Counting Down the Best Villains in the Mitch Rapp Series: Part 1

This is the first in a series of five posts that I’ll be writing, each dedicated to raking the ten best dirt bags in the Rappverse.

The Mitch Rapp series is full of compelling, well written, villains. Never has there been a book where Rapp didn’t have a worthy adversary, which makes reading them so much fun!

A lot went into this list, and I spent the better part of two days trying to whittle more than twenty-five names down to ten. It was even harder trying to put them in an order that I felt made sense, and that others fans would agree with. That said, I’m certain there will be people who disagree with my ranking no matter what. I accept that, and welcome any discussion or debate. Disagree with me and my list? Share your opinion!

The criteria by which I judged each bad guy was pretty simple. I weighed statistics like: How many people did they kill? Did they try to kill Rapp, or someone he loves? Did they plan, or are they somehow responsible, for an act of terrorism?The system is far from perfect, obviously, so I tried to account for others things as well.

For example, maybe a particular evil mastermind only killed one person, as apposed to many. However, if that one person is of great importance, they may be ranked higher.

Likewise, I took into account additional things like flair, their strategic ability to mastermind, and even how much they were disliked by readers.

So, without further ado, here’s beginning of the list. Starting at number ten, working our way to number one over the next two weeks.

10.) Paul Cooke/Paul Fournier/Max Vega Kill Shot

Opening the list at number ten is the trio of men who conspired to have Mitch Rapp killed in Kill Shot.

Paul Cooke was the Deputy Director of the CIA when he sold out Mitch Rapp, and leaked the classified list of terrorists the Orion team was hunting. A deal between Paul Fournier, a DGSE agent, and Max Vega, a wealthy Spaniard with radical Islamist ties, left Rapp walking into an ambush during an operation in France.

When Rapp entered the hotel room of Libyan Oil Minister, Tarek al-Magariha, a team of men led by Samir Fadir, hired by Vega, were waiting just down the hall. Tarek is nothing more than bait, used to lure Rapp into the open. Just as Mitch fires two suppressed shots into his head, Samir’s gunman storm the room.

Rapp escapes, but is shot in the process. On the run, and desperately trying to figure out who set him up, Mitch begins putting the puzzle pieces together and realizes that whoever sold him out is high up on the food chain of information.

Paul Cooke, who’d been with the CIA for thirty years, and started out in the administration side of things, was hoping to make the jump from Deputy Director, to Director of the CIA. His biggest competition for the top position in the world’s most famous spy agency was none other than Thomas Stansfield, who was then the Deputy Director of Operations.

The previous Director resigned, and the President hadn’t yet chosen his replacement. Secretary of State Franklin Wilson, fueled by his own personal agenda, groomed Cooke to do his dirty work in exchange for his personal recommendation to the president. Like always, there’s a string attached, and Wilson want’s Cooke to prove that Stansfield had a hand in the carnage that took place in Paris.

Selling out Rapp, as everyone in the world should know, carries an almost certain death sentence.

When Paul Cooke flies to Paris, he and Fournier meet with Max Vega and Samir Fadi. Vega pays Cooke two million dollars in exchange for a photo of Rapp, his known addresses, and information about his family, which, presumably, could be used as leverage against Mitch.

Rapp, through advanced interrogation methods, figured out who’d set him up and passed information to Paul Cooke. I won’t name that person yet because he pops up later on this list, and I don’t want to give anything away. Most fans can connect the dots, though!

A listening device had been planted on Cooke by Rob Ridley and his men, who were working for the CIA. They were a few blocks away in a surveillance van listening to the conversation, waiting for Cooke to incriminate himself so they could arrest him quietly. Rapp and Hurley were also listening, separate from Ridley, and the second they heard Cooke detailing Rapp’s background, Mitch devised his own plan.

Taking the FNP handgun of a DGSE agent that had been shot the night before, Rapp made his way up to the hotel suite where Cooke, Fournier, Vega and Samir were meeting.

With blue contacts in, and a fake goatee stuck to his face, Mitch was posing as the DGSE agent whose gun he was currently in possession of. After gaining access to the room, Rapp never spoke, he knew the entire thing was being recorded by Ridley. Instead he killed everyone using both the FNP (the DGSE agent’s weapon) and a Glock, the same two weapons used the night before in a shooting.

