Review: Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn

Transfer of Power Vince Flynn

4 of 5 stars

Mitch Rapp 3?

My version:
Paperback
Fiction Thriller
Simon & Schuster
2000/2011
Bought

What if America’s most powerful leader was also its prime target?

On a busy Washington morning, the stately calm of the White House is shattered in a hail of gunfire. A group of terrorists has gained control of the executive mansion by means of a violent massacre. Through luck and quick thinking, the president is evacuated to his underground bunker – but not before almost one hundred hostages are taken.

One man is sent to take control of the crisis. Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, determines that the president is not as safe as Washington’s power elite think. Moving stealthily among the corridors and secret passageways of the White House, Rapp makes a chilling discovery that could rock America to its core; someone within his own government wants the rescue attempt to fail.

The only problem I had with this one, was placing it in the character of Mitch Rapp’s timeline, as it were. I’d got hold of a list of the books written by Mr Flynn before his untimely death, and Transfer of Power comes in at number three. However, there’s many a mention of it having been ten years since Mitch Rapp joined the CIA ‘programme.’ So, there’s me thinking ‘well, if there are twelve books so far (possibly as many as 15 soon) he must be a bloody pensioner in the later books. Resting his sniper rifle on his zimmer frame and smiting terrorists severely about the head and shoulders with his colostomy bag!’

But no, a passing expert, @MitchRappFans, informs me all is well. I think he means, that the light of revelation will shine upon me as I progress through the series.

And progress, I will. I’ve taken the liberty of ordering up to (what my list tells me is) number 7. Mr Flynn died before number 12 was released and that seems to have been finished by someone else. (Quite possibly) the same someone else, is going to carry on with the character. Much like the excellent work done by Eric Van Lustbader, with the Bourne series i guess.

I haven’t checked dates or anything yet, but I’d be somewhat surprised if the people behind recent films like Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down haven’t had a sneaky glance at the back of this one while in WH Smiths. I think I’ve only seen bits of one or the other of those films, so I can’t say if they’ve ripped Rapp off, though if they have, good for them.

What really impressed me, was the calm (under the circumstances and under the deadly race against time story) look at American politics, that this book actually is. That he can build that all in, seamlessly into a book that is tense, complicated and thrilling, is incredibly impressive, given the genre, market, publisher pressures there must have been. I’d really have liked to talk to Mr Flynn about that, to see if I’m right or not (I’ve been known to be wrong,  it can happen). It seems like Mr Flynn, like most everyone outside the USA and House of Congress, or whatever it’s called they fuck about in, isn’t too impressed with the whole system in place at the moment. He has to write a book where the bad guys get killed and can’t write that the White House and everyone in it is levelled, but you get the feeling he’d have liked to, very much. There’s probably a draft lying in a vault somewhere, where the whole of the legislature was called to a meeting in TWH and the terrorists blew the whole thing sky-high, Mitch Rapp somehow escaping to fight another day.

It’s an excellent, value for money, thoughtful plot and well-developed story. The writing is neat and crisp, and generally a level or two above the flash and trash that plagues a lot of ‘this sort of thing.’ There are perhaps too many numbers ‘punched in’ for comfort, but as I was so enamoured of the thoughtfulness, nuance and daring really, of the subplot, I’m letting him off. You know that ‘this sort of thing’ could only ever happen in books – both the White House being taken and the CIA having someone out there knocking off terrorist leaders, however, that doesn’t become an issue as the basic story is so plausible, resting on human error, I think they’d call it. Though, as the book seems to say, money is the root of all evil, and cock-ups, on both sides.

You can buy Transfer of Power at The Book Depository

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

American AssassinThe Bourne Ascendancy

 

 

 

Me, on Goodreads

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