Friday, January 08, 2010

WMD Book Review: Pursuit of Honor, by Vince Flynn

I used to be a big fan of Tom Clancy's work, but once he started handing everything off to ghostwriters and franchising things out and working on video games, I gave up. It has been a long time since a work of fiction really caught me and I was interested in reading it. Mostly over the past few years I have been reading political history and/or philosophy, as well as the Left Behind Series. I have missed the political/espionage thriller, but I think I have found a new author to get behind. His name is Vince Flynn and the book I read is called Pursuit of Honor.

The protagonist is Mitch Rapp, a CIA special ops guy working on the counter-terrorism side of clandestine services. Mitch is a cross between John Clark of the Jack Ryan series, Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS, with a heavy dose of Jack Bauer thrown in. Mitch is a guy who can handle just about anything, but things get out of control when the nation's capital has just been attacked and members of Congress are killed. All this and Rapp's partner, Mike Nash, appears to be cracking under the pressure. Oh yeah, and the masterminds behind the Washington attack are alive and well and on the loose.

Mitch has to make some tough decisions, including whether or not to liquidate a few traitors he encounters who may have helped leak info that allowed the terrorists to do their deadly deed, which included an attack on the National CounterTerrorism Center. Mitch has to cross some lines for the security of the nation, and when his partner Nash goes wobbly, Mitch has to decide what to do with him. All this while trying to track down and punish those responsible for the attacks. And he has to face down idiotiarian libs in Congress whose hypocriy knows no bounds (bears a striking resemblance to Pelosi or Boxer or Feinstein).

Flynn's style is quick-witted and full of dirty language, to be expected of people out on the edge of legality and swimming in the waters of international espionage without a net. Rapp's instant analysis of situations fits well with a man who has to make snap decisions or thousands die, and fit in well with a man for whom killing has become a standard operating procedure in his job. Rapp is at times menacing, compassionate, and deceptive--but at all times he is focused on finding and stopping terrorists. He knows the score and he knows that they are out to kill us. He also has a huge contempt for the DC elite, those who sit and listen to pantywaisted academics but have no clue about reality, and he is not afraid to stand up even to the President.

The book is well written and has a fast pace and gritty style reminiscent of cop drama as well as the finest of spy pulp. Flynn combines this with an excellent knowledge of current events and the political scene and pulse of those who sit in power, and those who defend this country from all threats--foreign and domestic. It is a wild ride with stops in DC, Nassau, Arkansas, and an island in the Azores. Flynn weaves a story that must be read almost with the same urgency Rapp has in needing to capture the terrorists. It is addictive and at some times is quite difficult to put down.

With all the failures in national security recently, this book is stark in its possiblity of actually happening. The density and ignorance of those in power is aptly shown by Flynn, almost as if he were writing about the current Congress with those who sit in ivory towers and don't understand the nature of the conflict or the enemy. Flynn's brutal assessments through the eyes of his characters should give every American pause. His tales are quite plausible, and in the wake of the underwear bomber, quite possible. Let's just hope there are more Mike Rapp's out there than one.

I had heard of Vince Flynn but had not read any of his previous works. This book made me a fan and I hope to read more of his work, and hope to encounter more of the mysterious and menacing Mike Rapp and his quest to make America safe, even for those who hate him and what he stands for because they are so focused more on being liked than in doing what is right. Check this book out if you are looking for an espionage/action fix...I give it 5 atomic explosions out of 5.