Enemy at the Gates (Mitch Rapp #20), by Kyle Mills

Eight stars

In a series that is so full of action, Kyle Mills brings Mitch Rapp back for another sensational story. Having taken over with the passing of Vince Flynn, Mills had big shoes to fill, but has done a sensational job continuing this series yet again. When the world’s richest man is threatened, Rapp is sent by a new president to protect him, as well as learn who is leaking intelligence from the CIA. It will be one of the most harrowing missions Rapp has had to face, forcing him to wonder if he is ready to call it quits once and for all. Another winner that has me realising that there are some authors who know how to pick up the thread of a series and not ruin its momentum.

With the election of a new president, America is in for a sobering future. Anthony Cook has his own ideas on how to run things and does not allow others to shape his opinions. This includes well-established CIA Director Irene Kennedy or her prized operative, Mitch Rapp. Both have been whispered about through the hallowed halls of the White House, but Cook is ready to stop that and show that he holds all the power.

Kennedy brings some startling concerns to the president, that there is someone within the Agency scouring through sensitive intel and providing it to America’s enemies. The crux of the data leaks relate to Nicholas Ward, the world’s richest man. His work in the pharmaceutical field could change the lives of many, but if he falls into the wrong hands, there could be serious repercussions. President Cook agrees and allows Mitch Rapp to head out, in hopes of protecting Ward on the other side of the world.

In Uganda, Rapp is tasked with finding and keeping Ward out of harm’s way. However, there will be issues, as a ruthless warlord has his eye on the man and all that he could bring in the form of riches. Rapp will have to struggle through unfamiliar terrain to protect Ward and get to the bottom of what has been a secret laboratory that possesses Ward’s scientific work, all while remaining off the radar.

With no time to lose, Rapp must stay one step ahead and work with his skeleton crew, all while remaining in the shadows. Kennedy is relying on him, though it will be Rapp’s own intuition that propels him forward in this mission. No one is safe, least of all those who are not used to the tactics of cutthroat child soldiers in the jungles of Africa. Will Rapp finally realise that it is time to walk away, or does someone have a more drastic means by which to end Rapp’s career? A chilling story that keeps the reader guessing throughout.

I’ve enjoyed the Mitch Rapp series from the beginning and my curiosity has never waned. When Vince Flynn passed on, I was sure things would come to an abrupt halt, but Kyle Mills was able to take over the reins and keep things moving. He has done a marvellous job at seamlessly creating a new tangent in the series without losing the flavour that Flynn brought to his thrillers. While Rapp has surely aged and become more of a family man (unheard of, usually), there is still a lot of spark left. I have no complaints!

Rapp continues to dazzle in this piece, proving that he is both a force to be reckoned with and a highly entertaining character. His backstory long ago faded into the horizon, but he continues to develop effectively, including a makeshift family that only adds to his worry. Rapp proves to be gritty and soft hearted at the same time, though his questioning of missions and decisions has never waned. It will be interesting to see where the series will go from here, though I am sure Mills has some interesting choices to make before long.

In a genre so full of rough and tumble characters, Mills has to differentiate Mitch Rapp from many of the others who are covertly out there saving the world. He has done so, using strong writing and a great narrative to keep the reader intrigued throughout the process. Unique settings and strong characters help to keep the reader coming back, as well as utilising great character backstories throughout the process. While the series has lasted many years, one can only wonder where Kyle Mills will take it, or if it is time to branch off. I am eager to see what’s next or how revelations within this story will impact future Rapp publications.

Kudos, Mr. Mills, for another great piece. I am eager to see where you will take us in the coming years!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Total Power (Mitch Rapp #17), by Kyle Mills