Once everyone was dead Rapp planted the FNP in Fournier’s hand, and the Glock at Samir’s feet, making it look as though they were the ones who engaged in a gunfight that killed everyone.

Before leaving the room, Rapp collected all the information about himself that Vega had bought from Cooke, and stuffed it into his right breast pocket. He then checked Cooke’s body to see if he brought any backup copies of information, and found another envelope. Without opening it, he retreated back downstairs.

Once he was safely in Hurley’s car, Rapp opened the envelop to find a picture of Stan Hurley, indicating that Cooke was going to sell him out, too.

The removal of Paul Cooke clears a path for Thomas Stansfield to become the next Director of the CIA, a position he holds until his death somewhere between The Third Option, and Separation of Power.

Why I ranked them here

With a lot of bad guys to choose from, this trio made my top-ten list for a few reasons. Interestingly, Max Vega was the next name on the list of approved targets after Tarek al-Magariha, so killing him was pretty effective. This was also the first time in Rapp’s career with the CIA that he’d been sold out by someone else working with the agency, though it’s certainly not the last time.

Ultimately, while this is a despicable threesome, I couldn’t justify putting them any higher for two reasons. First, while they all conspired to have Rapp killed, they weren’t responsible for any mass murders of innocent people or acts of terrorism shown to the reader. Secondly, the rest of list is filled to the brim with other men who are!

The Third Option9.) Perter Cameron

Peter Cameron worked at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1974 to 1998, he was mostly a desk jokey during his twenty-four years there. During his last year of employment with the agency, he was approached by an individual who offered him five times what he was already making. The package deal included a position at George Washington University, where Cameron worked just ten hours a week teaching a class about the CIA.

The other part of the deal, which paid far better, offered the chance to run some black operations without congressional oversight. In his particular case, “running operations” consisted of overseeing things from a safe distance.

Cameron wasn’t one to mix things up with his fists, instead, he preferred using his expert marksmanship, and trigger finger, to settle any confrontation.

When readers meet Cameron in The Third Option, he’s in his late forties and a good thirty pounds overweight. The book begins with Peter doing something  out of character, when he follows Mitch Rapp though the woods in Germany. Rapp senses something, someone, though he doesn’t realize at that time who exactly is in the woods with him. Later, his instincts correctly tell him it was in fact, Peter Cameron.

Rapp, who is in Germany to assassinate Count Heinrich Hagenmiller, finds himself working with The Hoffman’s, a married couple that takes the occasional contract with the CIA. The three of them make their way to Hagenmiller’s countryside home, where Rapp and Jane Hoffman, posing as BKA agents, enter to speak privately with the Count during a party he was throwing. Tom Hoffman stays in the car, though he really preferred to switch places with his wife.

Inside, Rapp kills Hagenmiller, and turns just in time to see Jane aim her gun at him. Since Rapp had previously offered that he wasn’t wearing a bullet proof vest, she shoots him multiple times in the chest. Big mistake.

What Jane wasn’t aware of, however, was that Rapp’s jacket had a Kelvar lining. If you’re going to cross Mitch Rapp, you’d better shoot him in the head.

Cameron, a hundred yards away and concealed in the woods, watches as Jane and Rapp enter the home. He sees Jane exit the house by herself a few minutes later, and then watches as she and Tom exit the grounds in their getaway car.

What Cameron didn’t see though, before leaving himself, was the aftermath of a seriously ticked off, very much alive, Mitch Rapp.

The bullets never penetrated the Kevlar lining of Rapp’s jacket, instead they knocked him backwards where he cracked his head on the bottom step of a wooden library ladder. He briefly lost consciousness, before his eyes fluttered awake, at which point he set the private study on fire to burn the DNA evidence left behind from his bleeding head wound.

Cameron later learns that the Germans are seeking three individuals, not two, in the aftermath of the Count’s murder. The news story he read also stated that half of the mansion had been burned down, and that two charred bodies had been found.

Jane Hoffman had been clear that when she left there were three bodies – the Count, his bodyguard, and Mitch Rapp – not two. Cameron never saw a fire before leaving himself, and it didn’t take him long to figure out what had happened.

