(Reprinted from February 13th, 2012)
The New York Times multiple bestselling novels by Vince Flynn give the contemporary thriller readers an informed and realistic look at the world of assassins and espionage. No one does it any better than Vince Flynn. Kill Shot is the latest in the Mitch Rapp series, the second prequel following American Assassin. Vince has said in a few of the interviews he's done for this novel that he wanted to expose the loneliness and isolation that an individual in Mitch's profession faces. He nails his objective with great flair in Kill Shot, a novel that moves quickly to the final page.
A young Mitch Rapp has been turned loose to eliminate a list of terrorists in multiple locations around the world. His next assignment is in Paris, France, and as he scopes out the target, the job looks textbook. He takes his time to make sure of every detail because his attention to precision is what makes him the best at what he does.When everything is in place, it's time to move on the target, but something feels off. It's an intangible that resonates in his gut but nowhere else. He proceeds, completes his mission, and as he's about to exit the hotel room, he's ambushed by men with automatic weapons spraying every inch of the suite. His incredible skill at assessing the attack is the only reason he escapes and not without damage as one bullet hits and exits through his left shoulder.
Mitch Rapp no longer knows who he can trust. This last hit erupted in an incredible mess and Paris law enforcement is all over it. A DGSE (the French CIA) agent appears on the scene and a side plot is injected into the story. Mitch does what he's been trained to do when things go horribly wrong, but he delays calling his handler Irene Kennedy because he's beginning to wonder if even she is trustworthy. When he decides to call, he exposes the prejudiced assumptions being made about the situation as errant and conspiratorial against him, insisting he was set up.
When a team is dispensed to Paris to find Mitch, he's not sure a "kill order" hasn't been sent along with them. The man who trained him (Stan Hurley) has misjudged him from the beginning and one of Hurley's top guys ("Victor") hates Mitch and wants him dead. Mixed in with all of this is a Monsignor who's an elderly spy, Mitch's gorgeous girlfriend Greta, a British MI6 friend of the acting Director of the CIA (Thomas Stansfield), some jihadists, and a few crooked politicians on both sides of the pond.
If you want genuine thrillers with a larger than life hero in Mitch Rapp, Vince Flynn's novels should be next on your reading list. The importance and significance of the CIA with its successes and failures is never diminished in Vince's novels. The positions of political, law enforcement, espionage, and military types get honest portrayals and accurate assessments in characters of all kinds. If you get uptight about "head-hopping" in writing styles, Vince's approach might bug you, but I find it seamless and easy to follow.
If I had to fault the novel, I'd make the point that Mitch Rapp's character makes these stories, and a fair amount of this novel is partitioned off to those characters who want Mitch's head. It's not a big problem because it heightens the battle waged between the good and bad guys in the same professions and exposes the lusts for power, wealth, and dominance.
If you're squeamish about violence or uncomfortable with varying degrees of cussing, you'll be overlooking some valuable, yes, even meaningful, stories in Vince Flynn's novels. Kill Shot focuses on the isolation of an assassin who methodically takes care of the most evil terrorists in the world. His meticulous skills, extreme accuracy, and his personal moral code require him to avoid non-combatants at all costs where and when it's possible.
American Assassin and Kill Shot have taken us back to the young Mitch Rapp to show us how he became the elite assassin of Vince's later books. His next Mitch Rapp novel will pick up in time after Pursuit of Honor, bringing his readers back to the present in Rapp's life. There's no contemporary writer I can recommend more in this particular genre than Vince Flynn.
God, you've brought Vince through tremendous pain, physical and emotional suffering, and you've protected him along the way. I pray you would bring him back to full strength and provide complete healing. Continue to lead him in all that he does and in the stories he's born to tell. Watch over him with your protective hands, I pray. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.