Review: Enemy of the State (Mitch Rapp, #16) by Kyle Mills

Enemy of the State (A Mitch Rapp Novel)
By Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite the title, Enemy of the State actually has nothing to do with Donald Trump and is, in fact, the sixteenth Mitch Rapp novel. (But god, what a Rapp novel that would be if our titular all-American hero were tasked with taking down a traitorous president wedged deeply in the pocket of Russian tyrants!)

This time around, Rapp is on a mission to exact vengeance against a Saudi Royal funding ISIS to carry out attacks on US soil. In the aftermath of 9/11 the American government turned a blind-eye to Saudi involvement in order to protect our oil interests in that region and play it safe politically, and helped to cover-up said Saudi involvement in the name of "national security." Saudi Arabia and its royal family got a sweet deal and a glaringly huge free pass after funding 15 of the 19 al Qaeda hijackers to carry out the largest terror attack ever perpetrated in an American city. After a Saudi prince is caught delivering a briefcase full of cash to an ISIS operative, Rapp is tasked with uncovering this terrorist network and destroying it. Because of the political BS and shenanigans of past presidencies, though, the stakes are higher than ever. The US cannot launch a direct attack against Saudia Arabia or its people with government resources, and must maintain plausible deniability. Therefore Rapp must quit the CIA in order to launch his counteroffensive and risk Enemy of the State.

Plot-wise, I dug the story of this book quite a bit. Ignoring Saudi involvement in 9/11 was one of the biggest failings in our response to the attack, in my opinion, and it's pretty cool to see Kyle Mills use that topic as fodder for a new Mitch Rapp adventure. I also liked the Dirty Half-Dozen aspect behind Rapp's ad hoc team of assassins - it's pretty cool seeing Rapp having to work and strategize on his own without the support of the CIA and his usual team, and there's enough wrinkles along the way to keep one's interest.

For me, though, the best part is seeing Mills continue to humanize Mitch Rapp. After the death of his wife so many books previously, I felt that original series author and creator Vince Flynn was progressively making Rapp into more of a caricature than a character, a sort of Jack Bauer parody with the asocial sociopathic sadism cranked up to 11. Since taking over the series following Flynn's death to cancer, Mills has been slowly shading in Rapp's personality and bringing him closer to humanity than he's been in a very long time. While Rapp is every bit the rugged, no-nonsense assassin of the past, he's also becoming a bit more wry and willing to crack a joke. He's not exactly Charmin soft, but the way Mills has been working the character through his grief and confronting his inner demons has been perfect. Here, we get to see Rapp making some strides towards fatherhood as his relationship with Claudia Gould and her daughter, Anna, continues to deepen, and some of it's quite nice. I'm looking forward to seeing how Rapp and the people in his orbit continue to grow under Mills's stewardship.

And, of course, plenty more terrorist killing. Cause, damn, there's some good ones in here!

[Note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this title from the publisher as a member of their Mitch Rapp Ambassador program.]

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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