Recapping “The Last Man” as We Look Forward to “The Survivor”

Since The Survivor is a direct sequel to The Last Man, I thought now would be a good time to recap where things left off in the previous Rapp novel. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read the thirteenth novel of the Mitch Rapp series, The Last man, no worries, you still have about four months before The Survivor hits bookstores. So while this should go without saying, SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read ahead if you haven’t already read Vince Flynn’s last book.

The final chapter in The Last Man shows a corrupt Senator named Carl Ferris having a private conversation with Darren Sickle and Joel Wilson in the back of a town car. Their secret meeting is interrupted by sirens and flashing lights, at which point Rapp knocks on the door and tells the senator to get out.

Kennedy has a conversation with Ferris where, after explaining they have evidence linking the senator to General Durrani, she presents him with two options.

Option one, he can be arrested for treason after conspiring with Durrani, aiming to create a scandal within the CIA. Kennedy then informs him that Durrani was found dead in his home the previous day with a bullet hole in his head. She also tells him that Joe Rickman’s body was found in the same home.

We as the readers know what really went down but Senator Ferris doesn’t, though I’m sure he has a good idea of what happened. Rapp happened, and both Durrani and Rickman got real dead when Mitch showed up.

Option number two required that Ferris would agree to show up in Kennedy’s office first thing in the morning. Whether he liked it or not, he would agree to become an ally of the CIA and in return he’d stay out of prison, stay in office, and likely retain his position as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ferris picks option number two and then walks away. Of course he doesn’t like it, and he’s already brainstorming ideas and ways to get out of their arrangement when Rapp grabs him by the arm and presents to him option number three. That option involves Rapp sneaking into the Senator’s home at night and killing him. Gosh, how do you not love Mitch Rapp?!

I’d expect to see more of this storyline at some point down the road, possibly in The Survivor, but maybe not until future installments. I’m eager to see if Ferris sticks to “option two” or if Mitch has to pay him a visit in the middle of the night.

Then there is the Louie Gould issue. The man who killed Anna, Rapp’s wife, has resurfaced. I thought bringing him back in the way he did, forcing Mitch to work with him in order to live, was a brilliant idea by Vince Flynn. At the end of Consent to Kill Rapp lets Gould and his wife live in exchange for his word that he’s done killing. Well, Gould broke his promise, and now Rapp knows it.

Gould took a high paying job to kill an unidentified man. As per the terms of the deal, Gould won’t learn who the target was until just before he’s set fire a fatal shot from a disclosed location. He shows up where he’s instructed to be and sees a photo of the man he was hired to kill, the photo is of Rapp. A few seconds later Gould realizes he’s sitting in the middle of an ambush. He figures that the second he kills Mitch he will become a loose end, and the ambush is meant to take him out. The man paying him never intended for him to walk away from this job alive.

Rather than kill Rapp and surrender his own life, Gould walks across the street to where Mitch, Coleman and his men are currently following up a lead. Rapp is shocked to see him and, frankly, I was surprised he didn’t burry a bullet between his eyebrows the moment he walked into the room.

Gould is forced to admit that he still takes the occasional hit for the money. Rapp isn’t happy but, given the situation, the two join forces in order to stay alive and hold off the opposing gunmen as they await an extraction team.

Gould proves he’s got a gift for this kind of work and the final words of The Last Man are spoken between Rapp and Kennedy about this very topic. Rapp acknowledges that Gould will never stop killing unless he’s crippled or dead, so Kennedy suggests putting his services on retainer for the CIA. Rapp, to his credit, keeps it together and agrees Gould should get a trial run. Mitch even suggests an idea for his first target, Herr Obrecht

Obrecht is the Swiss banker that Rickman and Durrani had tabbed to be a “witness” to Rapp’s “corruption”. His role was to claim Rapp was stealing millions of dollars from the CIA, and he complied. But that plan was only going to work if Mitch was killed like they had arranged, and obviously that didn’t happen.

Kennedy had Obrecht put under surveillance and I suspect we’ll find out in The Survivor how things with Gould are going to settle moving forward. Whether or not he’ll be on retainer for CIA, or if Rapp finally kills him.

Another thing to consider moving on is Rapp’s health. Mitch suffered a head injury that resulted in a temporary loss of memory function when he shot (and exploded) an oxygen tank during the big shootout beginning in chapter 17. The force from the explosion hit him “like a hammer” and shot him to the back of the room where he slammed into the far wall, before parts of the wall and countertop fell on top of him.

Rapp received extensive medical attention after being saved by Coleman but there’s no doubt about it, Mitch had his eggs scrambled pretty badly. His condition improves throughout the book, and by the end it seemed he was close to being back to his normal self.

Chapter 48, beginning on page 343, shows a discussion between Rapp, Kennedy, Hurley and Dr. Lewis. Rapp shows improvement of his recall ability by reaching back into his memory and bringing up Rickman’s ex-wife and daughter, who Joe had only mentioned one time, many years prior.

At one point during this conversation Stan Hurley asks Dr. Lewis “could it be his head injury?” when Rapp doesn’t recognize a photo Obrecht.

Lewis replies “It’s too soon to say, but his recall seems to be pretty good. We have yet to find an instance where once he’s reminded of something it doesn’t trigger the recall”.

That is certainly good news for Rapp, but whether or not he struggles with cognitive recall moving forward is yet to be seen.

Speaking of Hurley, let’s not forget that it’s revealed he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer after forty years of smoking. Doctors gave him around six months to live. Rapp first learns about Hurley’s medical condition from Mike Nash, and both are taken back and struggle with the news.

Rapp’s admiration for Hurley is evident when he considers greeting him with a hug upon seeing him for the first time since learning his mentor is dying. Of course Rapp instead chose to go with a nod, as Hurley isn’t one who likes to be touched.

While it’s made obvious our time with Hurley is running short, we haven’t yet seen his health go completely downhill. In fact he’s still smoking and running with Rapp in the second half of The Last Man. He seems comfortable with his mortality, accepting it for what it is. He even toasts to a “full life” and still shows off his sense of humor plenty.

Longtime fans of the Rapp series will recall when it was revealed Thomas Stansfield had late-stage cancer in The Third Option. He too was in his late 70s, approximately 79 years old, and also given around six months to live. Then his condition worsened, and he was told he’d only hang on a couple more weeks. The former Director of the CIA, and longtime spy, died a short time later. In fact the very next book, Separation of Power, opens with Irene Kennedy weeping over his freshly covererd grave.

So my question, regarding Stan Hurley, is how and when will he go? Like Stansfield, will his death take place in the next book after revealing his terminal diagnosis? If so, Hurley could meet his demise in The Survivor. Personally, I hope he hangs on for at least one more appearance down the road.

I also think it would be fitting to see Stan go out in a blaze of glory somehow, rather than in a hospice bed. I could even envision a scenario where he sacrifices his life to save Rapp, Kennedy, or both.

Poor Mitch, he’s lost a lot of loved ones already in his life. His parents, Maureen (his high school sweetheart), Anna (his wife), Mike Reavers (a member of Coleman’s crew) and Stansfield. I’m curious to see how Kyle Mills handles this storyline, and sad to know such a colorful character is coming to an end.

When it comes right down to it, all of the plot lines listed above are secondary story arcs. The main carryover plot into The Survivor is Joe Rickman. Yes, Rapp put a bullet into his head, but apparently Rick is able haunt Mitch and the CIA from the grave.

Before his death Rickman stole a large amount of sensitive material from the CIA and was selling it to the highest bidder. When damning evidence begins leaking to the world, Rapp ends up racing the Pakistanis to uncover the sensitive material and put an end to whoever is spilling their secrets.

I wouldn’t want to be the person(s) paid by Rickman to leak information once Mitch shows up, that is for darn sure. The plot sounds thrilling and I’m anxious to dive into the book just as soon as it’s out.

I’m curious what other fans are thinking heading into The Survivor, and what storylines from The Last Man you are looking forward to seeing more of. Take a minute and share your thoughts in the comment section!

Rapp: “I would prefer to kill him.”

Kenedy: “I know that’s your default switch to every problem, but sometimes it’s a little more complicated than that.”

(Vince Flynn – The Last Man, page 432)

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