Mitch Rapp IS The Survivor – Vince Flynn Tale by Kyle Mills

Ok, yes, I am a Mitch Rapp junkie, have been since 1999.  A few months ago I became an official Mitch Rapp Ambassador (via the Vince Flynn website and newsletter) and one perk of this taskforce was being able to receive an Advance Reader’s Edition of this latest Rapp installment, The Survivor, written by Kyle Mills.

Vince Flynn The Survivor by Kyle MillsAs a note, I did re-read The Last Man (2013), the final Rapp story penned by Vince Flynn before his untimely passing, as a bit of a comparative.  So, upfront…while this is not Flynn, may he rest in peace…IMO it is hard to tell the difference as Mills obviously immersed himself in all things Mitch Rapp.  He did extremely well keeping the style, pacing, flavor and feeling of Rapp in tact for the millions of die-hard fans who have enjoyed Rapp’s wild and heroic exploits over the years.

The Survivor does pick up where The Last Man left off, though you can read this one and not be lost.  The CIA must, at all costs, recover classified information that was compromised when Joe “Rick” Rickman, long-tenured CIA black ops master in Afghanistan, went rogue and staged his own kidnapping and beating.  He had really put the information and himself for sale to the Pakistanis.  Rapp thought that he had ended the threat when he killed Rickman.  Unfortunately, he was wrong.

From seemingly beyond the grave, a video from Rickman is delivered and reveals he knew way too much about way too many things he should not have known.  As it says on the Vince Flynn website: “Now it’s a deadly race as both the Pakistanis and the Americans search for Rickman’s accomplices and the information they are slowly leaking to the world.”  Uh-oh.

Mitch Rapp AmbassadorIf you have been a Flynn/Rapp fan, rest assured, you should not be disappointed with Kyle Mills now writing the adventures.  He expertly utilizes some of our favorite series characters in this intricately plotted thriller, including CIA Director Irene Kennedy, Rapp’s pal and former SEAL Team Six Commander Scott Coleman and Stan Hurley, Rapp’s trainer.

For those new to Rapp, the first published book about the counter-terrorism expert was Transfer of Power, in 1999, when I got hooked.  After many rousing adventures Flynn gave us two books with some back story, thus becoming the real start of Mitch Rapp and his series.  They are American Assassin and Kill Shot, published in 2011 and 2012, respectively.  All of the books are stand-alones but if you really like political thrillers and great action, you might want to start at the beginning and enjoy the ride, after you read this one, of course.

The Survivor will be released October 6, 2015.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Review: Command Authority by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney

Command Authority is a compelling read. It is the 14th novel comprising the Jack Ryan Sr./Jack Ryan Jr. franchise catalog, which began with The Hunt for Red October, published in 1984, and I have followed the series since that time.  This novel, Command Authority, as well as the previous two installments, were written by Mark Greaney, one of several authors Clancy has utilized to expand his franchise. Sadly, Clancy passed October 1, 2013. What this does to the Ryan escapades is anybody’s guess, but the estate may decide to follow what Ludlum’s has done with Jason Bourne and simply continue the series.

Command Authority Tom Clancy Mark GreaneyCommand Authority first takes us back 30 years, to a meeting between a GRU Special Forces Captain and a special member of the KGB.  The purpose of this meeting is not fully revealed until much later as events unfold, piece by piece.  Present day finds Jack Ryan Jr. in London working on not military or political but financial intelligence – and a case involving Russian intelligence and criminal elements that will ultimately lead him into the upcoming fray.  Meanwhile, Ryan Sr. meets with a former foe and now friend (a retired SVR chief) at the White House, who warns the president that the new Russian chief-of-state seeks to return his country to the days of old – just prior to dying due to being poisoned with a radioactive isotope.  In Moscow, a Croatian assassin takes the fall after pulling off a devastating bombing that takes out someone in addition to, and much more important than the “targeted” UK finance man (and former British agent) – the current head of the SVR.  Thus, the stage is set for another action-packed, political/espionage thriller in this series.

The new president of Russia has what most would call skeletons (literally) in his closet and he will do anything – everything – to keep those tucked away and out of sight as he continues executing his plans (and opposition) for what he envisions as Russia’s domination.  He will stop at nothing to achieve his agenda, including merging the separate FSB (internal) and SVR (foreign) intelligence agencies into one, under the leadership of his chosen man.  Meanwhile, in the UK,  Ryan Jr.’s investigation into the world of financial crimes gets him involved in some extremely close-calls that eventually leads him to reconnect with his team (the US off-the-books black ops group known as The Campus) after he uncovers a conflict that began three decades earlier, one that Ryan Sr. had investigated, when based in the UK as a CIA analyst.  This tale is detailed through the inter-woven backstory, and those events now threaten the world’s balance of power, unless Jr. can connect all the dots in time for his father, the president.  The action in the story shifts back and forth between the present, primarily in Russia and Ukraine (with ops planning in DC), and 30 years prior, in England, Switzerland and Germany.

Are there flaws?  Yes, a few.  One example is when the bad guys find out about and attempt to breech a CIA safe house in Sevastopol, Ukraine.  During the amount of time outlined in the story (between the start of the attack and the good guy’s escape) it seems highly unlikely that they could have survived, given the odds against them (manpower and fire power).  Does it take away from the story?  No.  And I have definitely read (and seen) much worse.

There is plenty of attention to detail, with outstanding narrative and it is, quite simply, highly entertaining.  From the technology and methods used by covert and black ops personnel, to the involvement and machinations of political, intelligence, financial and criminal factions, and everything in-between, this is a compelling read.  The writing kept leading me forward, page after page, into the plot and sub-plots and backstory.

I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys action, espionage, and political intrigue, with criminal elements and some high-tech thrown in for good measure, and, of course, to those who appreciate a good ole US vs. USSR tale.

Over For Now.

Main Street One