Order to Kill (Mitch Rapp #15), by Kyle Mills

Seven stars

Mills returns to extend the Mitch Rapp series, careful to keep the Vince Flynn voice and sentiment throughout the swift narrative. While Rapp has become use to being in control, he is dealt a curveball when outmanoeuvred in South Africa by a hired killer. Taken into custody, Rapp learns that there is a plot to intercept some warheads from Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and place them in the hands of ISIS. This will surely goad America into an already fluid war, with the stakes much higher and the enemy just as elusive. However, there is a further wrinkle that can make things a great deal more difficult; the Russian President is keen to pull the strings in the background, teaming up with ISIS to eliminate the Americans and reset the World Order. Working alongside Scott Coleman, a friend and colleague, Rapp is able to get his hands on one of the nukes, only to discover that it has been altered in such a way to substantiate the rumours of Russian involvement. Rapp must now work with his boss, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, not only to prevent the weapons falling into the wrong hands, but ensure those in charge of the plot are eliminated, all while trying to prevent a diplomatic disaster. Posing as a potential ISIS recruit, Rapp enters the region and battles his way into learning of the ultimate plan, which could devastate the world and shift power back at least three decades. At a crossroads, Rapp has no choice but to act, though his life could be the ransom paid for tranquility. A seamless continuation of the series that keeps Rapp as interesting as ever, while entertaining series fans who are still saddened by the loss of the great Vine Flynn.

I have long been a Vince Flynn fan and have enjoyed the Mitch Rapp series since its inception. I also admire Kyle Mills and the work he has done to continue these novels in such a way as to keep series regulars from feeling jilted or as if things had been hijacked by an author with a motive all their own. When authors die and their series are continued, it remains a real gamble as to whether a new author can take the reins and be successful. Mills handles the herculean task with aplomb and one might wonder if Flynn were still influencing the plotlines. Mills offers strong characters as he continues to develop the Rapp backstory, which is complex in and of itself. While there has been much that has jaded the CIA operative, Rapp continues to fight for his country and has the scars to prove it. Some who have read my other reviews within this genre will know that I have begun to bemoan the excessive flogging of Islamic terror cells and their attack on America as a means to offer an effective antagonist and keep terror on the front burner. That books still feature this idea drives me mad, though I will admit that Mills’s use of ISIS is not quite as bad. Mills pulls the story a little further with a new fork in the road, one that offers the Russians as renewed enemies of America. Teaming with ISIS, these two major enemies are working together to cripple the mighty American juggernaut, which is an impressive plot development, though one can only assume it will be short-lived. Mills uses the acerbic wit of Mitch Rapp and the ever-developing narrative to keep the reader hooked, while tossing the story into a seemingly believable direction with a nuclear arsenal on the line. I found myself connected and intrigued until the very end, though I must ask myself, how much does Mitch Rapp have left? Could we finally have seen his swan song?

Kudos, Mr. Mills for pulling together another stellar story as you guide the beloved Rapp through yet another adventure. I admire your work and know Vince Flynn would be proud.