be an adrenaline-fuelled series starring Clyde Barr.

Barr is the latest in a long line of loner heroes with violent pasts that belie their good intentions. Fresh from a stint in a Juárez prison, Barr is determined to make a fresh start, free from the chaos that has punctuated his life. But a frantic phone call from his youngest sister, Jen, halts any plans to ride off into the sunset. Jen needs his help, and as Barr himself asserts – which is a touch on the nose – “nothing short of dying” will stop him from coming to her aid. Problem is, Barr has no idea who has her or where she is. And he embarks on a spree of beat-downs and shootings that put Jack Reacher’s dust-ups to shame. Clyde Barr is a one-man army, as competent with his fists as he is with a rifle or bow. The introduction of Allie – inadvertently drawn into Barr’s violent journey – adds some much-needed emotional depth, and a touch of requisite romance.

Storey brings the rugged outdoor terrain to life, and Barr’s adeptness to life in the wild distinguishes him from the urban-minded heroes that populate most novels in the genre. When we meet Barr, he’s camping in the wilderness, having hunted for his dinner the night before; and he’s a technophobe, adverse to telecommunications and society’s reliance on electronic devices. Need someone to track footprints? Clyde’s your man. Want him to access your phone’s GPS? Look elsewhere.

Nothing Short of Dying takes off at breakneck speed and doesn’t let up. There’s not much nuance, and though the plot moves at the speed of a bullet, it moves at the same trajectory from start to finish, and offers few genuine surprises or curve balls. But for readers seeking rock ’em sock ’em action, Erik Storey’s debut will surely satisfy. If the author is able to add a touch more stylistic flair in Barr’s second outing, we could be witnessing the launch of thriller fiction’s next big brand.

ISBN: 9781471146848
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2016
Country of Publication: United Kingdom