The Hoffman’s, who are really the Jansen’s, became a liability. A loose end that needed to be tied up.

Cameron, going only by the name of the “Professor,” hired Gus “Frog” Villaume and his team to accompany him to Evergreen, Colorado. The Frog’s team was just he, a women named Mary Juarez, and another man named Mario Lukas. That was it.

Cameron, tired of having a reputation for never getting his own hands dirty, announced that he’d be the one killing the Jansen’s. The Frog and his guys were just there for backup.

The CIA also sent a team, but to grab the Jansen’s (whose real names were Jim and Beth) for questioning, not to kill them. Scott Coleman and his men were running surveillance from a cabin a few hundred feet away, and slightly up a hill, when Cameron killed the married couple with his Stoner SR-25 assault rifle.

After reporting back to his employer – another guy that you can bet makes the list later on – Cameron decided that Villaume and his men knew too much. With more loose ends to tie up, he hired another crew to take them out as well.

Jeff Duser and his team gunned down Mario Lukas, who was on his way to get a coffee first thing in the morning, in a blaze of gunfire. Cameron was in the backseat, watching as it all went down.

The next time Peter met with his employer, he was given a tape recording of a phone conversation that had recently taken place between Mitch Rapp and Anna Rielly. Rapp was still on the loose, and unaccounted for.

Unbeknownst to Cameron, the Frog had fed Rapp everything he knew about the Professor. While sitting in his office at George Washington University, Cameron got a call on his private mobile phone, it was Rapp.

Secretly, Rapp was working with computer genius, Marcus Dumond, who was attempting to triangulate the Professor’s location.

Meanwhile, at the urging of his employer, Cameron had Duser and his guys pose as government agents and pick up Anna Rielly from the White House, where she worked as a news correspondent for NBC. Duser and his men told her that their orders were to take her to see Mitch at his home. When they arrived and Rapp wasn’t present, they informed her he was running late and that they would wait there with her. Anna went upstairs, unaware of what was really going on.

Rapp called Cameron again, this time from a moving van, which was being used as a makeshift mobile command unit so Dumond could better triangulate his positon.

At first glance, they came up empty. Cameron was using a cell tower he’d never used before. The Professor gave Rapp instructions to meet with him in the morning. When the call was done, Rapp quickly realized that his home was just a few miles from the cell tower, and put two-and-two together.

Rapp, Coleman and his gang turned the tables on the Professor, when they showed up at Rapp’s house. Cameron wasn’t present, but he was on the phone with Duser when Rapp killed him. Using Duser’s cell phone, Rapp called back the Professor, and delivered him one final chance to come clean.

Mitch told him to give up the name of his employer, or he promised to hunt him down and kill him. Cameron simply hung up the phone.

Eventually Dumond figured out that Coleman is a professor at George Washington University. Rapp and Colman head over to pay him a visit, but by the time they find him in his office he was already dead.

After killing The Jansen’s and Lukas, all of whom were deemed to be loose ends that could be connected to him, Cameron himself had become a loose end to his employer. An Israeli assassin was hired to killed him, and did so by sticking a steel pick though his left ear, into his brain.

Why I ranked him here

Cameron was a real thorn in Rapp’s side during The Third Option. He’d tried to kill Rapp in Germany, but missed. He killed the Hoffman’s/Jansen’s, using the Frog’s team, and then double crossed them by killing Mario Lukas. If all that wasn’t enough, he also orchestrated the kidnapping of Anna Rielly, the women Rapp loved.

While Cameron had the reputation of sitting back and letting other people do his dirty work, he was himself just a pawn in a much larger plan. The man who was pulling his strings is the real super-villain in both The Third Option and Separation of Power.

In my opinion, the full impact of Lukas’s death goes largely unnoticed by fans. It’s only stated one time in all of the Rapp novels, but Mario Lukas saved Rapp’s life. We never witness it as the reader, but it’s probably the single most desired scene fans long to read. It involves another terrorists, one that Rapp has a long and colorful history with, who is also going to be on this list.

Now that I’ve hinted at several other names closer to the top of the list, leave me your guesses or suggestions in the comment section below!

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