Killer Nashville Book of the Day

Order to Kill by Kyle Mills
Reviewed by G. Robert Frazier

Vince Flynn’s CIA agent Mitch Rapp is in good hands with author Kyle Mills, who takes Rapp to the limit in his latest novel, Order to Kill ($28.99, Atria Books). This time around, Rapp is called upon to ferret out the location of nuclear fuel stolen from a half dozen Pakistani warheads and prevent the fissile material from being detonated in a series of dirty bombs.

Rapp goes deep undercover, taking on the identity of an American ISIS recruit. In doing so, he subjects himself to a ferocious beating at the hands of a friend in order to mimic the wounds inflicted on the actual recruit by interrogators. Apparently there is no easier way to play the part—there are no makeup artists on hand—showing the lengths that Rapp will go for God and country.

At the same time, Rapp is desperate to discover the identity of a Russian assassin who has critically injured his friend, Scott Coleman. Grisha Azarov, who is in the employ of Russian President Maxim Krupin, has an agenda of his own—specifically the death of Rapp—setting the stage for a knockdown kill-or-be-killed faceoff between the two.

Mills writes with authority and skill, making him a worthy successor to Flynn, who died in 2013. His prose literally puts you in the middle of the action so that you feel like you are ducking bullets right alongside Rapp.

While Rapp isn’t known for sentiment —this is an action-thriller, after all—Mills does a good job attempting to humanize him somewhat in this outing. For instance, when his friend Coleman is nearly killed, Rapp is clearly upset. He shirks orders just to bring Coleman home, even though it means letting his adversary get away.

Despite all of that, you never feel like Rapp is in any mortal danger. That’s the downside to a series character like Rapp or James Bond or Jack Bauer. You know that no matter what happens, he’ll survive and he’ll get the bad guy. It takes a bit of the suspense out, but not much. Because in the end, what readers really want from adventures like these is a hero kicking butt and taking names, which Rapp is.

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When he’s not working on his own novel or screenplays, G. Robert Frazier writes about other writers and their works on his blog and other sites such as BookPage and US Review of Books. He is a script reader for both the Austin Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competitions and is a member of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association. He used to write and edit stories for several newspapers in the Nashville area until the industry caved in on itself and set him free. And he once won a flash fiction contest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, so there’s that.