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The making of an assassin
on 27 December 2010
Vince Flynn has written a series of books featuring undercover CIA counter-terrorism agent Mitch Rapp. "American Assassin" is a prequel to the series which explains how Rapp started his career. I have not read any of the other books in this series, but this seemed a good place to start.
The story is set in the late 1980s. The CIA want to form a team of black ops agents who will operate independently from the CIA and who can carry out assassinations of US enemies. They recruit a half dozen likely prospects. Most are ex-military, but one (Mitch Rapp) is a 23 year old college graduate and star athlete, who has his own personal motivations for choosing this career. The course is gruelling and all but two of the applicants fail or drop out. Over the next year, Rapp and another agent are taught the tricks of the trade: how to approach a safe house, how to communicate with your handlers, how to react when you are being fired upon, how to kill efficiently. Only when Rapp's training is complete is he despatched on his first assignment: to kill a Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie. From here the story moves between Germany, Switzerland, Moscow and Beirut.
This is an accomplished thriller. The pace throughout is steady, the characters are well developed and the storyline feels plausible. It builds to an explosive climax and left me wanting more. Recommended.