(Reprinted from June 7th, 2010)
Although Mitch Rapp would prefer to have the President behind his escapades, Executive Power by Vince Flynn implicates that with or without it, certain events must happen to accomplish the things that keep the USA safe. Added to that are the particulars the executive branch would prefer not to know—especially when things go wrong but are solved in spite of them.
Here’s a prime example of Mitch’s philosophy (and mine):
Rapp didn’t know how she’d pulled it off, but she had. Kennedy had convinced the president to give his approval to the operation, or turn a blind eye. Either way it didn’t much matter to Rapp. He caught himself. That wasn’t entirely true. He did care. It was infinitely better if the president turned a blind eye to the Orion Team and their dark operations.
As far as the American people were concerned, Rapp honestly felt that the vast majority didn’t want to know what he was up to. America had been attacked. The country was at war, and war was ugly. They didn’t want to see the gruesome details of how it was fought. They didn’t start the war but they sure as hell didn’t want to lose it. They wanted someone like Mitch Rapp to take care of the dirty work. The chief problem, as always, lay with the politicians. [Chapter 15 of Executive Power by Vince Flynn]
In Executive Power Mitch learns there are some pejorative obstacles to overcome in being married to his reporter wife (Anna) after a blissful honeymoon where he is allowed to remain incommunicado. After returning, he is thrust into a hostage rescue and traitor eliminating fiasco in the Philippines where two Navy SEALS lost their lives because of politicians who couldn’t keep their mouths shut. When he’s given the go-ahead from his boss, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, and the President, the understanding is that Mitch will design, organize, and implement the Special Forces in the area plus employ his private group of retired SEALS to augment the mission.
Although the mission is successful, of all the men involved, Mitch is the only one sporting a bullet wound. In his rear end of all places. Returning home, he’s floundering with a whole new kind of fear about what to tell Anna, having promised he would no longer involve himself in the action. Furious with her husband for participating and getting shot, she manifests her fear in rage and punches him in the face. Fortunately Vince Flynn doesn’t spend too much time with his Anna character. If he did, I might have to stop reading or skip pages. I feel like popping her a good one right across the face for her spoiled insolence. She drives me nuts. But Mitch loves her and is devoted to her, so . . . I read on!
Coinciding with this crisis lurks the mysterious “David” and the decadent Saudi Prince Omar who pays David to execute individuals or groups of political figures. David’s goals revolve around securing a Palestinian State, but the prince’s goals are more dedicated to destroying Israel and exerting his status as the “should be” king of the Saudi government instead of his brother.
When the Palestinian ambassador is assassinated on the streets of New York, Kennedy, Rapp, and the President scramble to waylay their suspicions that the head of Mossad organized the hit. Shortly following this, another event rocks D.C. and Rapp’s favorite computer wiz spots something which establishes an identity and a connection to who is inflaming the political turmoil.
Because Rapp understands the mindset of an assassin, he has a grudging respect for the nearly invisible killer and figures out a plan for ending the series of events. After persuading the president to give him 12 hours to execute his plan, Rapp and his team of guys clean up the mess of Omar and restore the always tentative political peace once again.
I love reading these Vince Flynn novels, but I have to admit Executive Power is my least favorite so far simply because since Mitch Rapp drives and carries these stories, when he’s not prominently involved in the repartee and the action, I think the story flags. His wife Anna does nothing to endear me to her, and her temper tantrums nauseate and deter me from enjoying Mitch’s “happiness”. Irene Kennedy is by far a more interesting and valiant character and one I don’t mind spending pages reading about. Giving too much attention to peripheral characters detracts from the fascination and tension that Mitch inspires. Vince created this larger than life character, so anything less than his appearance on too many pages makes the reader want to skip ahead to find him.
God bless Vince Flynn. God bless those who serve in anonymity and who risk their lives to do the work that only a few can do. God bless America. In the Name of Jesus.