Lots of people want to know if I spend time in the countries where I set my books. Absolutely—as often as possible. Writing Order to Kill, my latest addition to the Mitch Rapp series, was no exception. I thought it might be fun to share a few details from my location scouting trip to Costa Rica and give you a feel for the sights and sounds that shaped a portion of this book.
Getting the Setting Right
Nailing the setting means giving characters a rich, textured universe to inhabit. But more important, travel has a way of sparking ideas that wouldn’t play out the same way sitting at my desk. In foreign territory, I find my mind wandering to “what if” scenarios. How would I escape if cornered in this tight, twisting medieval alley? How would I dodge a bullet in this chaotic market?
Lately, readers have been asking about Costa Rica. Grisha Azarov, Mitch Rapp’s nemesis in Order to Kill, sets up his base there. Here are a few shots that illustrate my surroundings while I was researching Rapp’s newest opponent. After spending a month writing, photographing, and absorbing the laid-back atmosphere, I decided that if you’re an operator on the down low, this country offers many advantages.
And Most of All, Costa Rica Allows for Creativity
This beautiful country was a perfect place to hide out and get lost in Azarov’s head. I even ran and hiked on the endless rolling dirt roads on most days, just to have a basic understanding of what it might be like for this Russian operative to maintain his peak physical fitness. What I discovered is that he’s much tougher than I realized when I created him. Even sitting by the pool becomes hard work in the relentless hot sun.