Review: American Assassin by Vince Flynn

Title: American Assassin
Author: Vince Flynn
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Atria (Simon & Schuster)
Format: hardback
Rating: 3.5/5
Read for: Amazon Best of 2010 Challenge

Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world… and then tragedy struck.
Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics have left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protegee, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command–men who do not exist.
What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Kennedy finds him in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Two hundred and seventy souls perished that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. He wanted retribution.
Six months of intense training have prepared him to bring the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. Rapp then moves on to Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of his existance and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

My Thoughts

I flew through the first half of the book. I couldn’t get enough. The second half got a little more bogged down, more political, and I had a hard time keeping track of names. Eventually, I gave up trying to keep track. It was much more interesting to read about Mitch Rapp, so that’s what I did.
I’m a little torn about this book. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After reading the synopsis, I thought maybe it would be a bit like Jason Bourne, only without the memory loss, and I was some-what right. But Mitch Rapp comes across as already a little bit super-human before he even goes into training to be a “superagent”, whatever that is, and it took a little bit of the reality out of it for me. Mitch Rapp is not military–he’s a fresh-out-of-college athlete. I got a little lost with that; somehow, being a natural athlete made him capable of learning everything fairly easily, and not only the physical stuff.
Anyway, overall I really liked the book, but spies aren’t really my cup-of-tea. I’m interested in Rapp’s character enough to try to start at the beginning of the series (this was book eleven).

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