Beyond Rapp: How Other Authors Helped Make Me the Super-Fan That I Am Today!

Brad Thor’s Code of Conduct, available 7/7/15

When I created this website three months ago, my goal was to make something that would honor the late Vince Flynn. Something that he would’ve enjoy, and that he would be proud of.

In my mind, the best way to do that wasn’t with an expensive or flashy webpage stuffed full of gadgets. Instead, I set out to provide more content, facts, and news about Mitch Rapp then anywhere else on the internet.

I’m proud of how quickly the site has grown, and I’m extremely thankful for everyone that’s visited it or signed up to be on the mailing list. I never anticipated getting as much traffic as I have. I’ve already spent some money to make upgrades, and I have a lot more planned for the future.

By now, most of you know me. You know my story, and how I became a fan of Vince Flynn. For those that don’t, I’ll just quickly fill you in by sharing that before Rapp, I never read a book (mostly because I’m dyslexic, and reading is a challenge) in my adult life.

Now I read daily, still mostly just Rapp books, but other authors as well. In fact, “what other authors do you like?” is the number one question I get asked on Twitter and Facebook.

Personally, I find it funny that I’m the “Rappologist” and rather than ask me some crazy stat or question about Mitch, people want to know what other characters I like to read. I tell people the truth, which is that other than Vince Flynn, I don’t read a ton of other authors.

I’m always reading one of Vince’s books, always. And I’m always taking notes, too. That’s how I’ve managed to compile the hefty Rolodex of facts about Mitch and the Rappverse that I keep ready at my disposal.

Recently, a friend on Twitter noticed that I always offer the same author (after Vince Flynn) to people whenever I’m asked who else I read. That author is: Brad Thor.

From what I’ve been able to gather, the vast majority of Rapp fans are also fans of Thor’s protagonist, Scot Harvath. How could you not be, right?

First of all, Vince Flynn and Brad Thor have a lot of similarities. For starters, they shared an editor in Emily Bestler. They also both ended up being published under Bestler’s own imprint of Atria Books at Simon and Schuster. Obviously, their books are thrillers, and together they have flat out owned the genre for nearly a decade and a half!

Vince had already passed away when I became a fan of he and Rapp. Naturally, after finishing all of his books, I wondered if there were other authors who wrote novels similar to his. Google kept giving me the same one result when I’d search this very topic: Brad Thor.

Now, I gotta be honest with you … when I bought Thor’s fist novel, Lions of Lucerne, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t like it as much as any of Vince’s books. All of you who have read Brad’s first book, well, you know where this is going…

It’s freaking awesome! I was wrong, and it quickly became (and still is) one of my favorite books of all time.

Rapp will always be my first love in the world of books, and Vince Flynn will forever be my hero. The fact that I now like other authors is actually a testament to him. Without Rapp helping to develop my love for reading, I’d have never discovered anyone else because I wouldn’t have been open to trying anything.

I guess that was all just a really long way of saying this: While I’m fully committed to churning out new Rapp articles on a weekly basis until my dying days, I’m also going to write about other authors and their books from time-to-time, too.

While Vince Flynn is my hero, Brad Thor and Brad Meltzer are both absolute rock stars. Thor is the king of Twitter, without question. If you don’t follow him, you’re missing out. I so admire how he openly expresses his political beliefs, and is always educating people on what’s happening in our country.

Brad Meltzer's latest novel, The President's Shadow
Brad Meltzer’s latest novel, The President’s Shadow

Speaking of educating, Brad Meltzer has been doing that for years with not only his books, but both of his television shows. First there was Brad Meltzer’s Decoded, now there is Brad Meltzer’s Lost History.

Recently, Meltzer was in Scottsdale, Arizona promoting his new book The President’s Shadow at The Poison Pen bookstore. During a Q&A session with fans someone asked him about his first show, but referred to it as just Decoded.

Jokingly, Melter responded by saying “actually, it’s Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” drawing out his name and laughing as he called it the best title ever. The crowd was already laughing, but he wasn’t done yet.

He went on to explain how sometimes he’ll say things to his wife like “what are we having for Brad Meltzer’s dinner? Yesterday we had Brad Meltzer’s chicken, but tonight I’d like to have Brad Meltzer’s pasta.”

I was watching on my computer thanks to a live video feed, chuckling. Then came the punchline — “She told me ‘you can sleep on Brad Meltzer’s couch!'” The crowd let out a roar of laughter, and so did I.

By the way, The President’s Shadow is an incredible book, and I highly recommend it. It’s the third novel featuring Meltzer’s character, Beecher White, who is everybody’s favorite archivist and member of the secret group called the Culper Ring. If you haven’t already, check Beecher out right away!

