“Order To Kill” by Kyle Mills is a vintage Vince Flynn book. It is a reminder of the early Rapp novels with Mitch going full circle between his personal and professional life. Readers who enjoyed the character and plot lines will think of “Transfer Of Power” and “Consent To Kill.” Kyle has done a top-notch job of blending the beloved characters of Irene Kennedy and Mitch Rapp with a high adventure, action packed plot.
This book brings back former Navy SEAL Scott Coleman, who is working with Mitch to find Pakistani nukes so they do not fall into terrorists’ hands. As the story progresses, it becomes abundantly clear that Russia’s president, Maxim Vladimirovich Krupin, is working with ISIS terrorists to destabilize the oil resources in the Middle East. The only way to find the culprits and stop these catastrophic consequences is for Mitch to pose as an American ISIS recruit in Iraq, while trying to find and eliminate his Russian nemesis, Grisha Azarov.
Kyle Mills has come into his own. He expands the setting, introduces new characters, and yet is able to stay true to the characters and details created by Vince Flynn. Readers will now see Rapp as someone who realizes he is comfortable with his professional life and can possibly have a personal life as well.
Irene Kennedy continues to be an imperative player in the story in the role of the CIA Director, Mitch’s confidante and the person who is able to connect the dots. She is important in being the focal point for understanding the issues presented in the book. Mitch depends on her to make the hard decisions.
There is a scene in “Order To Kill” where Mitch is confronted with eliminating someone. As in “Consent To Kill,” he walks away from that desire. It is almost as if readers will close their eyes and think of the line Mitch says in the former novel, “Because I’m not a coward. Because… I don’t blow up houses and kill innocents and bystanders.”
“Transfer Of Power” propelled Mitch to the beloved character he is today. In that book there were a number of scenes with him rescuing Anna. In Kyle’s latest book he introduces the character Laleh. The scenes between Mitch and Laleh will once again show how Mitch is a true hero, getting angry when a woman is mistreated while attempting to rescue her. But these scenes are also heart breaking because it shows how ISIS captures women, makes them become sex-slaves, and the desperation faced by these women because there is no way out.
Fans of the legendary Vince Flynn were unsure if Kyle Mills could fill his shoes with the well-developed characters and plots. They loved and hated the month of October. Loved it because a new Mitch Rapp novel came out and hated it because they would have to wait another year for the next one. With “Order To Kill,” readers will get those same feelings. It appears the torch has been passed to Kyle Mills.
See the Q/A Below:
Elise Cooper: Where did you get the idea for this story?
Kyle Mills: My favorite Vince Flynn book, “Consent To Kill,” was the inspiration. In that book Mitch re-found his humanity. I am trying to bring Mitch around to that viewpoint, where he desires a personal life. As a sustainable character Mitch could not stay frustrated and angry, as he was in the last few books. His new attitude, “I have to move on with my life.”
EC: Claudia was married to the man who killed Vince’s wife, Anna. How important is her role in this book?
KM: I wanted to resurrect her as well as other characters. There were all these unresolved ideas in the past books: what ever happened to Claudia, Donatella Rhan or Greta; where are the notes Mitch made before being injured? I hope to continue including Claudia in the books, since she is not the goody good character like Anna. Plus she could be involved in some operations because of her experience.
EC: What do you see as Irene Kennedy’s role in future books?
KM: I see Irene as a pivotal piece in everything that happens in the books, even if sometimes she does not get as much ink as Mitch. I always think of her as the puppet master. By her own admission she is not involved but watches and waits until it becomes necessary for her to be involved.
EC: Your story is very realistic. It is almost like you can pick the U.S. enemy of the week?
KM: There is a lot to draw upon for U.S. thriller writers. The chessboard is getting very complicated. In this book I had Russia using ISIS as well as the dangers of the countries with nuclear arsenals. Putin uses them for his own purposes, and Pakistan is an unstable country, a failed state.
EC: What did you want readers to understand about Russia?
KM: I always found Russia to be very interesting. I liked the complexity of Cold War thriller books, having been a fan of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. The description in the book of how Krupin came to power comes straight out of how Putin came to power. In many ways Russia is a collapsing country with an economy smaller than Italy’s. The minute he does not help the Oligarchs he is in trouble and can find a bullet in his head. I want to show that the U.S. cannot be one dimensional in confronting its enemies that include Jihadists, Russia, North Korea, and China. Russia is seen as a one-man show, where Krupin (Putin) is more concerned about his own power and influence, using the Oligarchs as a crime syndicate organization. I want to demonstrate the desperation of Krupin, how Russia is the poster child for income inequality, and is ridden with drugs.
EC: Vince always had comments on the Saudis participating in terrorism. You appear to be continuing this arc?
KM: Yes, that is why I put in the book quote, “Abdullah was extremely conservative in his religious beliefs… He despised Christians in general and American Christians in particular.” Vince always spoke of the Saudi money and influence in his books. I want to continue with that, and to strike a balance between fun, satisfying, and realistic.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
KM: I like resurrecting the old characters because I have a long history with them as a fan. The next book brings back Donatella and the FBI Agent Joe Wilson. Mitch will be doing some things against the Saudis and all the politicians want hands off. He will be more a lone wolf. Grisha Azarov, Mitch’s Russian nemesis, will return because he is really popular with the readers.