You have to admire Vince Flynn. He schlepped his way up from the bottom rung of the Kraft foods corporate ladder to become a literary superstar. He wanted to join the US Marine Corps, but was disqualified due to a series of concussions and convulsive seizures that he suffered growing up. Next, he tried to make a go of the commercial real estate business, whilst simultaneously tackling his persistent dyslexia by reading and writing his way through his handicap. Thus, in the early nineties, a writing career was born.
Flynn is quite the storyteller, specializing in spooktastic CIA orientated crime thrillers. He has written fourteen books and acted as story consultant on the fifth series of bizarro spy series 24. No doubt he would have written many more had he not died of stage three prostate cancer on June 19, 2013, age 47.
Strong conceptual stories were always the basis of Flynn’s work, along with his rough hewn hero, CIA counter Intelligence agent Mitch Rapp. To the uninitiated Rapp is a man more patriotic than a teary-eyed speech at the Republican party conference; more square-jawed than an army of Lego action figures, and more heavily armed than a Fourth of July cook out with the National Rifle Association.
Flynn quickly found he could write his way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, which is no mean achievement for a man as challenged as he was by the written word. There were problems however. Details always came second to the story with Flynn and his work is littered with the kind of howlers that even a junior sub editor would be able to spot at a hundred paces; many of them are so unintentionally hilarious one wonders at times what his publishers were doing whilst Flynn was sending them his bestselling manuscripts.
Naturally, Act of Treason, the tenth Mitch Rapp book is no exception when it comes to such howlers, we are told that, “Great spies remember faces shoes and pants. Things that are hard to change.” We are told “She hated shiny shoes, so she wore patent ones.” And we also learn that Mitch, “Catalogues the actions of all around him—even those he cannot see.” All charming nonsense of course, the kind of thing “intellectuals” and aficionados of the written word will get all sniffy about. But so what, who cares, when you are being read by Presidents, heads of state and Intelligence professionals the world over… End of aisle crime thrillers—if James Paterson can do it any one can right? [cof…]
No doubt Flynn, were he able to respond to such criticism, would pay it short-shrift, he was after all fast pals with the legendary fact-mangler and conspiracy theorist Glen Beck and appeared many times on his show. But for a man who aspired to become the next Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy, his poor research in the fields of military hardware is unforgiveable. He tells us for instance that Semtex is Russian. It was of course developed and manufactured by Stanislav Brebera at VCHZ Synthesia, Czechoslovakia. But in these uninformed times, Crimezine supposes that the Czech Republic is as near Russia as damn it, so what is the big fuss anyway?
As you might expect Mitch Rapp gives a brutal kicking to any and all enemies of the United States—Muslims, Commies, Liberals. At times the physical drubbing is switched out for a no less subtle philosophical approach. In Act of Treason all the Russians are inept drunks who “stink of cigarettes”. Liberals are “Birkenstock wearing Grateful Dead Fans.” And, the brave people of Croatia have had their country ruined twice, once by Russians, once by the Muslims. No mention of the Nazis here, but no doubt Mitch Rapp would have kicked their collective asses as well—he is after all the modern day Captain America. It must be a real disappointment for the CIA that they do not have more operatives like him, rather than the nerdy Putin suckling traitor Edward Snowdon. [Chortle.]
So, if you are looking for a semi-literate poolside read this summer that accelerates away from your fingers like a hillbilly pick up truck full of guns and moonshine, stay away from the Mind Body and Spirit section of your local bookstore, grab a fistful of Flynn’s and wear your Ted Nugent T-shirt with pride.
[Not recommended for Commies, Muslims, Liberals or Grateful Dead fans.]
Oh, and one last word of advice, 500lbs of high-explosive is enough to blow up four industrial chimneys, it would create a hole big enough for an entire presidential convoy, so a shaped charge wouldn’t really be necessary would it? Tsk—these Croatians—Professional assassins just ain’t what they used to be, but what do you expect for a measly million dollars?
Chronological Order Of The Mitch Rapp Storyline
American Assassin (2010)
Kill Shot (February 2012)
Transfer of Power (1999)
The Third Option (2000
Separation of Power (2001)
Executive Power (2002
Memorial Day (2004)
Consent to Kill (2005)
Act of Treason (2006)
Protect and Defend (2007)
Extreme Measures (2008)
Pursuit of Honor (2009)
The Last Man (November 13, 2012)
The Survivor (Fall 2013)