I’ve said this on Twitter a few times, and I’ve always meant it. I don’t read authors unless I like them as a person, first, and their character and writing second.

A few years ago I was a sports writer, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids bummed out that their favorite professional athlete was a jerk in real life. Without naming names, a lot of them are. One of the nicest athletes I’ve ever met is Detroit Lions superstar receiver, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. He is great to his fans, which is rare of such a prolific player.

I guess there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be like the kid who finds out his hero is a jerk. I would never put all this work into my Mitch Rapp site if I didn’t truly admire Vince Flynn as a man. And while Vince is no longer here, I’ve been truly touched by members of his family, as well as some of his close friends, that have reached out to me and been supportive.

All of them have wonderful stories of Vince, but rarely do they ever talk about his writing. “First and foremost” they all say, “he was a great man”.

Before I ever read anything by Brad Thor, I watched some interviews with him. I wish I could remember who did the interviewing, I’d love to give them credit, but I honestly can’t.

What I do recall, however, was Brad talking about how he believes in the importance of sitting down and eating dinner as a family. As a husband and father myself, I admire that.

I’m only in my mid-to-late-twenties, but my wife and I have five children together. I too believe strongly in sitting around the dinner table and talking about each other’s day as we eat our supper. That was the first thing I noted about Mr. Thor, second was his political beliefs — which I couldn’t agree with any more!

I’ve heard from dozens of people on social media that have a cool Brad Thor story. Most of them are servicemen that Brad sent signed books and other stuff to, which is awesome of him to do. Bravo, Brad! In my mind, you’ll always be cooler than Harvath.

Brad Meltzer was all over television, so I knew who he was. I happened to know he’s also a father, and a real family man himself. He’s also a comic book nerd, which I use to be as well.

He was recently in Michigan for a book signing as part of his promotional tour for The President’s Shadow. I was all excited, and ready to make the three hour drive to go see him. Then I found out the event required tickets.

Fear not, though, Meltzer took to Twitter to urge all fans to come, tickets or not. He said even if fans were outside waiting, he’d come out and sign every book no matter how long it took. Who does that, seriously? Brad Meltzer does, that’s who!

Unfortunately, my youngest kid caught a stomach bug. Rylee, my one year old baby girl, had never been sick like that before. My wife got tied up at work and I wasn’t leaving her with anyone else. I missed the event, and didn’t get my book signed… but I heard that Meltzer was true to his word, and signed everybody’s book that was there. Rockstar!

Speaking of my daughter, the day she was born I had a copy of Brad Thor’s second novel, Path of the Assassin, with me at the hospital. I had packed it in my overnight bag once we knew Rylee was close to making her grand entrance.

When the nurse handed me my daughter for the first time, who by the way is named after Mitch Rapp’s wife, Anna Rielly, my parents took several photos. In them, I was holding her and Thor’s book.

We ended up sharing that photo with Brad Thor on his Facebook account and he wrote back right away to congratulate us. I printed it off, and to this day his response is framed and sitting on my bookshelf right next to all of his novels.

Either Brad is a genuinely nice guy, or he really knows what he’s doing! My wife, who had never read anything in the thriller genre before, was instantly a fan after reading his kind words.

“Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. That is a very special moment in life. Enjoy it!”

Needless to say, we had to pre-order two copies of Code of Conduct. One for me, and one for my wife, Melissa.

I’ve already mentioned Brad Meltzer’s new book, and I’m sure most of you have already read it. If not, go buy it! Here’s the link for Amazon, and here’s one for Barnes and Noble.

In eight days a new Scot Harvath novel hits bookstores everywhere. Code of Conduct is Thor’s fifteenth book, his fourteenth featuring Harvath, and it sounds amazing. I wasn’t sure Brad would be able to top last years Act of War, but from everything I’ve read, he does just that in his latest thriller about a scandal involving the United Nations.

There’s no question that these guys, along with Vince Flynn – and now Kyle Mills – are my favorite authors. But there’s also no question that just like Vince, I’m a way bigger fan of Thor and Meltzer, than I am of Scot and Beecher, or even Rapp.

I’m currently re-reading the entire Scot Harvath series and taking notes like I originally did with Vince Flynn’s novels. So stay tuned, because pretty soon I’ll be adding a “Harvath section” to my website.

Click here to pre-order Code of Conduct on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and get it Tuesday, July 7, 2015.

