Father, thank you for wisdom which comes only from you. Thank you for people who use their gifts to honor you. Thank you for beauty in the land of the living. We're all desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I think it's essential when reviewing novels to base your opinions on the specific efforts of the author. Anne Patrick wrote a good romantic suspense in Out of the Darkness bringing her characters to life with stark personalities and appeal.
Alex (Alexandria) Michaels is one of the best FBI profilers, but a tragic incident which left her both devastated and somewhat handicapped causes her to clean out her desk and disappear by seeking a ride with a stranger (Royce McIntire) at a truck stop. As he attempts to find out why she needs transportation to points unknown, she willfully misleads him - including not telling him her real last name - in order to hatch a plan for her recovery and safety.
Through limited conversation during the ride, Alex asks if she can work for the truck driver at his home office for room and board until he finds a replacement for his absent secretary. He agrees and sets her up in an adjacent upstairs apartment on his ranch in the middle of nowhere. Over time, as she's establishing her new "career", shrieking nightmares wake Royce who comes to her aid. Without revealing the reason for the nightmares, Royce is patient but encourages her to talk about it. Her reluctance to do so works until the reason for them becomes unavoidable.
Having grown into enjoying the small town atmosphere, the country space of this new "home", and most importantly her genuine attraction to this man, she inevitably is forced to explain what has caused her tremendous pain and why she needs to help her old FBI team catch the man who's responsible for what she's endured.
Anne Patrick gives Alex a prickly personality, delivers on her grief and trauma, and demonstrates her ultimate courage and selflessness when faced with incredible danger. Royce is the perfect counterpart with his generally easy-going ways but he's all man when it comes down to her old team. We all know there are only so many plot points that can be engineered in mysteries and suspense, but this one makes it work with the characters and circumstances.
Out of the Darkness shows how a professional who goes through spirit-crushing trauma is able to finally climb out of that darkness and into the light of a new life. Faith issues are present, organic, and well-presented without being overbearing. If you're in the market for a romantic suspense, Out of the Darkness is a good one.
Father, please continue your blessings upon Anne's life and writing. Keep those stories coming that you have just for her to tell. Keep her safe and may she honor you in all she does. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Just then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
"Who touched me?" Jesus asked
When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."
But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me."
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don't bother the teacher any more."
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child's father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep."
They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
Here is the 5th chapter in my unfinished novel titled . . . in a love song.
How the only woman who could give him a hitch in his normal attitude and response to her could appear almost bashful in thanking him for putting up her new screen doors baffled him. But she did. He saw tears in her eyes as she inspected them. But she recovered quickly and almost teased him with her remark, “Whenever the right one catches you, you’ll make a fine husband, Mr. Rivers.” And then it was his turn to feel embarrassed.
He cleaned up and set on his way to The Tavern to enjoy Pet’s cooking even if it would be just a cheeseburger and fries. Who was he kidding? He hoped to feast on her pretty face and get a warm reception from her stealth façade. Of all the local information the guys had pumped into him in the short time he’d been here, not one of them had mentioned this pretty gal who worked behind the bar. There’d been plenty of chatter about some other women in town, like Leann, one of the checkers at the supermarket who apparently had a fondness for construction workers.
It was 2:30 when he walked in, the jukebox playing rock ‘n’ roll tunes from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Not as loud as last evening. The place had a healthy crowd for a Saturday afternoon with several tables occupied. He strode toward the bar and straddled a stool next to his coworker Keith who looked like a hangover danced in his head.
“Bud, you look like you shoulda left when I did,” Dale kidded.
Keith looked over with a sly smile after taking a sip of his tomato beer. “And miss all the fun?” His smile turned into a grin.
“Hmm. Yeah, hard to pass up a little fun, huh? Gotta pay the price, though. You know it ain’t free.”
“Never is, is it?” And he laughed a bit like that much movement hurt.
“Here ya go, Trouble. Hope it goes down easy cuz it won’t come up that way.” Pet turned to Dale after setting a plate full of sunny-side up eggs, hash browns, sausage, and toast in front of Keith. “What can I get for you?” Her smile was confident this afternoon.
“Cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke, please. Heavy on the onions.” He looked her in the eyes when he ordered, and she didn’t flinch.
“No reason not to,” he replied with a subtle smile. That comment got to her ever so slightly.
“Heavy on the onions it is then.” She turned to get his Coke and when she placed it in front of him, she said, “You got a name?”
“I’ve been called my fair share of them, but Dale Rivers is my given name.” He held out his hand to her.
“Patricia Edison. No relation.”
He smiled at her quip. Her grip was firm, and he didn’t let go for an extra beat. “Nice to meet you, Patricia.”
For that extra beat, her confidence wavered as it had last night. Her hand was soft, and it felt good in his. He let go. She disappeared into the kitchen.
“Whoa, dude. What’s up with that?” Keith seemed to have surfaced from his haze.
“Pet don’t talk to just anybody like that. She makes herself off limits to most everyone.”
“How come you guys never mentioned anything about her? You filled me in on all these other chicks around town but not her. Why?”
Keith stared at his eggs for a moment. “Pet’s different.” He took a forkful and shoved it in his mouth, chewed, and then downed a big swig of the red beer.
“She’s a Cadillac. Know what I mean? There’s some nice cars out there, but you know you got somethin’ special with a Cadillac.”
Dale could see Keith was dead serious. Respect in his tone. Keith kept eating, staring down at his food.
“Like an El Dorado?”
“Like a classic shiny red El Dorado only belonged to one owner its whole life.” Keith pushed his plate away and downed the rest of his drink. As he tugged his wallet out of his back pocket, he said, “Word of advice? Don’t go there. See ya Monday.” He put a twenty on the counter and walked out.
Dale turned slightly on his stool and watched him.
Father, for every word, for every inspiration, for every story that touches a heart: thank you. Apart from you, I can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Reflecting on how much I loved Order to Kill, at some point I suppose the Mitch Rapp Legacy must come to an end. I can't stand that thought. I love this character. He's the most epic personality in print and it's a true tribute to Kyle Mills that he's been able to pick up on the essence of Vince Flynn's incredible creation and extend the shelf life of Rapp. My hope is he finds the right woman and slips away with a mild cliffhanger ending many years from now.
Feel free to insert your thoughts . . .
Father, please continue to inspire Kyle Mills with the reality of the condition of this world. Bless his life as he uses the gift you've given him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Did you ever wonder why there was this desperation for "separation of church and state" which cannot be found in the Constitution? Christianity brings conviction for sins and plagues the conscience with a demand for separation of good and evil. This is definitely uncomfortable for those who rail against "religion", failing to realize that there is a distinct difference between religion and relationship with God. Those who insist on removing God from public view must do so to enable them to mesh their versions of good and evil and redefine all that is truly good into whatever they choose to make it. They can try to do this, but they will not succeed. The chasm between good and evil is eternal and doesn't depend on a human being's definition, inclination, desire, or intention. God defines it. Trying to redefine the two will never work. No matter how hard they try.
Father, thank you for defining good and evil. Thank you for salvation from sin. It runs in our blood, but yours is more powerful and can free us from our slavery to evil. Please forgive me for mine. I'm desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Few men on earth can equal the status of the American assassin Mitch Rapp. He's known and feared throughout the world in spy circles. The Russian assassin Grisha Azarov is given the dubious order to kill Rapp. Not the first to receive such an order, he wonders if he'll be the last. The Russian "president" Krupin has a plan, but he wants Rapp out of the way in order to complete it. His country is failing economically and there is serious restlessness among the wealthy oligarchs as to whether or not Krupin should remain in his lofty position. When his top assassin is lined up to dispose of Rapp and orchestrate his plan to return the oil business to Russia, Azarov has serious doubts concerning its execution.
After an unsuccessful and perhaps ill-advised jaunt to South Africa, Mitch Rapp and Scott Coleman reunite to attempt to locate some missing Pakistani nukes being randomly transported around that country. An intense firefight causes near tragedy, Rapp gets a glimpse of the mysterious Russian assassin in action while securing one of the nukes and is amazed at what he sees.
Back in the states an odd and cryptic surprise is discovered after tearing down the nuclear device. It has to be put back together and returned to Pakistan while Rapp and Irene Kennedy do their best to figure out who the assassin is and who exactly he was targeting, not to mention what it had to do with the nukes.
