Saturday 19 May 2012

Book review : Kill Shot - Vince Flynn

The series of books and the internationally-acclaimed TV series Dexter popularised the idea that serial killers could sometimes be nice guys working for the good of humanity despite their thirst for blood and vengeance. In many ways, Vince Flynn's Kill Shot perpetuates this idea. The central character, Mitch Rapp, is a ruthless and efficient assassin, working for the CIA to eliminate the international threats and terrorists on his hit list.

He's very good at what he does but, one day, on a totally (for him at least) routine job taking out a Libyan diplomat, everything goes to pot and he finds himself ambushed, being shot at from all sides. He manages to escape but has to work out what went wrong and who set him up, as well as who they're working for.

It's a fast-paced, action-packed tale of espionage, secret agents and back-stabbing that could be made into a classic thriller on the big screen. It will undoubtedly appeal to male readers (I always wonder whether the male version of chick-lit should be a rhyming equivalent starting with d !) and anyone who likes adrenalin-fuelled thrillers.

I did find it hard to keep track of who was who, largely because many of the characters in lesser roles are very flimsy and one-sided. Even for the main characters, we are given little background information about their lives or their histories so, ultimately, we don't really care what happens to them. Adding more personal information and giving the characters more depth would add much more emotional impact to the story.

Having done a quick bit of research, I discovered that this is in fact the twelfth book in the Mitch Rapp series and the second prequel, going back to his early life that long preceded events in the earlier books of the series. That presumably explains why I felt that the character wasn't fleshed out enough - anyone having read almost a dozen books featuring him must have a pretty good idea of who he is, without getting new details here. A lot of Mitch Rapp fans seem to have a "take-it-or-leave-it" reaction to this particular book, which I have to admit I share. It isn't really bad but it wasn't impressive enough to make me go "wow, I need to go and read the entire back catalogue now" ! To be fair to the author, he was going through some pretty tough treatment for cancer while writing this book so I feel I haven't seen him, or his work, at its best. My advice would therefore be to check out the series but to start with one of the earlier books, until you've got a clearer idea of the bigger picture and the characters involved.

Star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (24 May 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0857208683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857208682

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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  1. First time I am seeing a 3.5/5!! Thanks for the advice on checking out the earlier books

    1. There have been some others with 3.5! - the lowest I have ever given is a 1/5 but I won't be mean and tell you which book that was for !!!

  2. I quite like the sound of this book but no sure I could follow it as it sounds like it would get me quite confused!

  3. I'm a bit concerned about the way books and tv can try to turn an absolutely dreadful person - a serial killer for goodness sake - into a hero.

    I can absolutely get the point of book and TV heros needing a dark side. I also understand that real human characteristics need to be exaggerated for dramatic effect - but there is absolutely nothing anyone can do in literature to make me warm to a serial killer.

    Suffice to say, this isn't a series that I'll be checking out.

    1. Agree with what you say but in this series, he's a professional assassin working for the government taking out terrorists so you have to look at him more as you would a soldier than a serial killer.

  4. I love Vince Flynn's books and Mitch Rapp is awesome. Have a pile of his books in the study to read. Sorry to hear this one doesn't seem quite so good, but I do agree that you probably need to read the series to appreciate the characters (if that makes sense). x


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