Featured Review: ‘Code Red’ by Kyle Mills


After stepping into Mitch Rapp’s world following series creator Vince Flynn’s death in 2013, Kyle Mills now prepares to exit the series after an incredibly dominant nine-book run, but not before treating readers to one more breathtaking adventure as the Mills Era comes to a close.

Set after the events of Oath of Loyalty (2022), CIA counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp’s honor is tested when a man he gave an IOU to in exchange for a favor in a previous book comes calling in hopes of cashing in.

The man in question is Mexican billionaire Damian Losa, who happens to be one of the biggest and most powerful criminals in the world. Knowing that Rapp is a man of his word, he’s confident that he can get the honor-bound American assassin to look into a new drug the Syrian government has been distributing. Forget that the mysterious drug is said to be causing irreversible brain damage and killing at an alarming rate, its very existence is a real threat to Losa’s own drug-running empire, and he wants to know exactly who is behind it and why.

Initially, it’s believed that the drug is simply a way to generate cash for the Syrians’ dwindling finances. However, Rapp and his team quickly realize that’s all a cover, and that the drug was actually developed by Russia’s asymmetrical warfare unit as a weapon to be used against the West. That gets Mitch Rapp’s attention, and pretty soon, the action starts rolling, leading to the kind of mayhem, bloody shootouts, and hard-hitting action that readers have come to expect as Rapp once again risks it all to prevent a new kind of attack that threatens to bring America to her knees.

While it was Vince Flynn who created and first introduced readers to Mitch Rapp back in 1999’s Transfer of Power, ultimately turning him into a household name and one of the greatest heroes to ever grace the page of a thriller, it’s impossible to overstate just how much Kyle Mills has meant to this series, and its protagionist, since taking over with The Survivor (2014). Plenty of other characters have transcended their creators to varying degrees of success, but in truth, there’s no comparison to the job Mills has done. With virtually no drop-off, both in terms of relevancy and quality, Mills took over for Flynn and ushered in a new era of Mitch Rapp—an era that has involved ISIS and now a post-ISIS plethora of threats too. To call it a job well down would be an air-craft-carrier-sized understatement. In reality, Mills helped set the tone for the post-Islamic era of threats and, in turn, played a major role in redefining the genre, much like Clancy, Ludlum, and, yes, even Flynn before him.

Without giving anything away, Mills lets it all hang out here, going big for his last epic Mitch Rapp novel before author Don Bentley picks up the shied and takes over in 2024. Expect to see fan-favorite characters, tons of action, and more than a few scenes where Mitch Rapp continues to be developed as the evergrowing hero simultaneously adjusts to new life moments and new threats on the horizon with ball-busting wit and skull-basing brutality. Simply put, Code Red has everything that made readers fall in love with Kyle Mills—which only underscores how hard it is to see him go.

The handing of the torch to New York Times bestseller Don Bentley brings plenty of excitement in its own right, but make no mistake about it, Mills—who stepped in for Flynn and carried the pressure of being the first author to continue Mitch Rapp’s iconic legacy with grace and professionalism—will be missed dearly. Whatever he does next (a rumored long-overdue sequel to his 2005 novel Fade seems to be in the works) will no doubt draw tons of interest.

Action, memorable moments between beloved characters, and a relevant plot that yet again feels ripped straight from next week’s headlines . . . Code Red is a mic-drop moment for Kyle Mills, who put his stamp on one of fiction’s most cherished franchises, and in the process, proved to be on of the genre’s most talented writers.

Book Details

Author: Kyle Mills
Series: Mitch Rapp #22
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1982164999
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: September 12, 2023
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.95/10



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 is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, comes out on August 8th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.


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