The story jumps back and forth between Rapp's mission in this confusing venture and Grisha Azarov's instructions from the arrogant Russian president. When Mitch and Irene figure out the plan, they have to hastily construct their own in a short period of time with no margin for error. And, as usual, Rapp's plan is an ad-libbed deviation.
Order to Kill is a page turner, Mitch Rapp is captured perfectly (one of my favorite passages is on page 51), he's feeling the loneliness in this life he's built, and enduring the pain of some of the ugly choices he has to make. The ending is terrific, reminding me of Consent to Kill but without as much sadness. Kyle Mills has met the challenge of continuing the Mitch Rapp legacy and succeeded with passion and accuracy. I believe Vince would be proud of his efforts.
Father, the greatest thing I can ask is for Kyle Mills to know you. Please continue to bless his life and his writing and watch over him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you don't torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
For Vince Flynn fans, The Survivor couldn't get here soon enough - but then there was also that underlying sense of dread. No one could be Vince Flynn. Would Mitch be Mitch? Irene, Irene? Stan Hurley? You get the idea. So it is with both some reservation and glee that I admit Kyle Mills took on a huge task in contracting to continue Vince's epic tales of Mitch Rapp, counterterrorism, the CIA, and killing bad guys, and, while not actually duplicating Vince's writing and voice, Kyle Mills came very close. Close enough to make the interminable wait for the next installment seem way too long - just like it did when Vince would release his latest Mitch Rapp novel.
The Survivor picks up where Vince's final book The Last Man left off. A rogue operative Joe Rickman, who Director Irene Kennedy describes as brilliant but troubled, is trying to destroy the CIA and Irene Kennedy from the grave. And Pakistan's new ISI director wants the information Rickman is dispatching from an encrypted email service via a law firm in Switzerland and will send his assistant anywhere he must to get it.
The storyline, complex, historical, loaded with information, reminds me of a few of Vince's 14 novels where it was necessary to do fill-in facts to accentuate why certain actions were required. Other characters, good and evil, are allowed to develop their misguided plans for the reader's purview. Although this is a method Vince used and Kyle does it well, the obvious strength and attraction in these thrillers is Mitch Rapp so when the story veers away from him for any length of time, occasionally it drags. Not badly and not for long.
Irene and Mitch must put significant pressure on their world-class hacker Marcus Dumond to find how, who, and from where the information is surfacing. The Pakistani's gained a head start under the new direction of the ISI, a man who's fooled most everyone, including the president of Pakistan, by his deferential act, but he's a ruthless killer who wants to bring down America and rule the world with Sharia Law.
Readers will mourn the loss of a favorite character, will follow Mitch and his team (Scott Coleman and friends) to Switzerland, Rome, Russia, and Pakistan in between brief stops at Langley. The pressure to obtain this list Rickman is exposing name by name, forces difficult operations with less planning than is satisfactory to both Rapp and Irene.
In The Survivor Mitch does some serious soul-searching, trying to evaluate his life at 44. He's tired of living in the past, in that sense of mourning, believing he can't revive the kind of life he experienced with his deceased wife Anna but wanting to somehow move forward. To exactly where he's unsure. He always has an exit strategy, but he's not even sure of it. The way Kyle captures Rapp's mental state rings true.
In The Survivor he's still the same Mitch Rapp, a little older, a little more impatient when patience was never his strong suit anyway. There's action, a familiar hated nemesis, despicable politicians, always a new enemy, and a lot of globetrotting.
Vince Flynn created the larger than life character of Mitch Rapp and put him in epic circumstances with authentic writing. No one did it better than Vince. He is missed.
KyleMills took on the gargantuan challenge and survived it! He captured the Rapp we've loved and continued the amazing portrait of Irene Kennedy. He's to be commended for his work on The Survivor. I look forward to his next effort to continue the legacy of Vince Flynn and to share in his grand telling of the CIA's deadliest operative Mitch Rapp.
