Rapp and Irene Kennedy are back, in the book Vince Flynn’s
Red War. But this time they have a new adversary and a new
setting, pivoting to the dangers Russia imposes. They race
to prevent Russia’s gravely ill leader from starting
a full-scale war with NATO. With this novel, it is obvious
that Mills, who has taken over the writing of the Mitch Rapp/Irene
Kennedy stories, has nailed the personalities and reactions
of the characters.
He pivoted to Russia, “I am fascinated with Russia.
I grew up reading the Cold War thrillers written by Frederick
Forsyth, Tom Clancy, and Robert Ludlum. With the book, Order
to Kill, I moved Mitch to deal with the Russians. As they
continue to take on the world stage, I liked the idea of this
tension between the two countries. Then I had the idea that
even dictators eventually get old and weak, so what will happen
if someone tries to cling to power, showing signs of erratic
This story has the Russian president determined to cling to
power after hearing he has brain cancer. He consolidates his
control by killing any who threatens him and then creates
a diversion by hoping to start a war with the West. General
Andrei Sokolov, the former head of the Russian armed forces
and a trusted adviser, is asked to invade three NATO nations,
Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, with a series of military
actions that will allow Krupin to disappear for cancer treatment,
without drawing attention. What these two psychopaths do not
realize is that CIA Director Irene Kennedy is very suspicious,
and to get actionable intelligence, she sends Mitch Rapp and
Scott Coleman into the Ukraine to be her eyes and ears. At
the same time, she sends in Grisha Azarov, a former Russian
operative, now a contractor for the CIA, into Russia to find
out Krupin’s whereabouts. As the action escalates, events
appear to be going nuclear, literally and figuratively.
Irene Kennedy plays a pivotal role, but from behind the scenes.
“I wrote her as the puppet master. In this book, everything
that happens is orchestrated by her. For her, it is winning,
but not letting anyone know we won. Everything folds into
place without people knowing she is involved. She always has
some way to get what she wants, yet, stays in the background.
I see her playing a large role, but not like in the book Protect
And Defendthat Vince Flynn wrote. I never really liked that
she was captured by the Iranians and always felt she would
never have put herself in that situation.”
Grisha Azarov returns, not as Rapp’s adversary, but
as his ally. He is no longer Krupin’s deadly assassin,
a job that once put him on a collision course with Mitch Rapp.
Both decided on a truce after Grisha worked with Mitch on
a past mission. Now, Irene Kennedy connects the dots and realizes
Krupin has ordered Azarov to be assassinated. She sends in
Rapp to rescue him and figure out why Krupin sent in a kill
team. Bent on revenge after Azarov’s girlfriend was
severely injured, he joins forces with Mitch and Irene to
eliminate Krupin, who Irene understands has nothing to lose
in this deadly game.
Comparing the two, Mills noted, “Grisha and Mitch had
women they loved injured or killed because of who they are.
But Mitch became who he is because of his anger and sense
of duty. Grisha went into it because he was good at it and
did not want to be a farmer. He never fought because he believed
in something, but did it because it paid good money. I think
they are motivated in different ways. Azarov will not be back.
He has traveled back to Costa Rica and will retire, but Scott
Coleman will be prevalent.”
Another returning character is Scott Coleman. Mills highlights
the close relationship between Rapp and Coleman. As with the
early Rapp books they challenge each other, and the banter
between them is hilarious.
Readers will be hooked from the very beginning. It is one
of those rare stories where people will be disappointed that
they have finished the book. Unfortunately, Mitch Rapp and
Irene Kennedy fans will have to wait a year for another story,
but fortunately they know with Mills at the helm, the Vince
Flynn characters will be around to protect and defend their