Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
Mitch Rapp is a man on a mission
For months, Mitch has been working his way through a list of men responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing – bullet by bullet.
His next target – a Libyan diplomat – should be easy. Prone to drink and currently is Paris without a bodyguard, Rapp quickly tracks the man down and sends a bullet into his skull while he’s sleeping. But at the moment he squeezes the trigger, the door to the hotel room is kicked open and gunfire erupts around him.
A wounded Rapp escapes with his life, but when the news breaks in France he is a wanted man. His handlers have only one choice. Rapp has become a liability, and he must not be taken alive. Alone in Paris, on the run from the authorities and from his own employers, Mitch Rapp must prepare to fight for his life.
Kill Shot suffers the unenviable task of try to be all things to all people. It needs to please all the existing Mitch Rapp fans out there, as this is the twelfth book in the series I imagine that there are quite a few, as well as draw in new potential readers. I fall squarely into the second category. I’ve not read any of the other books, including the 1st prequel novel that precedes Kill Shot, so I’m blissfully ignorant of everything that has happened before and after the events that occur here. The good news, though, is that as this novel acts is a prequel to most of the previous eleven books it does actually serve as quite a good introduction to the murky life of a CIA sanctioned assassin.
The clandestine nature of espionage and assassination feature as a backdrop to the novel’s main narrative. The vast majority of the characters that the reader meets are directly involved in spying for their various governments, and it becomes obvious quite early on that all of them have what can only be described as ‘trust issues’. There are plenty of shady political machinations that will keep any reader’s attention.
At this early point in his career Mitch Rapp is driven by his desire for revenge. Events in his past fuel his anger toward all forms of terrorism. When it comes to his work he is like a machine, he lets nothing and no one stand in his way. He will complete his objectives at all costs.
There aren’t many moments in the novel where the reader gets to see Rapp’s human side, and I have to admit, I am a bit unsure about this choice. I can appreciate his motivations when it comes to his chosen profession but I didn’t empathise with him as much as I would have liked. In fairness, this decision may be entirely deliberate on the author’s part. It could well be the case that this is something that is more effectively explored in the other novels. I would be keen to see how Flynn marries together the two opposing sides of Rapp’s personality – the ruthless efficient killer, and the man.
This small qualm aside, I have to say that overall I did quite enjoy Kill Shot. The final chapters where the whole situation is finally cleared up really picks up the pace and is engrossing stuff. I would be interested in reading some of the other novels in the series to see how this prequel stacked up against them. I’m sure that some of the supporting characters are now well-established series favourites and I admit a certain amount of curiosity as to finding out which ones have survived in the cutthroat spy business.
Kill Shot is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now.