My Review of The Survivor, A Mitch Rapp Novel by Kyle Mills

My Advanced readers copy of The Survivor

Mitch Rapp is back! Kyle Mills is now at the helm, taking over the series in place of Vince Flynn who passed away nearly two years ago, and he delivers a stunningly explosive thriller.

The Survivor picks right up from where The Last Man leaves off, two weeks after Mitch Rapp puts a bullet in the head of Joe “Rick” Rickman. Officially, Rickman was a mid-level case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. Unofficially, he’d spent the previous eight years running the CIA’s black operations in the Islamic Republic – almost singlehandedly running the secret side of the war in Afghanistan.

In the previous novel, Rickman staged his own kidnapping and beating, done at the hands of his accomplices to make it look as though Rick was tortured by Islamic terrorists. A video of the staged event was later posted on the internet and featured what appeared to be Rickman breaking at the hands of his tormentors to reveal secrets, including the mysterious name “Sitting Bull.” To cover his tracks, he conjured up a plan to kill Mitch Rapp, the one person he feared would figure out his betrayal and come looking for him.

That plan, however, failed. Rapp figured out Rickman’s scheme and killed him, hoping to permanently plug the leak of information.

The Survivor kicks off with Rickman already dead, but the threat to the CIA very much still alive. When a highly-valued mole giving information to the CIA is compromised, Mitch learns that Rickman fed the details of their relationship with the CIA to their home country via email just five days prior. That’s a problem, considering the timing of Rickman’s death.

When a video message to Rapp and Irene Kennedy, the Director of the CIA, prerecorded by Joe himself in the event that he was found to be a traitor and killed, surfaces: two things are brought to light. Rick knew far more than he was supposed to, and he’d apparently found a way to distribute the damaging information from beyond the grave.

It turns out that the leak wasn’t plugged with the bullet inserted into Rickman’s head, and once again Rapp finds himself searching for answers and a way to stop the purging of classified information before any of the CIA’s assets wind up dead.

Mills expertly weaves a cast of familiar characters into a fresh, suspenseful and intricate plot that will dazzle fans of the series both old and new. His natural storytelling ability, which garnished praises from the likes of Tom Clancy early in his career, is on full display here.

Longtime fans of the Rapp series may have been skeptical about a new author taking over their beloved Mitch Rapp. After all, Vince Flynn did turn Rapp into an annual staple on the New York Times Best Sellers List, penning thirteen novels featuring him as the protagonist. In fact, in the genre of political thrillers, Rapp’s name is tantamount to the likes of Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and James Bond.

However, upon review of Mills debut Rapp novel, this longtime fan is more than happy to report that there is no disparity between Vince and Kyle’s portrayal of Mitch Rapp. In fact, as someone who has studied the entirety of Vince’s writings and compiled a rather hefty rolodex of notes on almost every conceivable topic, this was the thing I was most paying attention to as I read. In the end, I honestly couldn’t tell where Vince left off, and Kyle began writing.

Actually, I’m willing to go a step further and say that The Survivor is one of the best Rapp novels written, certainly now among my top five favorites. It’s honestly that good, as fans around the world will soon learn for themselves.

Reading like a cross between a suspense thriller and an action movie, The Survivor is sure to notch Rapp a fourteenth trip to the Bestseller list when it hits bookstores on October 6, 2015. Moving forward, one thing is abundantly clear: With Kyle Mills on board, Mitch Rapp isn’t just surviving, he’s thriving! If you read one book in 2015, make sure it’s The Survivor.

Special Thanks

Several people deserve a special mention for their role in bringing fans another fantastic Mitch Rapp novel.

First and foremost, Vince Flynn. Two years ago, when Rapp’s creator went home to be with his own, there were no guarantees The Survivor, which Flynn had started, would ever be finished. A month after his passing, the book was postponed indefinitely. Then, one year later, it was announced that Kyle Mills would finish The Survivor, and writing two more books in the Rapp series.

Vince’s work has been loved by millions, and he touched countless lives, including mine. To his friends and family, especially his wife, Lysa, and their children, I offer my most sincere condolences. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing him with us though his writing.

To Emily Bestler, the quiet force behind each of the Rapp novels, thank you for your role in bringing us yet another incredible Mitch Rapp book. To fans who may not be aware, Bestler was the only editor Vince had throughout his career. She’s now the Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Atria Books at Simon and Schuster. I personally think of her partnership with Vince as the equivalent of what Irene Kennedy is to Mitch Rapp. Emily, The Survivor is absolutely incredible! Thank you for all of your hard work and all that you’ve contributed to this franchise.

David Brown, The Deputy Director of Publicity for Atria Books, is the man who put this taskforce of “Rapp Ambassadors” together, allowing a few fans the opportunity to read The Survivor in advance. David, thank you for everything. It’s apparent that Vince truly thought the world of you, and it’s easy to see why. There’s nobody as warm and accessible to fans as you are, and you’re greatly appreciated for it.

Lastly, to Kyle Mills, thank you for taking on the monumental task of continuing this franchise. You’ve delivered a truly amazing, high-octane thrill ride that I cannot say enough good things about. I hope you find it gratifying to know that you’ve not only delivered a story that Vince would be proud of, but in many ways, you’ve taken Mitch Rapp to another level. I cannot wait to see where you take him in the future!

Make sure you pre-order your copy of The Survivor today, available wherever books are sold.

UPDATE 9/16:

The Survivor (A Mitch Rapp Novel)

Check out the national TV ad for The Survivor!


  1. Kyle Mills did a wonderful job balancing the tasks of adopting a pre-existing series with pre-existing character arcs and pushing the series forward. He wrote this is an incredibly respectful way that showed a great deal of dedication to Flynn’s work. He also made it his own and took some risks. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Go get yourself a copy when it is released in October.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review! I was sent an advanced copy as well and couldn’t agree more with your assessment. To be honest, as an author myself, I was shocked that Vince hadn’t set up his successor and outlined 3 or 4 books prior to his passing. He was diagnosed with cancer and fighting it for several years. I know if I was an international best seller, that’s what I would have done. Regardless, the series seems to be on track and in very capable hands. Keeping Vince on the cover will be a nice legacy for his family and close friends.


  3. I was praying that someone would take over the Mitch Rapp series and it couldn’t be in better hands. I’ve been a fan of Kyle Mills work for about as long as I’ve been a fan of Vince Flynn.


  4. Wow. Am I the only one who was disappointed? The last half of The Survivor was pretty good, but overall, I felt that Mills did not do justice to the richness and depth of our favorite characters. Mills is one of my favorite authors next to Flynn, so I too was excited to see the Rapp chronicles continue. Mills is an master of character development and suspense, but I felt he missed the mark this time. It seemed as if he felt that the characters were superficial to begin with and ran with it. Stan came off like a sit-com character, and Rapp was clearly more than a bit flat. I understand that Rapp was off his game in this story with everything going on, but we have seen this before, and he would compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand with precision and clarity. Another issue I was unsatisfied with was the resolution of the fight scenes. They lacked the almost super-human skills and strategy that made Rapp the legend that he is. I did appreciate Mills’ treatment of Nash, a character that was really only featured seriously in one or two other novels, and I can see that he may become even more prominent in the next two books that Mills has agreed to pen in this series. So, while I have been a fan of the series for many years, and hated the wait between Flynn novels, I will probably wait until the next book comes out in paperback, or perhaps just get it from the library.


    • You asked the question, “Am I the only one who was disappointed” and it appears you are. That may be more of an indictment on you than Mills. It was a huge task to try and fill Vince’s shoes and Kyle did an admirable job. As a fellow author, I can’t imagine taking on that task.


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