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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reading List: Memorial Day

Flynn, Vince. Memorial Day. New York: Pocket Books, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7434-5398-1.
In this, the fifth novel in the Mitch Rapp (warning—the article at this link contains minor spoilers) series the author returns from the more introspective view of the conflicting loyalties and priorities of the CIA's most effective loose cannon in previous novels to pen a rip-roaring edge-of-the-seat thriller which will keep you turning pages until the very last. I packed this as an “airplane book” and devoured the whole 574 page brick in less than 48 hours after I opened it on the train to the airport. Flynn is a grand master of the “just one more chapter before I go to sleep” thriller, and this is the most compelling of his novels I've read to date.

Without giving away any more than the back cover blurb, the premise is a nuclear terrorist attack on Washington, and the details of the detection of such a threat and the response to it are so precise that a U.S. government inquiry was launched into how Flynn got his information (answer—he has lots of fans in the alphabet soup agencies within a megaton or so of the Reflecting Pool). While the earlier novels in the Mitch Rapp chronicle are best read in order, you can pick this one up and enjoy it stand-alone: sure, you'll miss some of the nuances of the backgrounds and interactions among the characters, but the focus here is on crisis, mystery, taking expedient action to prevent a catastrophic outcome, and the tension between those committed to defending their nation and those committed to protecting the liberties which make that nation worthy of being defended.

As with most novels in which nuclear terrorism figures, I have some quibbles with the details, but I'm not going to natter upon them within a spoiler warning block because they made absolutely no difference to my enjoyment of this yarn. This is a thriller by a master of the genre at the height of his powers, which has not been dated in any way by the passing of years since its publication. Enjoy!

Posted at December 22, 2009 02:32