Mitch Rapp is back, and he’s here to stay.
Since taking over for the late Vince Flynn with The Survivor (2015), author Kyle Mills has won over diehard fans of the franchise thanks, in part, to his dedication and consistency, constantly churning out high-quality Mitch Rapp thrillers year after year.
With numerous #1 New York Times bestselling Rapp novels under his belt, and his sixth—Total Power—set to come out in September, Mills has successfully completed both his original three-book deal signed in 2014 and the second deal that was inked back in 2017.
Fear not, though, Rapp ambassadors, because Mills (who wrote 14 books, most of them bestsellers, before coming on to replace Flynn) has officially re-upped for three more books—due out in 2021, 2022, and 2023—which are slated to be once again be published by Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Atria Books at publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster.
“The fan support has been incredible. Overwhelming. Amazing,” said Kyle Mills in an exclusive statement to The Real Book Spy. “Seriously, way beyond anything I could have imagined. They love Mitch and have been really excited about where I’ve taken him both plot and character-wise.”
Mills, who told me he’s “thrilled” to continue writing in the series, also touched on the fact that things are a bit different this time around than when he first took over the series nearly six years ago.
Picture, for a moment, what life was like back in 2014-2015, and how many things have changed just since then. As odd as it seems, though Vince Flynn wrote about radical Islamic terrorism for well over a decade, the iconic author (who passed in 2013) never saw the rise of ISIS, let alone the pandemic that hit earlier this year—or any other major world event that writers today must tackle in their books if they hope to stay current and timely.
“At first, the goal was to stick strictly to Vince’s style—something that was possible because I was writing The Survivor in the same world he’d written The Last Man. Now, I have to adapt to the present day. Just like I’m sure he would have,” Mills noted before offering a clue about where the series might be headed with the next three books.
“I see the series tracking the massive real-world geopolitical changes going on in a way that allows me to keep throwing new challenges at Mitch. The trend of countries becoming more insular and perhaps less democratic creates interesting opportunities, particularly for internal threats.”
Throwing “new challenges” at Rapp has been Mills’ forte. Whether it was Mitch losing a loved one (The Survivor), finally creating an antagonist who could stand toe-to-toe with the American assassin (Order to Kill), forcing him to take a leave from the CIA (Enemy of the State), pitting him up against a world leader hellbent on starting a nuclear war (Red War), or Rapp taking on his first biothreat (Lethal Agent), which might just be his biggest headline-beating plot yet, Mills has had no shortage of problems for Rapp to solve.
“Certainly, I have a much deeper understanding of the character,” said Mills, speaking to his knowledge of the character now versus when he first stepped into the Rappverse. “And I’m more sympathetic to the forces that made him who he is today. One of the reasons I’m trying to give the guy a little happiness now is that I feel kind of bad for him. He’s had a hard life.”
That hard life continues in Total Power—which Publishers Weekly called “suspenseful, strikingly original” and “as riveting as anything penned by Mitch’s creator, Vince Flynn”—after someone attacks the United States’ power grid. When America goes dark, Rapp goes off . . . and it’s once again up to him to find out who initiated the attack and track them down before it’s too late. (You can read my full review here to see why it’s my pick for best book of 2020.)
Having already contributed five books to the series, plus a new one coming next month and three more on the horizon, it’s hard to adequately capture how much Mills means to this franchise. Whereas most estate writers never truly recapture the magic of the hero who transcends the author they’re replacing, Kyle has done that and more. Not only had there been zero drop-off from Flynn to Mills, but the argument could be made that Mills has elevated the series to new heights. And with three more books locked in (and hopefully many more after that), the sky really is the limit for Mitch Rapp, America’s favorite hero, moving forward.
For more information and to stay up to speed on all his projects, make sure you’re following Kyle Mills on Facebook, Twitter, and his official website. In the meantime, Total Power, the 19th Mitch Rapp thriller—in stores September 15th—is now available for pre-order in all major formats wherever books are sold.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.