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Kyle Mills, and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Kyle Mills continues to impress as he extends the series first created by Vince Flynn. Taking the terror threat to American soil, Mitch Rapp is forced to work against the clock with a weapon few would likely have considered, against a terrorist who holds all the cards. When whispers of a new ISIS threat reaches Mitch Rapp, he and his team slink off to Spain to intercept those who are said to be responsible. Back in Washington, a congressional committee receives a detailed report from the Department of Energy, outlining the ramifications of a complete takeover of the power grid system and a request for additional money to prevent this. While many scoff at the possibility, someone in the shadows has been orchestrating just such an act and is prepared to flip the proverbial switch. When Rapp and his team complete what they hope will be a strong delay tactic for any local strike, they soon learn the sleight of hand has failed. A secondary cell is at work to begin knocking the power grid offline, which could take years to fix and leave the country completely without power. This would not only mean use of candles and generators, but also the need to scour for food, petrol, and even basic plumbing. Americans would surely not survive long after losing this essential part of their lives. As the power goes out on Christmas Day, panic ensues and Rapp is sent in to find the culprit and determine how to fix this. As a Russian operative seeks answers as well, she knows that she will be hunted down, knowing the person behind the entire operation. Things take a nasty turn as the temperature drops and Rapp must race to procure a set of codes to bring things back on-line, or wait like the rest of the country to die a horrible death. Thought-provoking and chilling in equal measure, Mills has certainly outdone himself with this piece. Recommended to those who have long enjoyed the Mitch Rapp series, as well as readers who like terror thrillers with a unique perspective.

Having long enjoyed Mitch Rapp’s adventures, I had hoped that there would be another waiting for me in this book. Kyle Mills did not disappoint at all, choosing something that resonates closer to home and proves to be even more destructive. Mitch Rapp is back in the driver’s seat, serving as a protagonist without humour or patience. He has lived a long life of protecting his country and it is time to do it again. Seeking a quieter life, the reader sees some of his personal life coming together, though there is always the rough exterior that serves as a protective shell. Rapp is here to do a job and that’s what he will do, leaving much character development and backstory to others. The handful of secondary characters serve the story well, offering insights not only into plot development, but also the intricacies of such a unique (and horrific) terror plot. The reader can see how all the perspectives come together, creating a strong story that still has a sense of realistic portrayal. The story itself was quite strong and held my attention throughout. I enjoyed the descriptions of the fallout from power loss and how America (and parts of Canada, connected to the grid) would be completely devastated. Mills has surely done his research and keeps the story on point, sending chills up the spines of those readers who choose to personalise what they read. As the Rapp series continues to inch along and there is surely some discussion about how to tie things off, Mills offers new life to a character who has seen and done most everything. I’m eager to see what transpires in the next few years and how this series will evolve or come to a solid conclusion.

Kudos, Mr Mills, for a winner in the midst of a busy series. I hope you have a few more ideas, as I am always eager to see what Mitch Rapp will discover next.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Lethal Agent (Mitch Rapp #18), by Kyle Mills

Eight stars

The latest novel in the Mitch Rapp series will leave long-time fans with a question or two, while newer recruits may be ready to dive right in. This is one of those ‘take-over’ series, to which I will refer later in the review. Such a series is not everyone’s cup of tea, putting the caliber of the overall product in jeopardy. When a former Saudi intelligence agent finds his way into Iraq and seeks to impress the ISIS hierarchy, Mitch Rapp is waiting to exterminate the man. However, Sayid Halabi did not get to where he was with dumb luck, evading capture and death, two marks against Rapp. While he was one of the CIA’s best former operatives, he now serves as a private contractor. Sneaking into Yemen, Halabi has plans to create a new weapon that will bring America to its knees, literally. He works with a handful of brilliant minds and uses a ruthlessness fuelled by hatred to get the weapons program on track. Back in the US, a heated primary season has begun for the American presidency, with one contender way ahead. It would seem that the CIA and its antics will soon find their way onto the chopping block, if changes are not made. Rapp is sent into Yemen to track down Halabi, only to discover the bioweapon that is in the making. An odd partnership with a Mexican drug cartel is what ISIS will need to bring their plan to fruition and Rapp is there to help stop it. Called back to handle the domestic end of things, Rapp flexes some muscle and tries weapon’s entry into the US, killing a few men on the ground in the ensuing fight. News of this leaks up the chain of command, putting Rapp and his boss, CIA Director Irene Kennedy, in the crosshairs of the Intelligence community and a bloodthirsty presidential candidate. While Rapp knows that he can be effective, without the outright protection of the CIA and Kennedy, he will have to make some choices that could turn out to be detrimental to all involved. Terror does not take a break when its greatest enemy is down and out, so something will soon have to give. One can only hope it is not America’s desire for domestic tranquility. An interesting novel that adds to the continuation of the series, which will surely captivate some and leave others wondering what’s next. Recommended to those who revel in terrorism thrillers and the reader who has followed Rapp through this long and bone-breaking journey.

