Vince Flynn ushered in his counter-terrorism hero, Mitch Rapp, in the late 1990s and never looked back. His Mitch Rapp political thrillers are reliable best-sellers, and even after Flynn died far too young at age 47, the series continues through author Kyle Mills, who has done incredibly well with big shoes to fill. The Rapp character was finally brought to big screen in 2017 with American Assassin, an adaption of Flynn’s bestselling novel of the same name.
Here’s our take on the best Vince Flynn novels:
#1 – American Assassin
Here, we get a Mitch Rapp prequel – essentially the story of how Rapp was trained and other events leading up to the Beruit Embassy bombing of 1983. There are scenes featuring Rapp and a psychologist that have the potential to flesh out Rapp’s character, during which Rapp has the opportunity to define patriotism, revenue, retribution, and more.
Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world . . . and then tragedy struck.
Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protégée, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command—men who do not exist.
#2 – Enemy of the State (Kyle Mills)
After 9/11, the United States made one of the most secretive and dangerous deals in its history. The evidence against the powerful Saudis who coordinated the attack would be buried. In return, King Faisal would promise to keep the oil flowing and deal with the conspirators in his midst.
When the king’s own nephew is discovered funding ISIS, the president suspects that the Saudis never intended to live up to their agreement. He decides that the royalty needs to be sent a message and that Mitch Rapp is just the man to deliver it. The catch? America can’t be seen moving against an ally. Rapp will be on his own. Forced to make a decision that will change his life forever, Rapp quits the CIA and assembles a group of independent contractors to help him complete the mission.
They’ve barely begun unraveling the connections between the Saudi government and ISIS when the brilliant new head of the intelligence directorate discovers their efforts. With Rapp getting too close, he threatens to go public with the details of the post-9/11 agreement between the two countries.
Facing an international incident that could end his political career, the President orders America’s intelligence agencies to join the Saudis’ effort to hunt the former CIA man down.
Rapp, supported only by a team of mercenaries with dubious allegiances, finds himself at the center of the most elaborate manhunt in history. It’s only a matter of time before he’s caught or killed. Will it be enough to turn the tables on the Saudis and clear his name?
You already know the answer to that question. Still, the journey is well worth taking. Read it.
#3 – Transfer of Power
On a busy Washington morning, amid the shuffle of tourists and the brisk rush of government officials, the stately calm of the White House is shattered in a hail of gunfire. A group of terrorists has descended on the Executive Mansion, and gained access by means of a violent massacre that has left dozens of innocent bystanders murdered. Through the quick actions of the Secret Service, the president is evacuated to his underground bunker, but not before almost one hundred hostages are taken.
While the politicians and the military leaders argue over how to negotiate with the terrorists, one man is sent in to break through the barrage of panicked responses and political agendas surrounding the chaotic crisis. Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, makes his way into the White House and soon discovers that the president is not as safe as Washington’s power elite had thought. Moving stealthily among the corridors and secret passageways of the White House, stepping terrifyingly close to the enemy, Rapp scrambles to save the hostages before the terrorists can extract the president from the safety of his bunker. In a race against time, Rapp makes a chilling discovery that could rock Washington to its core: someone within his own government is maneuvering in hopes that his rescue attempt will fail.
#4 – Memorial Day
This entry features Flynn at his best, illustrating in vivid detail how a nuclear weapon might be smuggled into the U.S., and plans to detonate it during Memorial Day celebrations in Washington D.C. Rapp is in top form here, second guessing even the President in convincing manner to ensure that America can sleep well at night.
Fearless counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp is called upon to fight against the world’s most deadly terrorists in this harrowing political thriller by New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn.
It’s just seven days before Memorial Day, and the nation’s capital is buzzing with last-minute preparations for the unveiling of the magnificent new memorial honoring the men and women who fought in World War II. Despite the hopeful energy of the city, Mitch Rapp senses trouble. A spike in CIA intelligence has pointed to a major terrorist attack on the United States. Now it’s up to Rapp to pull out all the stops.
#4 – Consent to Kill
This Rapp outing features Flynn’s crispest writing to date, made all that much more intriguing by the 20 million dollar bounty put on Rapp’s head that makes him the hunted rather than the hunted. Not for long, however, as Rapp goes on the offensive. Even hardcore Rapp haters may find this one irresistible.
For years, Mitch Rapp’s bold actions have saved the lives of countless Americans. He has killed with impunity, tortured to avert disaster, and shown he will do whatever it takes to prevent terrorists from fulfilling their bloody wishes. His battles for peace and freedom have made him a hero to many, and an enemy to countless more. In the tangled, duplicitous world of espionage, there are those, even among America’s allies, who want to see Mitch Rapp eliminated. They have decided the time has come.
Now, the powerful father of a dead terrorist demands vengeance in its simplest form — an eye for an eye, and Rapp instantly becomes the target of an international conspiracy. This time, he must use all of his vigilance and determination to save himself before he can turn his fury on those who have dared to betray him.
#5 – Kill Shot
With each swift and untraceable kill, the tangled network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians in the Pan Am Lockerbie attack become increasingly aware that someone is hunting them.
Rapp is given his next target, and finds the man asleep in his bed in Paris.
In the split second it takes the bullet to leave Rapp’s silenced pistol, the trap is sprung and he finds himself in the fight of his life.
#6 – The Last Man
Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp’s experience and nose for the truth make him wonder if something even more sinister isn’t afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs.
Rapp, however, isn’t the only one looking for Rickman. The FBI is too, and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re less concerned with finding Rickman than placing the blame on Rapp.
With CIA operations in crisis, Rapp must be as ruthless and deceitful as his enemies if he has any hope of finding Rickman and completing his mission. But with elements within his own government working against both him and American interests, will Rapp be stopped dead before he can succeed?
#7 – The Survivor (Kyle Mills)
Joseph “Rick” Rickman, former boy wonder at the CIA, stole a massive amount of top secret and hugely compromising intel concerning classified operations all over the world, offering it (and himself) to the Pakistani secret forces. Only his plans went awry when CIA director Irene Kennedy sent Mitch Rapp to hunt him down. It turns out that killing Rickman didn’t solve anything—in fact, the nightmare is only intensifying. Rickman stored the potentially devastating data (CIA assets, operatives, agents) somewhere only he knew, and somehow, from beyond the grave, he still poses a mortal threat to America.
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. Will Rapp outrun and outthink his enemies, or will the Pakistanis find it first and hold America hostage to their dream of becoming the world’s new nuclear superpower?