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Order To Kill
Mitch Rapp #13
Kyle Mills, Vince Flynn

Atria/Emily Bestler Books
9/ 11 / 2016 / ISBN 9781476783482

Reviewed by Elsie Cooper


Order To Kill by Kyle Mills is a vintage Vince Flynn book. It is a reminder of the early Rapp novels with Mitch going full circle between his personal and professional life. Readers who enjoyed the character and plot lines will think of Transfer Of Power and Consent To Kill. Kyle has done a top-notch job of blending the beloved characters of Irene Kennedy and Mitch Rapp with a high adventure, action packed plot.

This book brings back former Navy SEAL Scott Coleman who is working with Mitch trying to find Pakistani nukes so they do not fall into terrorist's hands. As the story progresses it becomes abundantly clear that Russia's President, Maxim Vladimirovich Krupin, is working with ISIS terrorists to destabilize the oil resources in the Middle East. The only way to find the culprits and stop these catastrophic consequences is for Mitch to pose as an American ISIS recruit in Iraq, while trying to find and eliminate his nemesis, Grisha Azarov.

Kyle Mills has come into his own. He expands the setting, introduces new characters, and yet is able to stay true to the characters and details created by Vince Flynn. Unlike last year where Mills was tasked with finishing a plot partially written by Vince, with this story he had full creative range and the final outcome is excellent. It is almost that he is one with the characters.

In this book Mitch harkens back to the person he was in the early Rapp books, no longer full or rage and living in a darkened world. Readers will now see Rapp as someone who realizes he is comfortable with his professional life and can possibly have a personal life as well. Kyle brings back Claudia, the woman who was married to Gould, the psychopath whose ambition was to kill the great Mitch Rapp. It is open ended if Claudia and Mitch will have some kind of relationship, but she is much more compatible than Anna, Mitch's late wife. Having been in the business herself she can participate in the activities and understands what Mitch's responsibilities must encompass.

Irene Kennedy continues to be an imperative player in the story in the role of the CIA Director, Mitch's confidante, and the person who is able to connect the dots. She is important in being the focal point for understanding the issues presented in the book. Mitch depends on her to make the hard decisions.

Kyle commented, "I see Irene as a pivotal piece in everything that happens in the books, even if sometimes she does not get as much ink as Mitch. I always think of her as the puppet master. By her own admission she is not involved but watches and waits until it becomes necessary for her to be involved."

Although Vince concentrated on one area of the world, the Middle East, Mills skillfully has expanded the geo-political domain. Still incorporating terrorism within the plots he also shows how the US cannot be one dimensional in confronting its enemies that include Jihadists, Russia, North Korea, and China. Russia is seen as a one-man show, where Krupin (Putin) is more concerned about his own power and influence, using the Oligarchs as a crime syndicate organization. Kyle shows the desperation of Krupin, how Russia is the poster child for income inequality, and is ridden with drugs.

Finding Russia as an interesting adversary, Kyle wanted to "draw upon the complexities of Cold War thriller books, having been a fan of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. The description in the book of how Krupin came to power comes straight out of how Putin came to power. In many ways Russia is a collapsing country with an economy smaller than Italys'. The minute he does not help the Oligarchs he is in trouble and can find a bullet in his head. There is a lot to draw upon for US thriller writers. The chessboard is getting very complicated. In this book I had Russia using ISIS as well as the dangers of the countries with nuclear arsenals. Putin uses them for his own purposes, and Pakistan is an unstable country, a failed state."

Fans of the legendary Vince Flynn were unsure if Kyle Mills could fill his shoes with the well-developed characters and plots. They loved and hated the month of October. Loved it because a new Mitch Rapp novel came out and hated it because they would have to wait another year for the next one. With Order To Kill, readers will get those same feelings. It appears the torch has been passed to Kyle Mills.

Reviewed 2016