In Part 2 of Stepping Into Vince Flynn’s Shoes, I share my process for dissecting the Mitch Rapp series, how I prepared to write the first book after Vince’s death, and how Rapp is now evolving and responding to today’s threats. I first posted about this in September 2015. Here I’ve updated my thoughts on the process now that it has been more than three years since I tackled this monumental project.
Where Has Mitch Been?
Mitch is a rich, beautifully drawn character, with all the complexities that entails. Like all of us, he’s not one static personality. He’s evolved over his life, reacting to his changing environment and absorbing new experiences. Vince took Mitch from the angry college kid we saw in American Assassin to the seasoned operator of The Last Man—with a lot of stops along the way.
When I wrote my first Rapp book, The Survivor, a number of fans thought I’d turned Mitch into a thug. In truth, though, I was just continuing Vince’s depiction of where the character was at that point in his life
Starting with Pursuit of Honor, Mitch begins to feel more angry and frustrated than in the past. He assaults Mike Nash for disagreeing with him, cripples bar bouncers, and entertains the idea of working for a Russian mobster. In The Last Man, the first 100 pages are filled with Rapp arm-twisting friend and foe alike.
I think the reason for this is twofold. First, the death of his wife and unborn child was a blow he never fully recovered from. And second is the fact that as 9-11 fades in the minds of many Americans, he sees our vigilance waning.
Where Is Mitch Going?
With my second book, Order to Kill, I made a conscious effort to pull Mitch back from the brink. He starts thinking about getting his life together and even entertains the idea of having another relationship. Enemy of the State and the upcoming Red War continue that gradual realignment with the goal of taking him back to what he was in earlier books.
Of course, at his core, Mitch will remain the same: A patriot. A man with laser-like focus who doesn’t suffer fools. A loyal comrade in arms. But most of all, a soldier with the skill and courage to protect the country he loves.