The Reading Room, in which we review books, is a semi-regular feature of this blog and on “The Liberty Express” which airs on MancheterTV23 Mondays at 10 p.m., Thursdays at 9 p.m., and Sundays at 9 a.m. and noon (always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx). Fear not, while we haven’t been in the reading room for a while here, it’s not because I haven’t been reading. In fact, I’ve declared this to be “The Summer of Baseball” and I’ve devoured more than a dozen wonderful books on the national pasttime (including looks at specific years from 1908 to 1975' 1967 of course!). We’ll get to them later rather than sooner (maybe all at one) but today; it’s time for some escapist fiction at its finest.
Vince Flynn, friend of Glen Beck (not that there’s anything wrong with that), is probably never going to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature, but I discovered him long before Glen Beck ever did, and I’ve enjoyed all 13 of his action-packed thrillers featuring CIA tough guy and anti-terrorism expert Mitch Rapp.
Flynn seems to knock a new book out every nine months or so, and this latest is much better than recent entries, among his finest efforts ever.
“Kill Shot” is probably best described as a sequel to a prequel. Allow me to explain. Flynn introduced Mitch Rapp several years ago ("Term, Limits" as I recall), but in his last book, Flynn took us back to the very beginning of Rapp’s career, thus a prequel. “Kill Shot” is a great follow-up to that book which I considered the weakest in the series.
To say that Flynn’s characters are either pure evil or pure good, with very little shading of gray, might fail to do him justice. There’s always pure evil without a doubt; what else would you call terrorists who are out to kill thousands of innocent people? However, none of Flynn’s characters—not even the good guys like super killing machine Mitch Rapp--are totally without flaws. And this time, the bad guy (Victor) is not a terrorist at all but one of ours, an intriguing twist.
Midway through this book, I realized that it was so good precisely because even the good guys were often conflicted. This book is better than recent ones because he focuses more on the good guys than on the terrorists. Of course, some of the supposed good guys turn out to be really, really bad guys.
Flynn is at his best when he mixes macho action with political intrigue. There’s plenty of that in this book, and unlike some of his recent books in which we journey to some of the world’s true hell holes, we spend much of this book in the City of Lights. Mais oui, Paris.
The plot is convoluted, but it comes together nicely about three-quarters of the way through the book (386 pages). Although we’re left to wonder whatever becomes of the Secretary of State (good or bad?), all the other threads come together nicely.
There’s even the pre-requisite love scene (not overly graphic) between Rapp and a Swiss Miss who is essential to the plot as she is to the sexual undertones.
It’s that kind of book, no Pulitzer Prize for sure, but truth be told, I never miss a Vince Flynn book. Sadly like other confections, they don’t last long.
Don’t think you need to go back and read the other dozen books first; this stands up just fine on its own.
Author Flynn, I believe I heard, was ill; hopefully he’s better because I can hardly wait nine more months to see Rapp in action again. Undoubtedly, the Secretary of State will resurface.
Here’s a rather typical paragraph from the book (page 360--Stansfield in the CIA director of operations).
“Stansfield turned his eyes back to Rapp and Greta. It was not lost on him that Greta had reached out and was holding Rapp’s arm. They were a couple. More than that, they were in love. One of his best friends, one of the most powerful, civilized men he knew, was going to have to be told that his precious granddaughter was dating one of the most dangerous men on the planet. A man Stansfield had helped create. A man Stansfield had brought into the Ohlmeyer home. The news was not going to be well received.”
Good stuff; get well Vince Flynn.
Mitch Rapp needs you.