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"Memorial Day" is the 6th book in Vince Flynn's series, and the 5th to feature CIA agent Mitch Rapp. Coming off of "Executive Power" which, in my opinion, was one of the greatest parts of the series so far, I wasn't if Memorial Day would be a letdown or not. Luckily, it was not, and I have to say that now that I've finished it, I really am having a conflict over whether or not the NEXT book will top this one.
The plot of Memorial Day is much more complex than what we're used to seeing in this series, mainly because it has so many twists and turns. It begins with Mitch Rapp flying over to Afghanistan and helping coordinate a commando raid on an al-Qaeda village. After the raid, Rapp finds plans for a nuclear strike on Washington. With the plans of the strike in hand, a snowball of events begins in D.C. Since it is an election year for President Hayes, the story involves lots of classic Mitch Rapp-Valerie Jones arguing over politics versus the actions that need to be taken to ensure safety.
What I really enjoyed about the plot though, is that there was much more depth to it than what first meets the eye. Believe it or not, finding the nuclear bomb was actually the "boring" part of the novel. For example, what I described in the above paragraph is really just the first 150 pages or so of the book. So what are the other 400 pages about? Well, after the bomb is found (yes, I hate to spoil it but they don't set off a nuke in Washington), Mitch Rapp continues to hunt down the terrorists that smuggled it into the country in the first place. For whatever reason, the rest of Washington doesn't seem too concerned about them, at least until Rapp finds evidence that leads them to believe there is a SECOND nuke, and that's where the story really kicks off.
Although Memorial Day might be my favorite book in the series, there are still a couple of things about it that bug me a bit. Although raiding a remote al-Qaeda village and finding a nuclear bomb may seem quite thrilling.. it just really isn't. I think the way it's written doesn't help it either. Basically a bunch of characters are introduced that don't help advance the plot throughout the rest of the novel, making it all appear rather pointless as you go from chapter to chapter.
Another thing I found a bit questionable about this book was the lack of Anna Reilly as a whole. Early on in the book it is mentioned to the reader that she is visiting her family in Wisconsin, and that Rapp is going to join them as soon as possible for the holidays. I realize that by taking her character out of D.C., Flynn is given more room to work with with the nuclear bombs and such, for now there is no need for Mitch to make plans to get her out of the city or anything. Still though, maybe a phone call here or there.. anything really, would at least remind us of the fact that the two of them are married.
Lastly, as I foreshadowed above, the entire predicament of the story is just a little too extraordinary for me. A nuclear bomb in Washington D.C... seriously? I mean, it's probably the absolute worst thing that Flynn could have the terrorists doing, therefore it allows the politicians to have some of the craziest reactions. At the same time though, it's a little frustrating when the reader knows deep down that the are going to fail because, let's be honest, Vince Flynn is not going to end a story with thousands of people getting nuked. I realize you could say the same thing about most other novels, but this one in particular stands out because you know the terrorists are going to really have no success at all. Like in "Transfer of Power", you know the terrorists will die in the end, but at least they claim some success in capturing the White House. Whereas in Memorial Day you know that whatever they do, it's going to fail.
Despite what may seem like a lot of "critiquing", this is still my favorite book in the series. To be perfectly honest, I think that's why I can critique it so well, since I love the book so much it makes it much easier to point out a couple of flaws. Seriously though, don't let the drawbacks I discussed earlier prevent you from picking this book up, it's definitely worth the read.
When the CIA learn of a plot by Al-Qaeda to detonate a nuclear bomb in Washington, they send top agent Mitch Rapp to Afghanistan to find out more. In his own way Rapp finds out the target, location of the bomb and the location of the intended attacks. He even manages to wipe out a few top-ranking terrorists on the way. Something doesn't quite sit right with Rapp though, it was all far too easy and he thinks he's missed something. With Memorial Day fast approaching Rapp still feels he's missed something he follows his instincts but what else could Rapp uncover.
This is the third of Vince Flynn's books I've read and the more I read of them the more addicted I seem to becoming. With a strong lead character, Flynn has managed to make Mitch Rapp into the star of a number of books. It doesn't seem to matter which of the books you start with either as Flynn provides enough background on his lead character that the series is very easy to pick up from any point. Unlike a few authors in this genre Flynn seems to prefer to base all his novels on the one main character, perhaps it's through familiarity or maybe it's just easier than creating new lead characters, regardless this character really works for him.
As Flynn is so at ease with his lead character and the world he has created around him it makes it seems to make the stories seem like a passion rather than another novel. His writing seems to get really involved in Rapp's world and it comes across that Flynn has a real passion for his characters and the stories he is writing. As a result of Flynn's obvious passion for the plot of each of his stories it also immersed me into the story as well and I really found it hard to put the book down. This would perhaps explain why I finished it within 24 hours.
Unlike a few novels I have read recently Flynn's work doesn't seem to be laced with silly little mistakes that could have been easily avoided. In fact the only downside to his books is probably due to the content and subject matter. His work has taken on quite a chunk of America's war on terrorism and for some people this will really put them off these novels. Of course this is perfectly understandable but if you aren't put off by the subject matter I think that Flynn will impress with his writing and just how addictive the story actually is.
In Mitch Rapp, Flynn has really created a lead character with a certain air around him. He comes across as the typical special agent, doing things his way, regardless of the consequences and I think thats what makes him so likeable. He breaks the rules and keeps you reading, unsure if he'll really push it that far and when he does, not quite believing he did. Of course it isn't just the lead character that makes Flynn's books so addictive and easy to read. He has created a world around Rapp that seems to really engross the reader more with every read.
While the characters play a good supporting role the first time I read Flynn's novels the more I read the more I get used to certain personalities and mannerisms and being able to predict their reactions to certain situations. He also seems to put a lot of thought and research into his bad guys and their scheme's to make the situation more convincing and perhaps a little bit too like real life than anyone perhaps realises.
Overall the more novels by flynn I read the more impressed with his work I become. These books would make for excellent films and really lend themselves to the action genre well. Flynn has some views on why they never will become films, which can be read on his website. Regardless of that though, unless the Al-Qaeda, war on terror theme will put you off I think these make for enjoyable, readable books that hook you from the first page to the last. His all action style certainly draws you in and makes you want to read.
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