Of The State Kyle Mills has found his groove as he nailed
down the characters created by Vince Flynn. As other thriller
authors pivoted away from terrorism, Mitch Rapp, Dr. Irene
Kennedy, and company continue to keep America safe by thwarting
As in The Third Option, this plot has Mitch Rapp going somewhat
rogue after being asked by the President to perform a mission
that is completely off the books. He must track down, interrogate,
and kill members of the Saudi royal family who appear to be
working with ISIS. Although Irene knows about it she and Mitch
realize this must be a completely black ops mission; thus,
his resignation from the CIA. The investigation discovered
Aali Nassar, Irene’s Saudi counterpart, promising to
support America, while secretly in charge of the ISIS financing
and eyeing the chance to overtake the country’s government
once King Faisal dies. Nassar frames Mitch giving him an excuse
to hunt down the one man who might foil his plan to fund ISIS
and bring about a Middle East superpower to threaten the US.
He gets the US President to agree to have FBI Agent Joel Wilson
work with him to find Mitch.
The action never stops as Mitch tries to keep one step ahead
of his pursuers and to expose Nassar for what he truly is
a covert terrorist. To help Mitch, Mills has brought back
some old familiar faces, while giving others a backseat. The
character Dr. Irene Kennedy is central to any book. Mills
realizes no Mitch Rapp book can succeed without her dominant
presence. The scenes with her are a pivotal piece of the plot.
Even a few pages speak of Irene’s son Tommy.
Mills describes her as “a realist, a philosopher of
sorts, someone clear eyed and a student of human nature. She
is always in the book, just off the pages. 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. She is seen as an intellectual who
makes decisions based not on her gut, but her head.”
might remember Joel Wilson from The Last Man where
he became Mitch’s nemesis. As the deputy director of
counterintelligence he accused Mitch of stealing. After being
proved wrong Wilson lost that position, and he is now all
too happy to work with Nassar while seeking revenge. Because
Mitch needs a team to work with and help him confront the
bad guys, he enlists the help of Donatella Rahn, his onetime
lover, Grisha Azarov, his adversary now a peer, and Kent Black,
a former Ranger sniper.
The logistics leader of the team is Claudia Gould who has
both a professional and intimate relationship with Mitch.
Because she has a six-year-old child, Anna when at home, Mitch
gets to play dad. These scenes are a welcome relief and venture
back to the first books when Vince Flynn would include some
of the character’s personal life. What Mills has brilliantly
accomplished is the humanizing of Mitch. It is interesting
to see the two sides of Rapp, a take charge, non-nonsense
patriot, a take-no-prisoners’ guy, while acquiescing
to Claudia at home.
Mills hopes to continue to have Claudia as a major character.
“She is not the goody character like Anna. Plus she
could be a part of some operations because of her experience.
Mitch needs a companion. She can be involved in both his professional
and personal life. Since Mitch is consumed with his work life
anybody he becomes involved with must be a part of it. She
is brilliant, beautiful, mysterious, pragmatic, adaptable,
and not naïve. I want to humanize Mitch. I think he is
fighting for normalcy, peace, and security so while at home
he does not want to argue or fight. I do think she takes the
initiative at home. When they work together he is in charge,
but at home she is in charge.”
novel perfectly combines geo-politics, covert operations,
and the backstory of the characters. Readers can close their
eyes and remember past books written by Vince Flynn and will
not skip a beat with Kyle Mills at the helm.
of other titles in this series:
and Defend #8
Last Man #13
Of The State #16