CONSENT TO KILL
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CONSENT TO KILL heralds the welcome return of Mitch Rapp, CIA operative extraordinaire. Rapp is not afraid to color outside the lines, and he usually uses a red crayon; he's one of those guys who you're thankful to have on your side, watching the collective back of the country --- unless of course you are given the thankless job of attempting to rein him in. The problem is that Rapp is almost always right, so reining him in is the wrong course of action to take; better by far to let him do what he needs to do. Rapp is who you go to when there is a need to work outside of the U.S. Constitution in order to preserve it; the result is that he has a tendency to acquire right-thinking friends, and wrong-thinking enemies.
The nefarious plot that Rapp is forced to thwart in CONSENT TO KILL is an extremely personal one. Saeed Ahmed Abdullah holds Rapp personally responsible for the death of his son, a terrorist whose plot against the United States was thwarted by Rapp. Abdullah now wants revenge; to obtain it, he goes to his powerful friend Prince Muhammad bin Rashid. Rashid lives in the shadow of his half-brother, the crown prince, and Rashid despises him as a weak-kneed tool of the west. Seeing a way to aid his friend while undermining the prince's authority --- and increasing his own --- Rashid sets a plan in motion to assassinate Rapp, an idea almost as bold as it is unthinkable. It is also done at tremendous risk, as Rapp has previously demonstrated a great and unquenchable capacity for revenge. If the plot fails, all who are involved know that Rapp will stop at nothing to exact total retribution.
Flynn is at his best here, as he describes the labyrinthian plotting through which an assassination team is located and retained. There are layers upon layers of duplicity, traveling up and down the chain of command in a world where trust is an elusive commodity. Flynn takes an interesting chance here as well, making CONSENT TO KILL in part a character study of the instrument of the assassination attempt. The result is a work that is equal parts psychological thriller and action thriller with a conclusion that, while controversial, is oddly and unexpectedly satisfying.
In CONSENT TO KILL Flynn combines a mesmerizing protagonist with a superb plot and an addicting narrative to create the latest installment of his ongoing treatise as to how the world far removed from the perfumed princes and talking heads truly works. Highly recommended. ---
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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