Over the past couple of years, Vince Flynn has been filling in the early, or “hidden,” years of Mitch Rapp, the covert CIA agent who many of us hope has a real-world model out there. While the recently published AMERICAN ASSASSIN and KILL SHOT told the story of Rapp’s origin, Flynn’s latest places him very much in the here and now. Rapp is an uncompromising irresistible force capable of knocking any object in his way off its pins. THE LAST MAN finds Rapp in his 40s, extremely capable, but physically if not emotionally vulnerable as he faces enemies from within and without while in pursuit of a security breach that threatens to expose CIA assets to America’s enemies throughout the world.
"Certainly, THE LAST MAN is one of Flynn’s most complex installments in the Rapp canon to date. And Flynn, master storyteller that he is, skillfully navigates the reader through the twists and turns of the tale to a conclusion that puts the main plot elements to rest while setting up the next intriguing volume."
The novel begins in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, with Rapp in the middle of the aftermath of carnage. Such is not an unusual place for him; what is unusual in this particular case is that he is not the cause of it. The situs is a safe house set up around Joe Rickman, the head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan; the house has been compromised, with Rickman’s bodyguards murdered, his all-important computer gone, and Rickman himself missing, an apparent kidnapping victim. Irene Kennedy, the director of the CIA, has tasked Rapp with investigating Rickman’s abduction and finding him, no matter what the cost.
Rapp is disturbed by what he finds; there are some things that simply do not add up at the scene. He is not entirely sure of what has actually occurred; what neither he nor Kennedy realize, though, is that Rapp is slowly being drawn into a trap, one in which he will be confronted with one of his deadliest adversaries, someone who has cost Rapp more than perhaps anyone ever has. Events conspire to make the two men uneasy allies in a firestorm where they are confronted with almost overwhelming odds. But the question remains: Who is orchestrating these events, which include Rickman’s disappearance and the attack against Rapp?
Matters becomes even more dangerous when a shocking video is posted on the Internet that leaves Kennedy scrambling and Rapp looking for answers. The trail Rapp follows leads from the violent streets of Afghanistan to the twisted hallways of power in Washington, D.C., where a corrupt politician conspires with a power-hungry bureaucrat to bring Rapp down and Kennedy with him, even at the cost of the lives of CIA intelligence sources working behind enemy lines. Rapp has a good idea as to who is pulling the strings, and as the twists and turns of the plot against the CIA are slowly uncovered, he will need to utilize every element he possesses in his considerable skill set to come out alive.
Surprises abound here. These are not limited to plot change-ups; events conspire to reveal a couple of hitherto unknown sides of Rapp’s personality. Additionally, he does something that is totally necessary but undoubtedly will have a number of readers screaming “No!” even as he… But that would be telling. Certainly, THE LAST MAN is one of Flynn’s most complex installments in the Rapp canon to date. And Flynn, master storyteller that he is, skillfully navigates the reader through the twists and turns of the tale to a conclusion that puts the main plot elements to rest while setting up the next intriguing volume.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 16, 2012