Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Review: Memorial Day

I first stumbled across Vince Flynn in 1999 or 2000 with his first Mitch Rapp novel Transfer of Power. Rapp is set up as the CIA's top counter terrorist operative, but a bit of a hothead with a lone wolf streak. Seven books later, Rapp and Flynn are still going strong. I haven't read the sixth or seventh yet, but I just finished Memorial Day (the fifth) and it could be the best of the series since Transfer of Power.

Memorial Day starts out with Rapp interrogating a suspect at a CIA facility in Virginia. Information from this suspect leads to a raid on a meeting of top al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan and the uncovering of a plot to set off a nuclear bomb in Washington, D.C. What follows is the expected: numerous twists and action set pieces in another page-turner from Flynn.

One thing Memorial Day has over the previous installments is the absence of Rapp's wife, Anna Riley. She was an intriguing character in Transfer of Power, her introduction, and it was interesting to see the relationship between her and Rapp grow in The Third Option. But, in the next two books of the series, her purpose seemed to just be a whiny, home front storyline for Rapp. By the end of Executive Power, the fourth Rapp book, I almost completely hated her character.

On to the more artistic side of things, Flynn sparkles yet again. There are long narrative passages throughout the book, but they further the plot instead of being a bunch of hooptedoodle. His pacing is top-notch as well. It was very easy for me to rip through about 100 pages in a sitting, so this 600 page book was finished in less than a week.

Memorial Day and the whole Rapp series are highly recommended. I'll probably order the sixth and seventh books, Consent to Kill and Acts of Treason, over the summer.

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