Flynn, Vince. Executive Power. New York: Pocket Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7434-5396-7.
This is the fourth novel in the Mitch Rapp (warning—the article at this link contains minor spoilers) series. At the end of the third novel, Separation of Power (August 2009), Rapp's identity was outed by a self-righteous and opportunistic congressman (who gets what's coming to him), and soon-to-be-married Rapp prepares to settle down at a desk job in the CIA's counterterrorism centre. But it's hard to keep a man of action down, and when political perfidy blows the cover on a hostage rescue operation in the Philippines, resulting in the death of two Navy SEALs, Rapp gets involved in the follow-up reprisal operation in a much more direct manner than anybody expected, and winds up with a non-life-threatening but extremely embarrassing and difficult to explain injury (hint, he spends most of the balance of the book standing up). Rapp has no hesitation in taking on terror masters single-handed, but he finds himself utterly unprepared for the withering scorn unleashed against him by the two women in his life: bride and boss.

Rapp soon finds himself on the trail of a person much like himself: an assassin who works in the shadows and leaves almost no traces of evidence. This malefactor, motivated by the desire for a political outcome just as sincere as Rapp's wish to protect his nation, is manipulating (or being manipulated by?) a rogue Saudi billionaire bent on provoking mayhem in the Middle East. The ever meddlesome chief of the Mossad is swept into the scheme, and events spiral toward the brink as Rapp tries to figure out what is really going on. The conclusion gets Rapp involved up close and personal, the way he likes it, and comes to a satisfying end.

This is the first of the Mitch Rapp novels to be written after the terrorist attacks of September 2001. Other than a few oblique references to those events, little in the worldview of the series has changed. Flynn's attention to detail continues to shine in this story. About the only unrealistic thing is imagining the U.S. government as actually being serious and competent in taking the battle to terrorists. See my comments on the first installment for additional details about the series and a link to an interview with the author.

September 2009 Permalink