Brad Taylor's new book, The Insider Threat
Brad Taylor’s new book, The Insider Threat

Lastly, another writer I really like, but don’t know as much about, is Brad Taylor (I swear I don’t just like the name Brad!)

Taylor is the author of the Pike Logan series, and he has a new book called The Insider Threat coming out tomorrow! You can order that here or here.

I first heard of him when browsing Vince Flynn’s website. There’s an entire page about how he became a fan of Vince and Rapp during his twenty-one-year career in the Military.

Taylor, like most of the characters I love to read about, is a veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces. He’s like a real life Rapp, Harvath or Logan!

If you’re interested, you can read the post about him on Vince’s website, here. I’ve read several of his books and really enjoyed them! I’m actually heading out first thing tomorrow morning to grab a copy of The Insider Threat.

All of these guys have helped shape me into super-fan that I am today. I’m grateful for their work, and enjoy the fictional universes they have built around each of their specific characters!

So Brad, Brad, and Brad — thank you for all the awesome adventures. But even more than that, thanks for being genuinely good guys. Speaking for fans everywhere, we appreciate all that you do!

UPDATE: Wednesday July, 1

My Favorite Authors
Three guys named Brad, hanging out with Kyle Mills.

I bought The Insider Threat yesterday and was up half the night reading it. It’s awesome! Also, Brad Thor sent me an advanced copy of Code of Conduct, which I received today. I’m thankful beyond words, and can’t wait to start reading it.  I’ll be diving into that just as soon as I’m done typing! I’ve also added a photo I took of my bookshelf, featuring the three Brads and their books, along with The Survivor — which comes out on 10/6/15.

Update: Saturday, July 4

Brad Taylor kicked off his book tour last week and since he’s not coming to Michigan, my home state, I tweeted to him and asked him if he left behind any signed books for purchase at his first stop. He replied but, unfortunately, he told me that he sold out.

However, a short while later he responded again, this time to say that if I called his hometown bookstore and bought a book from them, he’d swing in and personalize it.

Yesterday morning I called Blue Bicycle Books located in Charleston, South Carolina. I was afraid it would sound complicated, trying to explain that I was tweeting back and forth with Mr. Taylor.

Nope, it wasn’t! Instead, the lady on the phone couldn’t have been nicer. I didn’t need to explain a thing, all I had to do was pay over the phone and give my information. She told me “Brad does this kind of thing all the time, he’s such a great guy!”

I agree. He is a great guy, all my favorite authors are, which is kind of the point to this article!

Do you have a cool story involving one of your favorite authors? Tell me about it in the comment section!

11 comments

  1. If you like military fiction, Steven Konkoly’s ‘Black Flagged’ series was truly awesome. Steven himself is an amazing guy. He even took part in a group discussion about who would win in a fictional fight between his Black Flag characters and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He answers any questions and always offers discounts to his fans on his book. The first book in the series wasn’t all that, but the rest of them are astounding.
    Also a fellow alum of Brad Taylor’s is Dalton Fury. Check out his books.
    I have read all the Mitch Rapp books, and Dalton Fury’s. Brad Taylor can attest I am a super fan of his as well. But give Steven Konkoly a chance. Also check out Scott McEwen who co-wrote American Sniper but also has his book series, Sniper Elite: One Way Trip and Sniper Elite: Target America. Will not leave you disappointed at all. In fact One Way Trip is being developed into a movie.

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Clif! I’ve heard of Dalton Fury, and plan to check him out soon. There’s a new up and coming author that I really like, his name is Joshua Hood. Simon and Schuster bought bis first novel, Clear by Fire, and plans to turn his character – Mason Kane – into a franchise guy. His book is out in August, but I was privileged to read an advanced copy and absolutely loved it! Hood was in the military and had a decorated career himself. Check him out!

      I also like Stan Mitchell, who has a couple books out already, and at least two more coming soon.

      Thanks again for your comment, and suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your post. You really need to read Brad Taylor’s books he is a retired Lt Col. From Army his books rival Flynns and Thors

    Like

  3. Thanks for the great page for Mitch Rapp. I fall in the same top authors you have listed. I love and listened to all of Vince’s, Thor’s, Taylor, and Melters books. I listen to all my books because I have very little time to read but time to listen. From any of the authors listed about 2 days to finish and all are on auto buy. I love them all. There is also one other author that I came across that has been getting better he is now on my auto buy Marc Comeron. I am always looking for new authors and fell into rut lately trying to find some others. Thank goodness they all seem to put one out a year and Mr Taylor 2 a year. They all tell a great story. I am looking forward to Kyle Mills and how he will be. Thanks

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s