Editor Note: This review was originally posted over at TheRealBookSpy.com, you can see it in its original form there.
Fresh off the heels of last year’s The Survivor, which was praised both by fans and critics on its way to earning #1 triple crown status on the New York Times bestsellers list, Kyle Mills returns with his second contribution to the Mitch Rapp franchise that was originally created by the late Vince Flynn.
Unlike last year, when Mills was tasked with fitting a story around the three pages that Flynn had written before his passing (and which also happened to be a direct sequel to 2012’s The Last Man), he now had full creative range to craft his own story from start to finish, and the final product is nothing short of amazing.
Mills knows just what fans want out of a Mitch Rapp book, and he delivers in a big way.
Between his deep understanding of who the characters are and what makes them tick, and his ability to masterfully weave heart-pounding suspense with nonstop action, Kyle Mills does more than just pick up where Flynn left off, he’s elevated this franchise to another level entirely.
Everyone who claims to enjoy thrillers should read this book. In fact, I dare you to read this book. If you don’t absolutely love it, it’s time for you to try another genre.
Set just a few weeks after the events of The Survivor, the Central Intelligence Agency is still dealing with some fallout from what went down in Pakistan. With the Rickman files a thing of the past, a new problem revolves around President Chutani’s struggle to thwart an impending coup as one of his top generals continues to threaten his position of power.
With the situation already dicey and growing worse by the day, Chutani has taken extreme measures to protect his nation’s nuclear arsenal, ensuring that they don’t fall into enemy hands. To do that, though, the nuclear warheads are constantly being transported to and from various bunkers and bases around the country, leaving them vulnerable to an attack.
CIA Director Dr. Irene Kennedy, fully aware of the situation in Pakistan and the possible dangers that could unfold should one of those nukes go missing, has dispatched various teams to help run surveillance and babysit the warheads. But when solid intel suggests that one warhead, in particular, will be targeted by an unknown terrorist group, there’s only one man who can be trusted to oversee an operation to keep that from happening.
Legendary American assassin Mitch Rapp lands in Pakistan with just enough time to rendezvous with his team and gear up for the planned assault. Their goal is to neutralize anyone who makes a play for the nuke and secure the warhead themselves. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan.
Unbeknownst to Rapp and his team, one of the world’s elite assassins is working with the Islamic terrorists to set a trap for the famed CIA operative.
Grisha Azarov has spent his entire career hiding deep in Russia’s shadows for one reason, to stay off of Rapp’s radar until the time was right. Younger, faster, stronger, and better-looking than Mitch, Grisha has literally been molded into a lethal killer with unmatched ability. Seriously, this dude is like the Ivan Drago of contract killers, and he’s eager to finally test himself against Mitch.
Their showdown, however, is delayed when one of Rapp’s teammates, a face that longtime fans of the series will immediately recognize, accidentally finds himself where Mitch was supposed to be standing and promptly takes a lightning-fast beating at the hands of Grisha Azarov.
Apart from the fact that Rapp and Kennedy are stunned to learn that Grisha has never previously popped up on their radar, the second takeaway from the entire debacle is that his presence suggests that the Russians are involved. But why?
As Rapp and Kennedy use different means to find answers, they both confirm that the terror group in question is none other than ISIS. When a twist in the story causes further problems and little time to deal with them, Rapp does the most unthinkable and dangerous thing he’s ever attempted.
He goes undercover to infiltrate the Islamic State.
When Mitch Rapp enters the picture, bad guys stop breathing in bunches. And in Order To Kill, the body count has never been higher as Rapp leaves behind a bloody trail on his way to trying to stop a nuclear catastrophe–and his inevitable showdown with Grisha Azarov, which is now personal.
Unlike in the past, though, Rapp is shown to be human. He bleeds a lot, and for the first time ever, he may truly be in over his head. With the clock running and an attack that would undoubtedly have global implications looming, Mitch Rapp might have finally found himself in a fight he cannot win.
Written with the same nonstop action and nail-biting suspense that readers of Vince Flynn have come to expect, Kyle Mills proves once again that there’s no better writer on the planet to steer this franchise moving forward.
Longtime fans of the series can rest assured that Order To Kill doesn’t just meet the high standards set by Vince Flynn, it’s the best book in the series since Consent To Kill (2005).
Mitch Rapp is back, and he’s on his most dangerous mission yet.
WHY I LOVED IT
Mills has taken every step to ensure that his books are completely authentic to the characters and universe Flynn created and defined over the course of a brilliant career and fourteen bestselling novels.
While some fans will get caught up comparing Mills’ work to Flynn’s, my advice is to not even waste your time. Flynn, considered a legend by many, is one of the all-time greats. If he could be so easily replaced and his style replicated, then he wouldn’t have been as special of a talent as he was.
Instead, look at Mills as representing the second phase of the Mitch Rapp saga. While their style isn’t exactly the same (though Mills has done a terrific job adapting to the way Vince wrote and structured his books), the important stuff remains unchanged.
It’s sort of like a new director taking over a film franchise. The actors remain, but the creative vision is new and offers a fresh, exciting take on things. Such is the case here, and frankly, it’s a nice change of pace to the somewhat predictable format Flynn had just fallen into with his last few books.
That’s not a knock on Flynn, but rather an honest observation. Readers could easily predict where some of his books would end; it was all about Rapp’s journey getting to that point. It worked, obviously, but Mills has added in more suspense and twists along the way. Especially in this one!
Much like fans of Star Wars were feeling nostalgic watching The Force Awakens, fans of this series will have similar goose bumps and chills as Mills revisits a number of things from earlier books.
Little things like Mitch strapping on a fanny pack to carry his gun, or readers finally getting to see the house he was originally building for him and his wife, adds a compelling infusion of emotions to the steady stream of fireworks and hammer fists.
Oh, and the epic showdown between Rapp and Grisha is seriously one for the ages. A combination of the fight between Dwayne Johnson’s and Vin Diesel’s characters in Fast Five and Sherlock Holmes taking on Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the two assassins meet in a battle of brute force, precision, intellect, and battlefield instincts.
Taking you inside the minds of both men as it all goes down, it’s not only Kyle Mills’ best scene in the book, it’s quite possibly the best several pages of his entire writing career.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT
Mitch Rapp is a character like no other, who stands king of the hill against the genre’s other series protagonists. There are only two types of readers–those who are fans of Mitch Rapp, and those who have yet to meet him.
Kyle Mills makes his presence felt, yet still manages to stay true to the characteristics and details that made Mitch Rapp a household name. A bona fide superstar, Order To Kill signals the completion of Kyle Mill’s ascent towards the very top of the thriller genre, where he now sits with Brad Thor and Daniel Silva.
Author: Kyle Mills
Pages: 374 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: October 11, 2016 (Order now!)