Mitch Rapp is back in Red War in what I believe to be Kyle Mills’ best work yet. A task I didn’t think was possible after my personal favorite Order to Kill since taking over writing duties in 2014 for the series. Red War starts off with the Russian President Maxim Krupin watching his country evolve into something a little more daring, something that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable. The “pampered” new generation is growing stronger and their numbers increasing while Krupin barely sees through blurred vision and the increasing waves of nausea he keeps experiencing literally force him to sit down as he loses his balance. All due to health issues he is forced to hide from his country, his government, even those closest to him as to not show any weakness they may be able to exploit. All of this to paint a desperate man utilizing drastic measures to cling to power.
Starting off with Grisha Azarov, the Russian super-soldier created by Kyle Mills in Order to Kill returns and is quite a changed man. No longer is he taking performance enhancing drugs and training regularly, no longer is he a calculating killer we met in OTK. Still very dangerous, but clearly not in peak physical shape. Or I should say not in the peak physical shape he is used to. Once in the book, due to all the events that have occurred, Grisha is questioning his ability to operate. Mitch is trying to get to the bottom of it, attempting to see if this is pure mental drawback or if he is truly lacking in the physical arena. So, Mitch asks him something along the lines of… “What are we talking about here, Grisha. Could you still run a marathon? Grisha responds with “Of Course.” “How fast?” Mitch asks. Grisha does his terminator thing and calculates a precise time that is literally 50% faster than the average time of U.S. marathon runs in 2016, and 13 minutes slower than the current marathon record holder. (yes, I googled that for this review). Suffice to say, he is still one of the top operators in the world and I look forward to more of Grisha Azarov in future Mitch Rapp thrillers.
Now, on to the main guy, Mitch. Kyle does a wonderful job keeping the attention on him and keeping our favorite American Assassin at the top of his game. In Red War, we get to see Mitch do something he hasn’t done in a very long time. He goes toe-to-toe with a very strong adversary, and our hero does not disappoint. All that training we read about so long ago in American Assassin, then mentioned briefly again in Act of Treason, his skills are still there, and Kyle does not disappoint. His humor, his tactics, his training are all explored and there is absolutely no sign of him slowing down any time soon.
Irene Kennedy is of course back, and she deserves a shout out due to a very impressive spy maneuver she executes that I did not see coming. When I am reading, there is nothing more fulfilling then being surprised in a scene. Kyle manages to do that quite a few times in Red War, however one of the most surprising scenes involve Irene visiting a traveling Russian politician in his hotel room.
Red War is a fast moving, action filled thriller that takes us from the jungles of Costa Rica, to the beaches in Latvia, to the dangerous terrains in Russia’s mountainous no man’s land while delivering constant surprises, action, and suspense. Kyle Mills has once again delivered what I believe to be this year’s number one thriller. Order your copy today and set aside a day, this is one of those must-read thrillers that you cannot put down and must finish in one sitting.
Author: Kyle Mills
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Follow Kyle & Vince Flynn’s social media page on Twitter: @KyleMillsAuthor & @VinceFlynncom
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: A NUCLEAR BOMB (10/10) – The potential here is death on a global scale, nothing is scarier than a nuke. This is the best rating a book can get.
About the authors
The fifth of seven children, Vince Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1966. He graduated from the St. Thomas Academy in 1984, and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988.
After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist.
In 1990 he left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. One week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, due to several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered growing up. While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book. This was a very unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.
Having been stymied by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the nine-to-five grind and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea he had for a book. After two years with United Properties he decided to take a big gamble. He quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become Term Limits.
Like many struggling artists before him, he bartended at night and wrote during the day. Five years and more than sixty rejection letters later he took the unusual step of self-publishing his first novel. The book went to number one in the Twin Cities, and within a week had a new agent and two-book deal with Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.
I grew up in Oregon but have lived all over—D.C., Virginia, Maryland, London, Wyoming. My father was an FBI agent and I was a bureau kid, which is similar to being an army brat. You tend to spend your time with other bureau kids and get transferred around a lot, though I fared better on that front than many others.
One positive aspect of this lifestyle is that you can’t help but absorb an enormous amount about the FBI, CIA, Special Forces, etc. Like most young boys, I was endlessly fascinated with talk of chasing criminals and, of course, pictured it in the most romantic terms possible. Who would have thought that all this esoteric knowledge would end up being so useful?
I came into writing from kind of a strange angle. When I graduated from college in the late eighties, I had the same dream as everyone else at the time—a corporate job, a nice car, and a house with lots of square footage.
It turns out that none of that really suited me. While I did go for the corporate job, I drove a beat up Jeep and lived in a tiny house in a so-so Baltimore neighborhood. Most of the money I made just kind of accumulated in my checking account and I found myself increasingly drawn to the unconventional, artistic people who lived around me. I was completely enamored with anyone who could create something from nothing because I felt like it was beyond me.
Enter rock climbing. I’d read an article on climbing when I was in college and thought it looked like an incredible thing to do. Someday, I told myself, I would give it a try. So one weekend in the early ’90s, I packed up my car, drove to West Virginia and spent a weekend taking lessons. Unknown to me at the time, this would be the start of an obsession that still hangs with me today. I began dating a girl who liked to climb and we decided we wanted to live somewhere with taller rocks and more open space.
Moving to Wyoming was the best decision we ever made. The place is full of the most amazing people. You might meet someone on a bike ride and find out they were in the Olympics, or climbed Everest, or just got back from two months trekking in Nepal. In a roundabout way, it was these people who made it possible for me to write a novel. They seemed to have no limitations. Everything was possible for them and I wanted to be that type of person too.
I was working for a little bank in Jackson Hole, spending my days making business loans and my afternoons and weekends climbing. For some reason, it finally occurred to me that I’d never actually tried to be creative. Maybe I could make something from nothing. Why not give it a shot?
My first bright idea was to learn to build furniture. That plan had some drawbacks, the most obvious of which being that I’m not very handy. It was my wife who suggested I write a novel. It seemed like a dumb idea, though, since I majored in finance and had spent my entire college career avoiding English courses like the plague. Having said that, I couldn’t completely shake off the idea. Eventually, it nagged at me long enough that I felt compelled to put pen to paper. Eight months later, I finished Rising Phoenix and about a year after that I managed to get it published.
The success of Rising Phoenix and my subsequent books has allowed me to make my living as a writer, which isn’t bad work if you can get it. Other than that, my life hasn’t changed all that much. Aging elbows have forced me to replace climbing with backcountry skiing and mountain bike racing. And I got the not-so-smart idea of restoring an old pickup to replace the dying Jeep. I still live in Wyoming, though, and I’m still married to the girl I started climbing with so many years ago.