****This is a rerun, the prelude to the coming review of Order to Kill****
Father, please continue to bless the writing of Kyle Mills, and please give Vince a hug from all of us who are devoted to the work he did. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I once wrote a final episode for the Magnum P.I. series. It wasn't anything like the real final episode. Mine was better. At least I liked it better. I know many have written stories for the Star Trekseries. I confess it's a lot of fun making scenes and putting together stories for ready-made characters I've come to know and love.
So I wonder what it's been like for Kyle Mills to continue the epic character of Mitch Rapp. While daunting and challenging, I'm sure he's having an exciting time renewing Mitch in dangerous circumstances, contemplating his aging body (though not old by any sense, just having suffered a lot of abuse over the years), his singleness and loneliness, his direct boss or handler Irene who he's come to love and trust even though they suffer through his occasional insubordination and frequent recklessness. I would've loved to help write one novel just to find the right woman for Rapp. I knew her in my mind's eye - she was perfect for him unlike the former women in his life.
There's a scene in Order to Kill on page 51 of Chapter 6 which captures Mitch Rapp exquisitely. Although I've said Kyle Mills has done a very good job of continuing Vince Flynn's legacy, this short scene proves Kyle has made Rapp his own. It's perfect and put a smile on my face.
So, Kyle Mills has essentially embraced his role as the author of meaningful fan fiction and so far has achieved success for those of us who felt the loss of the fabulous Vince Flynn deeply.
I'm taking my time with this one because I know it's going to be a long time before the next one . . . always too long.
Father, please continue to give Kyle Mills exactly what he needs to continue these meaningful stories. Help him in every way and bless his efforts to write the reality of who Mitch Rapp is. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
In Christian fiction a few years ago it was trending to write stories which alternated between the past and present. Susan Meissner did several novels in this style. I can't speak for general market fiction or which authors participated in this style or if it remained a solid trend. In The Girl in the GlassJames Hayman opted for this technique and managed to tell an interesting tale, perhaps my favorite of his, even though I don't really share any enthusiasm for this literary style.
Yes, the book contained bad language and, yes, a few explicit sexual encounters, but he didn't linger on them this time which was a definite improvement in spite of them - the few graphics unnecessary as usual. In the historical account two young lovers, an American artist studying in Paris (where else?) meets the daughter of the instructor of the Academy where he's enrolled and proceeds to fall headlong into love/lust with her. They marry and move to Maine where he assumes his role in his wealthy family business. His artistic talents left behind, she (Aimee) takes a lover, another artist, and their affair infiltrates her marriage. Her husband Edward threatens to never allow her to see their children again if she refuses to end it.
Swing forward to present day where one of the current Edward's two daughters happens to be the spitting image of her great, great grandmother, and named for her, is capsulized in a painting from yesteryear of the woman whose genes were passed on to her.
McCabe and Savage are called to the scene of the murder of a young woman and from there the plot thickens as they say. So many suspects, but one of them is soon found dead. To make the search even more difficult, they learn part of the history of her heritage and try to determine who else would've known it well enough to construct the murder scene.
Internally, McCabe is now "single" again and not handling it well. His daughter Casey is graduating from high school, and he knows she will be traveling to Brown University courtesy of his ex-wife's rich husband which is doubly hard for him to swallow since, once again, his ex has opted to make a prestigious business trip to London with her husband instead of honoring her promise to Casey to show up for her graduation.
Savage is perpetually single, unable to find the "it" guy, but is mildly interested in one of the suspects much to McCabe's dislike.
When Savage escapes serious injury in her pursuit of the real suspect, between McCabe and her, they finally are able to narrow down just who this guy is and proceed accordingly.
Between more murders, expected and unexpected, it's a messy case with an abundance of suspects. Police work, hunches, failures, and disappointments produce the desired end result with much debris left in its wake.
McCabe and Savage attempt to carry on with their personal lives after solving the case, but their options seem limited and unsatisfactory. Another good mystery with a unique touch. Leave out the profane and explicit material, and you've got a great story.
Father, only you know our hearts and can reach our souls. Please continue to pursue those who use your talent and bless them with the knowledge and beauty of knowing you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Father, please bless each one I've listed here. You know the ins and outs of their lives right now, exactly what they need. Please provide for their specific needs and continue to bless and protect each one. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.