I have enjoyed much of what Kyle Mills did when he took over the Mitch Rapp series, after the premature death of its creator, Vince Flynn. There is a certain sharpness to the writing and the style that keeps the reader wanting to know more. Rapp has long since abandoned the need for character development and he is so completely divorced from personal backstory that it is all the blood and grit before him that propels the story forward. Keen to keep his country safe, Rapp now has to manage working on the outside of official CIA circles, which means fewer chances for protection and more opportunity for capture or abandonment. Other characters in the story help push Rapp forward, be it in trying to protect him on the sly or seeking to have him hunted down and killed for the betterment of all. These characters work well the imbue the narrative with something exciting, making the story more than shooting and bombing on the other side of the world. The narrative remains well-paced and Mills keeps the Vince Flynn flavour to the writing, which has never been an issue. However, as I have mentioned before, the transition from one author to another brings about some inherent issues. Mills can sometimes stray away from where Flynn usually took things, but the current author is also shackled with some of the choices made by the series creator. (These books are not like a soap opera, where characters and plot lines can be altered four novels later, having people rise from the dead in a mistaken identity foible.) In reading how Mills depicts Mitch Rapp and the overall theme of the book, one can wonder if bones and joints are getting sore, if the lack of protection by his own country is becoming obvious, and if it might be time to put an end to the entire series and let anyone left sip drinks by a poolside. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the series and this was a great book, but all good things must come to an end when they lack the robustness fans have come to expect. Then again, I am simply a reviewer.

Kudos, Mr. Mills, for another great book in the series. I keep telling myself, I need to read some of your earlier work to see if it keeps me as connected to you.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Red War (Mitch Rapp #17), by Kyle Mills

Seven stars

Kyle Mills is back with another of Vince Flynn’s classic novels of espionage, where Mitch Rapp finds himself in the middle of yet another international skirmish. After an attack on a prominent Russian in Central America, Rapp and those high-up in the CIA take notice, sure the Russian Government is involved. While they ponder how to handle this, Rapp is left to wonder what else Moscow might be plotting. Little known to most, the current Russian President is ill, terminally so. In what might be his last act of aggression, the president is convinced of an attack on some of his former satellite states, those in the Baltic that have since joined NATO. Sure that this will bring the Americans into yet another bloody war, the Russians begin to maneuver. Rapp and his team posit what might be going on, though many of the military forces of those countries that are potential targets remain unconvinced. It is a race against time and the two re-emerging superpowers may have one last stand-off. For one, it’s all in with nothing to lose. For the other, the world watches, as strategic force serves as a restraining deterrent. Mills does well to continue this series and takes readers on another spellbinding ride through international politics and espionage. Recommended for those who love the work Vince Flynn did before his premature death.

Since taking over the Mitch Rapp series, Mills has done well to promote a strong continuity when it comes to storylines, characters, and overall plot. That is rare, as I have come to see in other series taken over by new authors, who always like to establish their own control and usually leave the series reader deflated. Mitch Rapp remains a highly intriguing character, with his penchant for off-hand jokes, while offering a strong focus when work requires it. He is gritty, but also compassionate and keeps the reader liking this mix, for the most part. I cannot help but wonder if it is almost time for Rapp to switch to another role, thinking his body has taken enough beatings. That said, Bond is still around all these years later, right? The other characters, regulars and new faces, prove to push the story in interesting directions, with a focus on Russia and a political push towards supremacy again. The story is one that I have actually seen recently in another espionage series I read, where Russia is trying to erode the power of NATO through some of its former satellite countries. Funny enough, this may prove to be the new theme in this genre, which is nice after too many years of ISIS battles have surely drawn the ire of the genre reader. I am curious to see what else Mills has in store for this series, as there is surely much that could be developed, though I am also sure Rapp could retire and live a peaceful life once and for all. However, we all know Rapp is not the kind of guy to sit on the porch, sipping sweet tea!

Kudos, Mr. Mills, for another strong book. While not my favourite of your books in this series, it is sure to get others talking and wondering.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons